Thursday, April 7, 2016

Testing Pickle Toes Patterns

I’m a proud Pickle Toes Pattern Tester.  I taught myself to sew in the winter of 2014 after having my daughter and thinking I could sew her clothing to save money (HA).  Right before having my daughter my husband and I moved out of state for his postdoctoral fellowship.  We were both newly out of graduate school, new parents, and living in an unfamiliar place where we knew no one. It was a bit of a lonely time and we both struggled with all the changes.  It wasn’t too long before I discovered the world of PDF sewing patterns and the wonderful online community that goes along with them.  Stuck in my small Midwest apartment with my daughter in the moby watching the snow piling up outside the windows, I spent hours on facebook looking at the beautiful creations and reading tips and reviews and anything else I could get my eyes on that had to do with sewing.  I started applying for some of the testing calls I saw on various facebook pages and was really excited when I started getting chosen.  I’ve tested about 16 patterns for 11 designers now and it has been an incredible learning experience.

 At first I thought it would be neat to get a free pattern, but once I did a few tests I realized that the patterns are far from free.  Each test takes much more resources (paper, ink, tape, time, fabric) than it would to just buy and make a finished pattern.   Now that I know this I am a lot choosier about the pattern tests I apply for.  Kellie at Pickle Toes Patterns is a super fun designer to test for.  She sets up a facebook group like most designers do, but it’s really in the group chat where things get fun.  There’s a good mix of inappropriate jokes, tips and techniques, and constructive criticism shared between all testers.  Since I’ve realized that a tested pattern is not “free” I have come to value testing for other, more substantial reasons.   Mostly I love to learn new techniques and make friends with other seamstresses around the world, and getting to have a hand in the production of the PDF pattern.  This makes Kellie’s testing style really appealing to me.  I have so much fun talking with all the ladies in the group chat.  Even when Kellie isn’t online we all help each other out and have fun in there.

I also appreciate that my efforts as a tester are valued.  When I make corrections or critiques they are actually taken.  Nothing is worse than spending your valuable time trying to help someone only to have them disregard any corrections you’ve given them.  It really is such a fun process to see a Pickle Toes Pattern evolving into its final PDF version.  There are so many other subtopics and footnotes that I could go on tangents about, but I’m testing one of Kellie’s sleeves for the 900th time (just a rough approximation, ok, maybe slight overestimation) so I’ll have to leave it at this. Like pickles, pattern testing can be sweet or sour, and sometimes both at once.  It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely a community I am grateful to have been welcomed into.  Thanks!

Deirdre Moenk

1 comment:

  1. Deirdre is one of my favorite testers. She typically goes above and beyond, and will always tell me the truth about my patterns. I love that she isn't afraid to hurt my feelings (not that she is ever unkind), but she knows that for me to get it right, I need to know everything that may potentially be wrong. Thank you, Deirdre, for being an awesome tester!


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