Pattern Testing

Redwood Coast Quilt made by Amanda Lee Smith, @thequiltsmith

Above: A Redwood Coast Quilt made by my friend & pattern tester, Amanda Lee Smith

 

Click here to apply to test. 

 

What is pattern testing? 

Pattern testing is an important part of the quilt pattern development process. Testers receive an advance copy of a quilt pattern, and are asked to make a quilt top and provide feedback. 
 

What’s your pattern testing process? 

When you apply to test, you’ll be added to my general tester pool. 

When I have a pattern ready for testing, I will contact 6-8 people from the tester pool and invite them to test.  I’ll provide general details — including a quilt mock-up, dates, and deadlines— so they can decide if they want to join the test. 

Testers will receive the pattern and additional details via email. Pattern tests typically run 4-6 weeks, and testers will send in their feedback and photos of their quilt top at the end of the test. 

 

What’s expected from a tester? 

  • Complete the pattern test by deadline. Testers are expected to provide their feedback and share quilt top photos by the test due date. This is the #1 thing that I ask of my pattern testers. If life comes up and you’re not able to complete the test in time for any reason, I ask that you let me know via email or IG message as soon as possible. Testers who don’t complete the test and don’t reach out will not be considered for future tests. 
  • Make the quilt top. Testers are asked to make a quilt top— it’s not necessary to baste, quilt or bind your quilt for a pattern test. You may also use any fabric you’d like, including scrappy fabrics or upcycled clothing or sheets. It’s up to you! 
  • Pattern feedback. I ask testers to email me their feedback when they’re done with a test. I always appreciate feedback in these areas: cutting instructions, construction, pattern text, diagrams, pattern layout. 
  • Quilt Top Photos. Testers are asked to provide one or more photos of their finished quilt top.  Photos should be clear and well-lit, though they don’t need to be professional. These images may be used (with credit!) on Instagram, my blog, and on the pattern listing page in my shop. 
  • (Optional) Pattern Promotion.  Testers are never expected to promote a pattern. However, if you do want to help spread the word about the pattern you’re testing, a social media shoutout, or telling your quilty besties about the pattern, is always appreciated!

Note: You must have a public Instagram page to apply for pattern testing. 

 

What can I expect from you as a designer? 

 
A well-edited quilt pattern. I always triple-check my math, make a test block, and carefully edit my patterns, before handing them over to testers. 
 

Clear and timely communication. I do my best to be up front with my pattern testers, and give them all the info they need to start testing.  I’ll be sure to send out prompt updates and notifications (via both email and IG chat) if there are major corrections to the pattern. 

 

I also provide a free finalized copy of the pattern, and discounts from partners. Check out “What do I get as a pattern tester?” below. 

 

What do I get as a pattern tester?

  • The pattern. A free copy of the pattern you’re testing, once it’s finalized and edited. 
  • Discounts. Coupon codes from partner shops and longarmers to use on your test quilt, available during the testing period. 
  • Instagram feature. I’ll share your quilt top on my Instagram feed, and recognize you by name and IG handle. I always share 3 or fewer tester quilts per post, to make sure that your work is seen and appreciated. I’ll also share at least one of your images to my IG stories. 
  • Blog feature. After a pattern launch, I write a round-up post showing off tester quilts, with links back to your website and social media. 
  • IG group chat. This is a fun way to build community with your fellow testers. You can share fabric pulls, get quilting tips, or even share feedback as you go. I’ve met a lot of my own quilty friends through pattern test group chats— so this one of my favorite parts of testing! 
 

Do you pay pattern testers? 

No, pattern testing for Strawberry Creek Quilts is a volunteer position at this time. 
 

What if I can’t afford materials? 

Keep in mind that you can use any materials or fabrics to create your quilt top. The most important thing to me is that *you* love your quilt top, and there’s never any obligation to pick up new materials specifically for a test. You are always welcome to use what you have, and upcycle/ reuse materials. 

That said, I know that quilting is an expensive hobby, and not everyone can afford it! 

I never want you to be excluded from testing due to your financial situation, so I’m setting up a new program that I’m calling my “pattern tester scholarship program.” 

When applying to test, you’ll be able to indicate whether or not you need assistance acquiring materials for testing. If you’re selected, I’ll work with you privately to make sure you get what you need. I may help you get supplies by providing a gift card, having a corporate sponsor send you fabrics, or even sharing supplies from my own stash. 

Hopefully it’s a fun, collaborative process that will help you create a quilt you love! 

Do you trade tests with other designers? 

No, due to time constraints, I do not trade tests with other designers.

However, there are a few other types of work I’m able to trade in exchange for pattern testing. 

  • Proofreading & editing - I will read and edit patterns for other designers. This includes a review of spelling and grammar, construction, and diagrams. I do not check pattern math. 
  • Instagram review - I’ll review your Instagram account with your goals and unique strengths in mind. I’ll provide you with my overall impression and takeaways to improve your Instagram presence, including a short list of action items that you can implement immediately. This will probably be most helpful to new quilters trying to build their brand, but I’m happy to work with all sorts of creative & small business accounts! 
  • Website review - I’ll review your website with your goals and unique strengths in mind. We’ll talk about your goals— like driving traffic, increasing email sign-ups, or converting sales. I’ll take a look at your site, and identify a few areas for improvement. I’ll provide general tips, as well as specific action items and strategies you can implement right away. (In my last day job, I was a Software Solutions Engineer with a focus on website usability— so of course, I’ll try to bring that experience and knowledge to your review!) 

I usually have a 2-week turnaround on any of these services, depending on my current bandwidth. If you’re interested in trading for a pattern test, send me an IG message or contact me here, and we can chat details! 

 

How do I become a tester for Strawberry Creek Quilts? 

 

I keep an ongoing list of folks who are interested in pattern testing. If I think you’d be a good fit for an upcoming pattern test, I’ll reach out to you individually to invite you to test.