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What I Have Learned About the Pattern Making Process - The Finding & Keeping of Pattern Testers

Michelle Burke

As someone who is new to the pattern making process, I decided to write a blog series about what I have learned as I have gone through this process.  In today's post, I will focus on finding pattern testers and how to work with them to make your job and their job easier.

I knew wanted to have a group of pattern testers test my pattern; I knew other designers had their own group of testers, but how would I find several people who would be willing to test my patterns for me? This was actually quite simple! There is a Facebook group, Sewing Pattern Testers, that is dedicated to pattern designers who want their patterns tested and people who are willing to test patterns. This is a closed group that you can ask to become a member of if you are either a pattern designer or a pattern tester. Once I was included in the group, I used Google Forms to create an application that I could publish on the Sewing Pattern Testers Facebook page. The application asked for several basic pieces of information including name, email address, sewing skill level. I also asked questions of the applicants, such as, could they finish sewing the project by a given due date, would they be willing to share pictures of their finished product, and how would they rate the quality of their pictures. I gave them the opportunity to share their website, Facebook page, Etsy shop, etc., and I asked them to tell me a little about themselves. At the top of the application, I included a picture of the final product so that the applicants would know what they would be testing. Google forms makes it easy to upload the application to a Facebook group and then as responses come in, it compiles the answers on a spreadsheet for you! After only a day or two, I had more people willing to test for me than I really needed! 

My group of pattern testers were very helpful in giving me ideas on how to best go about communicating with them; one suggested that I set up a Facebook group for my pattern testers to join. A Facebook group is a fun way to get to know your group of testers, and for the pattern testers to share pictures, ideas, and questions about the pattern. The pattern testers can also share their edits and feedback in the Facebook group. Creating a form in Google Forms and posting it to your Facebook pattern testers group is the easiest way to for testers to record their edits and feedback. This form includes questions that the designer wants answered as well as a place for comments. I will admit that I didn't create the feedback form for my pattern testers for my most recent pattern. My pattern testers emailed me their edits and feedback this time, but I will definitely create this form next time to make it easier for both my pattern testers and myself. Once again, I have to say that I feel fortunate to have a group of pattern testers who is willing to help this newbie learn what works well for everyone! :)

There is one more step to the pattern making process and that is getting your pattern "out there" for sale. I will discuss this in my next post!

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