Sure, I would LOVE to test your pattern.

Recently, I had the fun experience of being a pattern tester for three independent pattern designers.   Let me introduce them to you:

Itch to Stitch   Kennis Wong is the owner and designer of this pattern line.   While she received her masters of business from the University of Southern California, had careers in software and marketing – she now lives in Costa Rica with her husband.  Her designs reflect her personal style and are both modern and elegant.  Itch to Stitch currently has a free petal skirt pattern and there is a discount running on the pattern I tested.

Clover and Violet  is a mother (Clara) and daughter (Jennie) team who originally started a company to make handmade baby items.  Although they don’t live near one another, they collaborate on projects.  They currently sell a line of PDF patterns for quilted handbags and accessories.  They have a large selection of free pdf patterns and tutorials as well as the quilted bag patterns for sale, including Penelope and Julia that I sewed.

KZJO Studio –  Kaysie Provence is the owner/designer of this PDF pattern company.  She received her training in fashion design from the Art Institute of California – San Francisco.  Her logo is “clothes you will love to make and love to wear”  Her line includes tops, dresses, outerwear, and handbags.  She sells her patterns individually and in bundles.  Currently there is a sew a long starting for “Charlotte” with a discount on purchase.  This is the cute top I made.  I LOVE the back detail!

What is a pattern tester?  – someone who generally receives a pattern for free – it may or may not be the final released version of the pattern.  As a tester, you are expected to sew the pattern following the instructions, verifying the accuracy of the pattern instructions, graphics, and fit.  You are also expected to submit feedback, and quality photos as part of the testing process.   Some ask you to use Instagram to share the photos, some use a private facebook group for tester interaction and photos, some use other photo sharing sites or just email.

Why use a pattern tester? – Kennis (Itch to Stitch)

1) To check the fit – while fitting issue varies for individuals, I look at how the pattern fits majority of the ladies of different sizes. If the fit is off and the issue doesn’t seem to be an individual fit issue, then I make changes to the pattern.
2) To catch inaccuracies in the pattern/instructions – that includes typos, missing steps, steps that don’t make sense, etc.
3) Fine tune sewing methods – some testers have extensive sewing experience and can point out easier ways to achieve the same results. Even for less experienced sewists, I fine tune the steps based on their questions, i.e., if many of them are confused about certain steps, then I make changes to make them clearer.
4) Get great photos – it’s nice to be able to show how the pattern fits different figures.

I wanted to know when a designer used the pattern testing process.  Kennis (Itch to Stitch) answered “I publish a call to solicit testers when my pattern is completely done as best as my ability. It means that the drafting, grading, illustrations, instructions, size charts, material requirements and more are complete. Under normal circumstances, I also have my photo shoot completed by the time I announce a tester call.”

What characteristics does a designer use to select testers? – Kaysie (KZJO Studio) had this to say ” When choosing pattern testers, one of the first things I tend to look for is a wide range of sewing skills. I want to make sure the instructions will fit many levels of sewing skills. I strive to have my patterns be something a beginner would like try as well as something that would still appeal to an advanced sewist. (I am working on a few more advanced patterns at the moment.) Another thing I like to take into consideration is a range of personal style as well as a variety of sizes in my pattern testers. It is important to me to see how everyone puts their own unique spin on the patterns and making something that truly fits into their handmade wardrobe. Probably my favorite part of the pattern testing process, is seeing the finished garments, I simply adore it!”

Kennis (Itch to Stitch) –

To evaluate an applicant (someone who has not tested for me before), I look for:
1) sewing skill – my patterns usually are not for absolute beginners, so a tester need to be at a level similar to my target customers. Sometimes that level is beginner+ and sometimes it’s intermediate or advanced, depending on the pattern. Instead of asking applicants to evaluate their own levels, I give them a list of techniques to check off, which I think it’s more objective.
2) quality of garments – I ask for photos from applicants so that I can see their quality of work, regardless of their sewing level. Taking the time to press their garments, trim the thread ends, match fabric patterns and align seams show that she produces high quality garments. I also look at the fit of their garments, which shows whether they have a basic understanding of fit (not everyone understands whether their clothing fits well).
3) quality of photos – it’s nice if I (or they) can use the photos to promote the pattern. Great photos help to showcase the pattern better.
4) online/social presence – icing on the cake is if the tester has a blog or has social media presence.
To determine whether I use the tester again:
1) Did the tester complete her last test on time? I especially appreciate if someone always finished her test early and helped me work out the initial kinks. The sooner I know about any issues, the sooner I can fix them.
2) Did she contribute to a positive testing environment? I use Facebook Group to do my testing; it’s important to me that the testers feel encouraged, feel respected, learn something new and have fun in the testing process. I also like when testers post photos and comment on others’ photos.
3) Did she give me constructive feedback? Asking questions and taking photos of in-progress garments (muslins) are helpful. I appreciate suggestions on sewing methods too. I also love when the tester can help me proof read the instructions.
4) Did she follow the instructions and the pattern? It only helps me improve when the testers use my instructions to sew (and identify deficiencies and errors). If the pattern needs to be adjusted, I appreciate she discusses with me first so that I get to understand/determine whether an adjustment needs to be done on the pattern or whether something is an individual fit issue. There shouldn’t be any design change.
5) Did she take great photos?
Here are my fashion pattern testing photos!  Read the full reviews on
I enjoyed my adventures in being a pattern tester  – and love all my new creations!  Be sure to check out these designers to make one for your self !
simplicity 1105 frontpenelope and Julia walletView C front 2 smallView B blue top front smallKZ jo top back


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5 thoughts on “Sure, I would LOVE to test your pattern.”

  1. Aimee – please come visit us at any neighborhood group meeting – they are listed in the google calendar. Hope to meet you in person soon! We can wear our matching Charlottes!

  2. I have often wondered if pattern testers existed (please don’t take that wrong) but I’ve sewn for years and am flabbergasted at bad written instructions as well as photos. Many beginners would never come away with a garment and when I was a beginner, that is what happened to me more often than not, I did not have the skill to figure it out on my own. I am beyond that now but even still I sometimes have to get input from my circle of friends who are experienced as well. We baffle at how bad instructions are. I’m talking commercial patterns here, Vogue, Butterick, McCalls just to name a few. I’ve also written to the designer at times and do not get a response. Wouldn’t you think they would want their patterns perfect all the time?? I’ve provided feedback to pattern companies when the opp arises, such as at sewing expos, etc. So, keep up the work pattern testers – this is important work!I

  3. Karen – I just returned from the American Sewing Guild national conference and learned the instruction process for Simplicity patterns. Simplicity has a team of instruction writers, so while they may contract with independent designers the instructions come from the Simplicity team. They have a process for taking feedback and questions. And we all should contact them with issues of unclear or missing instructions.
    Claire Schaeffer writes her own instructions for the patterns she does for Vogue. She has that as part of her contract to have the couture methods included in her patterns.
    Feedback is important! The more specific the better! Thanks for your comment. Markita

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