FPP Pattern Integrity Checking

As a pattern designer I strive for 'Pattern Integrity' when I am releasing a pattern whether it be a free pattern or a pattern for purchase. Inevitably sometimes errors happen, but that is usually if I mistakenly skip a step in my pattern editing and proofing process. I made such an error recently when collating a block pattern for a BOM I am hosting. That mistake happened because I was sick with a cold/ flu virus when collating the pattern and I skipped a step!!!!! GRRR I should know better! Cold & flu brain really can impact your ability to function!
So I learned from that mistake and I move forward with even more confidence that my "Pattern Integrity Check" process really works I just need to stick to it! This is my 6th year hosting an annual BOM and every year I learn something vital that improves my skill set and product quality.
Want to learn a bit about the process?
Step 1
After the design is completed and the pattern piece images are imported into my MS Word document I check that they imported at the correct size:
Step 2
Once the pattern is printed; either in a book proof or just printing the digital pattern PDF. I physically measure the pattern pieces with a ruler! Yes OLD SCHOOL!

Step 3
I only started doing this in the last few years but it is an invaluable way to ensure I have complete confidence in a pattern before I hit the publish button! Cut all the pattern pieces out (cut off the seam allowance) And actually put them together like puzzle using tape to hold the sections together at every seam line.
 This gives you the final block to check things like:

  • Do line merge points meet up perfectly
  • Are all pieces the correct size
  • Do all sections fit together
  • Are all the pieces the correct orientation/mirrored

 And you can measure the block to ensure it printed the correct size!
And that way stage one of pattern testing doesn't waste any FABRIC!
Obviously I still go on to sew the block for a 'real pattern test' but this "Pattern Integrity Check" process I have developed actually leaves me confident the block can be successfully made!

I used to use external pattern testers but I stopped in 2019... I no longer outsource my pattern testing to hobbyist quilters who approach me. WHY?
  • In previous years, I had a pattern tester document that clearly outlined what pattern testers should be looking for and letting me know about. I have found that external pattern testers miss mistakes in the three key areas outlined because they haven't ever drafted a similar style of book/pattern so they don't understand at which point in the process mistakes are most likely to happen it makes this process pointless.
  • Many pattern testers miss deadlines which is basically pattern theft.
  • Pattern testers have a tendency to overstep their bounds and make recommendations about book/pattern PDF drafting and layout. Everybody thinks they are an a expert! Even though they've never drafted a book. Testers somehow develop a sense of ownership over the project/pattern just because they sewed it once! I have spent many, many hours drafting the patterns, collating the pattern document, editing/proofing, integrity checking, pattern testing, etc, etc, each pattern is a labor of love. The ownership is mine.
  • Many testers don't actually read the pattern document before asking questions that are answered in the document! And there's not much text in my FPP books/patterns, so that's just frustrating. They therefore waste a lot of my time as I have to show/explain where in the book the information they want is.
  • Often times pattern construction mistakes occur because the pattern was not printed "actual size" or other printer/computer problems occur and testers expect me to problem solve their IT issues by email or instant message which is often near to impossible.
  • I always pattern test every pattern myself and I have some close friends and trusted quilters who can do additional pattern tests when I deem it necessary. Which is rarely!
  • I have personally developed my "Pattern Integrity Check" process. So I trust my rigorous process more than I trust external pattern testers. I'm always striving to publish quality content and I'd rather invest my time in additional "Pattern Integrity Checks" than dealing with unknown pattern testers.

I thank all who have pattern tested for me in the past and acknowledge that I have had some fabulous help and support from my quilty community, I appreciate their efforts.
And to my current close friends and trusted quilters I am always grateful for your courteous, thoughtful feedback.