In this post I want to shed some light on what you can expect if you’re a tester or reviewer for us. Before you go TLDR on me, here’s the short version: we’re looking for testers and reviewers and HERE is where you can sign up! If you want some sneak peeks of upcoming patterns, Instagram is the place to look.
Every pattern gets tested by myself multiple times of course, but my body type is different from the standards I use for my patterns. It seems it’s a common belief that designers model their patterns after their own body, but I know at least a couple of others who don’t do that either. To be sure that the pattern works in every size, its needs to get tested by someone who is that size. And to check if my instructions are clear, if anything is missing. There is no way I would be comfortable releasing a pattern without this stage.
A pattern tester helps us to discover problems in the design or instructions in the second to last version. At this point I have digitised and graded the pattern, written the instructions and drawn the illustrations, but nobody else has seen it yet. I send it to the testers to get feedback on the fit and design of the pattern, the sewing constructions and even spelling errors. They get the pattern for free and have two weeks (or more, depending on the pattern) to sew it up and send me their feedback. Testing is done voluntary and without compensation other than the pattern. I do send the pattern again when it’s finished. To be a tester you don’t have to have a blog; all I ask is a critical eye and some sewing experience. If you do have a blog you can blog about it if you want, after the official release. But this can not be presented as a review: after all, you have tested a product that was not finished.
‘Testing’ the finished product is what the reviewer does. When we’re looking for pattern reviewers, you’ll also get the pattern for free but at a later stage. This will be when the pattern and instructions are definite, but still before the official release. To be a reviewer you need to have a blog, or some other online presence such as an account at patternreview.com. I won’t ask for your feedback like I do with testers (though I’ll read the review with a notebook in my hand :)). But as a reviewer you can be as honest as a tester: I will never ask you to be more positive about the pattern than you are. Your readers need to know what to expect and if your review is negative, then so be it. It might be tough for me to read but it’s a business and criticism is how you get better!
I certainly hope that we will be able to compensate our testers in the future, but for now I hope a free pattern and my heartfelt gratitude will be enough. If you’d like to be a part of our proces you can fill out this form. Leave a comment if you have any more questions!