Friday, July 11, 2014

Animals on Parade Shorts and Thoughts on Pattern Testing

I've been sitting on these shorts for a few weeks now trying to figure out how I wanted to present them. They were part of the last pattern testing I did in June. I was actually preparing to present them as a part of a blog tour when the tour was abruptly cancelled. I won't go into details, it's not my story to tell, but unfortunately the pattern is not currently for sale. It wasn't the best testing experience I've had, but I did learn some valuable lessons about myself as a tester. I figured I'd share some of these thought with you today and show off the ever cute Little Miss. 

1. Not ever pattern will work for every person

     This was one of the biggest issues I had when doing this pattern. TLM fell into different sizes for height, waist, and hips. I made adjustments but even after making 2 separate pairs, the just don't quite fit right. I blame this entirely on her personal shape. There wasn't much I could ever do, without totally redrafting the pattern, that was going to make them work. But that's okay! We've all had patterns like that and part of testing is finding what works and what doesn't. I need to let the less-than-successes roll off my back a bit more. 

2.  If you have doubts from the start, opt out of testing. 

     This was presented as a unisex pattern. I was always a little skeptical about this. Turns out it was an incredibly solid boys' pattern. Every boys' pair I saw really rivaled RTW with the bonus of being customizable. If I was sewing for a boy this would have become a go-to pattern for years. That being said, I don't really like it much on girls. There's something about the super straight cut that just didn't work for me. All the doubts I had from the start ended up playing out. I need to trust my gut. Pattern testing is me working for free so if I can't go into it feeling confident in success, I shouldn't do it. 

3.  Related, if you don't love the pattern, don't apply. 

     Much the same, if I'm not loving something or if it's just wrong for me (ex. a shirred bodice for me) I should just wait. Something that is a better fit will come along. Testing just to test is a recipe for stress and ripped seams. 

4.  Know when to say no. 

     I believe in being responsible, in sticking with commitments, but you need to know when you need to distance yourself from something. When I was still planning on participating in a blog tour I was struggling because while I had positive things to say, I also had criticisms. I found myself in the awkward place between honesty to myself and respecting the work and business of the designer. At this point I should have opted out of the blog tour. 

What it all boils down to is trusting my gut instead of just gleefully excepting every opportunity. 

I'll leave you with one last picture. Next time I'll have something I can actually talk about. 


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. My own opinion is that pattern testing, pattern reviewing, and blog tours (essentially, free promotion) are separate entities and should be handled separately. In theory, it should be fine to post criticisms of a "test" pattern because that's not supposed to be the final pattern. I know that as a consumer, I like reading about both the good and not so good parts of a pattern!

    1. I appreciate that too. I like to see a realistic review so I know if it will actually work. I think there should be room for the positive and the negative. We are all unique...nothing will be perfect your everyone.

  2. I actually really like the look of these shorts, and often feel that "girl" shorts are too skimpy to be practical. That said, I agree with everything you've said here 500%. The first few times I was asked to test a pattern or do a blog tour, I said yes because I was just so flattered and happy that anyone was reading my blog!! Haha! But over time I've learned to say no. Sewing is my hobby, not a job, I will test patterns only if I am pretty excited about them.

    And I'm always willing to give constructive feedback (aka criticism) in a test or a blog tour. Honestly, don't ask me to review your pattern if you can't take constructive feedback. I don't like blog tours that seem like giant advertisements.

    1. I find many girls' patterns to be impractical! So many ruffles. I also don't feel I shoukd need 4 yards of fabric for a child's dress.

      As far as testing goes, it's a hard lesson to learn/pattern to break. It just feels so great to be involved. I do hope to never get to the point where I sound like an advertisement. If I love something I will tell you, if not, I'll tactfully do the same.