Welcome to Day 3 of Pattern Testing 101, I’m happy to see you’ve made it this far and are still coming back! If you’re just joining us, please start with Pattern Testing 101: What is Pattern Testing? to catch up on everything we’ve discussed so far.
So, are you ready!? You finished testing and now it’s all over, on to the next test – right? WRONG! You couldn’t be more wrong! There’s so much more to do. Once the designer has decided the pattern is complete and accurate, they’ll work on final versions of the pattern pieces and instructions. These will be loaded for testers to look through for proofreading . Check through the pattern (especially those with layers) to make sure everything is clear, labeled and on the correct layer. Read through the instructions and make sure there are no spelling errors, missing chart measurements or directions. Sometimes, these “final” pieces can go through a few rounds of changes! You may also be taking this time to sew another “final” version of your garment, depending on when you made the first, what version it was and what changes were made.
Remember those pretty pictures you saw posted all over Facebook and Instagram? Now it’s finally time for those. This is the most visible part of your pattern testing, this is what the general public will actually see. This is what you used to see before you knew about ALL. THE. WORK. THAT. CAME. BEFORE. There’s more work, though. These pictures should be clear, well lit and show the pattern lines off. Try, again, for a couple generic shots: front, back, side, full body, close up, detail. You can have fun with these and style them based on the “feeling” of the pattern, or you can develop your own unique style. Take a look at the designers’ pictures on previous patterns to see what they like to use and try to mimic that. Make sure the garment is wrinkle free and loose threads are clipped. You don’t *need* to wear makeup or accessories, but make sure you are “clean” yourself. The designer will be using these to show of their pattern, but you’re showing off yourself and your work, too. You may use these to apply to other tests in the future. Ask for tips in the test group, if you want to. A lot of them have been doing this for a while and can give some great photo tips. This is a great resource from Sewing with Sarah on the Greenstyle Blog – Top 3 Photography Tips for Pattern Testers, and another from Katie and Mac from Sew Altered Style just released this great resource.
The next, and final, step is the pattern release. Wait until you’ve gotten the all clear from the designer/admin and post wherever you want! If you have a blog or an Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr, use them! Post in the designers’ generic Facebook Group, find other sewing Facebook groups to post in that work for you. Pay attention to the rules of each group, some allow promotion and others don’t, some ask for reviews or posts without links. Keep up on the latest with Facebook algorithms: as of typing this posts with links are being seen less by group members, but posting the link in comments will let your post be seen and get more engagement. Be truthful when you post, tell people what you liked about the pattern and if you thought it was easy or challenging, if you’ve worn it every day or are planning an occasion for it.
Affiliate Marketing and Do You Get Paid?
There’s one final thing to talk about, and it could almost use it’s own post, but we’ll keep it here for now. Again, so much of this depends on each specific designer and how they run their company. As a general rule, if you have completed your requirements on time, you will be given a copy of the final pattern. This could be in the same way you received the test version or through the use of a coupon code on their website. Most designers do not pay you outside of that, though there are some that will pay you with another pattern from their library or something similar.
Then, there’s affiliate marketing. There’s a lot of confusion out there about what this is, how to use it, what the rules are, etc. Affiliate Marketing is a way that designers’ use to “pay” testers, because usually this is an unpaid gig. When you are an affiliate, you will get a specific link to use in your posting which allows the website to track that someone has used your link to purchase and assigns that sale to you. When someone makes a purchase like this, the designer has committed to passing on small percentage. (Typically between 8-15%, so lets say your $10 pattern purchase gives us $1) The tester can’t see who, what was bought, or a total price, etc – they’ll get a notification of an affiliate purchase and an amount earned, or a weekly/monthly statement of the totals.
There are laws about Affiliate Marketing, as well. I’ll link some resources below, but the basics are this: You have to disclose that you’re using a link that will earn you commission, it needs to be obvious and clearly visible where the majority of people seeing will notice it.