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How to Become a Pattern Tester at J Stern Designs

Hey Everyone,  When I first starting making patterns… I tested them myself.  I thought that was working great because it gave me a chance to double check everything and work with all the sizes.  Then one of my good friends suggested that I use pattern testers to test my new patterns.   So, when I was working on the Ponte Knit Jeans, I tested the theory of pattern testers….  I quickly realized how valuable pattern testing is and how much better my patterns would be if I worked with pattern testers instead of doing it myself (on myself).   I want to send out a big thank you to the ladies who helped me with the Ponte Knit Jeans, Raglan and Yoga Pants Patterns.   πŸ™‚

Here’s what I learned from my pattern testers.  Everyone is not shaped like me πŸ™‚   Only kidding… but I did learn how my pattern would fit on a variety of different shapes and sizes.  I can use that information to fix anything I think needs tweaking before I release the pattern, plus it helps me when I’m drafting the next pattern.  I really want to make patterns that are easy to work with and need minimal fit adjustments.  Plus, I think it’s really nice for you guys to see how a particular pattern will fit you… If I test them myself, you get to see  very nice and somewhat boring photos of the finished garment on dressform or one of my relatives.  With pattern testers, I can share their photos with everyone.  That gives you the opportunity to see how a garment will fit you because chances are, one of my pattern testers is practically your twin!  

Let’s face it, I’m a plain Jane when it come to picking out colors, if it isn’t black, gray or navy… I don’t have it in my stash.  I am always amazed at the beautiful fabrics that my pattern testers use.  Look at this cool fabric that one of my pattern testers used to make yoga pants πŸ™‚

It’s also important to me that my instructions are really easy to follow along with.   While I try to write steps in the clearest way possible, I discovered that sometimes, there are better ways to put it in words.   Getting questions and comments from sewers of all skill levels has really helped me make my instructions even better πŸ™‚

Do you think you would like to be a pattern tester for J Stern Designs?  Let me tell you what goes on before releasing a new pattern.

Before I send patterns to testers, I’ve already tested it with a few ladies who help me work out anything that’s not right with the pattern pieces.  At this point, I want to make sure all the seams sew together properly and that there isn’t any major fitting issue that will affect the majority of sewers.  While it’s impossible to make a pattern that will fit everyone right out of the envelop, I want it to be as close as possible.    So, in addition to checking the pieces, I work with a variety of fabrics to make sure the results are good.  In the case of a knit pattern, I’ll try a few different knits that hover around the recommend percentage of stretch.   After  we’re happy with the pattern, I get it ready to send to pattern testers…

This is where you come in.

I am forming a group of j stern designs pattern testers.  When I develop a new pattern, I will offer the opportunity to test the pattern to members of the group. If I need more testers, I will advertise outside the group for more pattern testers.  The total number of testers needed for a pattern depends on the variety of style options in the pattern. 

I am now creating color, multi-layered pdfs that allow you to just print your size.  This saves a ton of ink and makes it easy to work with.  If you are selected as a pattern tester, I’ll email you the instructions and a pdf of of the pattern pieces.  There is a 1/2″ margin around all the pieces that is marked with a dashed line.   You can accurately print this pdf on US or A4 paper sizes.  Here’s an example of what one of the pages of my new Tee Twin Set looks like.

The instructions include photos of the garments so you can see what you are making and a “scale check” that you can measure to be sure that the pieces will be the right size before you start printing out the pattern pieces. 

Once you receive your pattern, you’ll have week to complete the garment and submit photos of you sporting your new garment.  I’m going to start a Facebook Group that is just for ladies testing the pattern we’re working on.  That way you’ll have a place to ask questions, post photos and share your progress with other pattern testers.  I will be available in the group to answer questions and help you with your patterns.

Cutting out, sewing the garment and using the instructions is the first part of the pattern test.  The second part is taking photos of you sporting your completed garment.  This photos do not need to be professional, just clear so they show the fit and style of the garment.  Pattern tester photos are going to be used to promote the pattern and may even end up on the cover of the instructions. 

Here’s an example of good pattern tester photos:  I need at least 3 good quality photos of you wearing your garment.  These photos give the pattern testers the opportunity to show off their sewing skills. 

After testing is complete I’ll launch the pattern with a sale price for the first week.  I will be using the pattern tester photos to promoting the pattern on my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and my YouTube Channel.  If a pattern tester loved the pattern I would love it if they posted their photos or wrote their own review and posted it in their blog or Facebook page.  As I’m writing this post, I feel like I’m asking a lot from my pattern testers.  It’s a voluntary job and I wouldn’t be able to make great patterns without you… So, I want to thank you in advance  xoxo.  Pattern Testers will receive the final pattern (complete with any pattern or instruction changes). 

If you would like to participate, please fill out the  application  below the photo of the pattern I’m working on now.  I will send you an email to let you know that I’ve received your information.  When I have a pattern to test, I email you the dates of the test week and all the specifics for that pattern.  


Currently I need pattern testers for the The Gathered Neckline Tank Top/Traditional Tank Top.    This tank top pattern has two views.  Version A is has gathers at the neckline and a band at the hem.  Version B is a traditional tank (no gathers, no band).