One of the really rewarding things I have discovered in my first year as an online sewist is the benefit of testing. I’ve been lucky enough to get involved in a number of product tests and reviews which have allowed me to move ahead in my sewing.
Did I hear you say “Freebies!” The overarching proviso during my sewing revival is that currently, I’m on a very strict (i.e. almost non-existent) budget. There’s not much coming in so I cannot splurge on items like I have been used to in the past. The only thing I’m relatively rich in at the moment is time. Ironically that lack of time when I was working was what brought my sewing to a standstill for nearly twenty years. Now I have time but not so many funds. This means that freebies are the way to go. Doing tests usually means you get some resources for free, whether it be a pattern or some fabric or a product to try out.
It doesn’t mean that your crafting will be entirely free of course, for example, if doing a pattern test it is customary that you will be provided with a free pattern. Some companies like Gertie’s actually provide fabric, but typically you will be expected to use your own and to do a toile as well as a finished item, so it’s not exactly cheap, but as they say ‘every little helps’. Testing this year has gleaned free patterns, fabric, equipment and books which I have complimented with items mainly from my stash meaning cost has been manageable.
Things to bear in mind:
- make sure that you want to make whatever it is you sign up for.
- Make sure you can deliver what you have committed to – letting people down is a horrible feeling.
- Try not to take on too many things at once. If you’re not enjoying it – don’t do it.
Experience: making things for new designers has encouraged me to polish my skills and has exposed me to different techniques and using different silhouettes and different workflows. I think this is all fascinating as it leads to growth and I’m always keen to learn something new. It also encourages me that if they can do it so can I.
Networking: this IMHO is the real benefit of testing. as well as revitalising my sewing, I’m trying to make friends. In this last year, I’ve joined Instagram and launched this blog and well let’s be honest, I want followers. I’ve been drawn into this online community and this is a way of connecting with more people. Brazen self-promotion or not, why else are we here? I’d find it hard to believe anyone on IG or running a blog who says they don’t want more followers. So connecting with other makers is an excellent way of reaching new audiences. Here are some of the great collaborations I’ve done this far – hover over to see who I worked with.
Feeling part of it: I dream of one day designing my own patterns that other humans want to make and wear but I’m not yet at the level where I’m creating my own original work. I like the feeling when I see a pattern launched that I had a small part in.
Inspiration: every new pattern review that I participate in gives me hope and inspiration, could I do this too? Is there space for me? It’s all very encouraging.
How have you ever done testing, how did it go for you – any good experiences to share?
Thanks for stopping by,