How to save money while pattern testing3:02 PM
Are you a pattern tester? I have done my fair share of testing, and let me tell you, pattern testing is hard work! AND in most cases, you...
Are you a pattern tester? I have done my fair share of testing, and let me tell you, pattern testing is hard work! AND in most cases, you don't get paid. <ouch>
As we all know, there are many reasons for pattern testing, but none of those reasons are because we'll get a free pattern. I can assure you, you would save a LOT more money by just buying the finished pattern.
But if you insist on testing (and I sure do), I can give you some tips to save fabric, time and money while pattern testing.
-Know your measurements. If you don't know your measurements, you may end up making the wrong size. If in doubt, ask the designer. You will waste time, money and fabric if you sew the wrong size. I always recheck my measurements against the size chart before I cut anything.
-Before you print, play with the layers function. Be sure to check each page to be sure your layer shows up. If there are notches on some layers, but not others, the designer needs to know. AND, if your layer doesn't show up on a page, you don't need to print that page!
-If the pattern has layers, use them. You'll save paper, ink and be able to check for any misprints for the designer.
-ALWAYS check the sizing square. If your square doesn't match up, then you need to figure out whether the problem is your printer/computer or a problem on the designer's end. Either way, a wrong sized square is a waste of paper, ink and time.
-Before you cut any fabric, walk the seams! Make sure your side seams, shoulder seams and armscyes all match up. If any of these don't match up to what is expected, STOP! Let the designer know and wait for an update on what they want you to do. Please keep in mind, that all seams must match up at the seam allowance, NOT the end of the pattern piece.
-Check the pattern pieces to a pattern that you know fits you, if you can. For example, if you have a long sleeve pattern that fits you and you are testing a long sleeve pattern, match the two sleeves up. Are the new sleeves too long? Too short? Similar? You want them to be close. If they're REALLY far off, let the designer know and ask whether they want you to proceed.
-If you don't have a similar pattern, know your body measurements. Check your arm lengths and leg lengths against the pattern pieces. If you have a 27" inseam, but the pattern has a 33" inseam, ask the designer where/how they want you to adjust the pattern pieces. You may have a method of making those adjustments that you like, but the goal is to do it the way THEY want you to. They may not care.
-You're now ready to cut your fabric. Always cut the simplest version with the fewest number of pattern pieces necessary. If it is a pants pattern, cut the shorts version first if you can. If it is a long sleeve shirt, use the short sleeves first to check the fit of the armscye.
-Also, keep in mind that this is a great time to go into your scrap bin. You may not have enough fabric for a full sew, but mismatched sleeves and fronts/backs (as long as the stretch and weights are the same) are NOT an issue with your muslin.
-Baste your seams. Yes, we all hope that the first time around, the item will be perfect. But I'd much rather be able to rip out seams and reuse a back, front or sleeve on my next version, than have to recut ALL of my pieces.
-ALWAYS know what the finished product is supposed to look like. If you're supposed to end up with a fitted shirt, but you get a loose fitting shirt instead, that'll be a HUGE sign to the designer. Never cut your good fabric until the designer confirms they are happy with the fit of your garment. Nothing is worse than cutting your final garment, only to end up with 3 or 4 updates to the pattern between when you start and when you're ready with photos. People want to see the finished pattern.
Does this help? I know following these rules helps me save time, money and fabric. And that means I can do MORE pattern tests!