New Directions: Pattern tester makes!

From my work as a scientist, I know that papers improve a lot when you receive feedback on the text and figures from colleagues or peer reviewers. After reading a text again and again and again you simply no longer spot missing words or typos. When you are completely submerged in the subject, concepts that are super clear to you may not be as clear to others that know less about the topic and may require additional clarification.

So, knowing how valuable feedback can be, I had the New Directions pincushion pattern tested before it was released to make sure that there are no errors in the FPP templates or instructions. Two of my quilting/blogging friends offered to test the pattern for me for which I am very grateful! They were able to provide me with useful comments and suggestions that I incorporated in the instructions.

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Sanne tested both the flat and boxy pincushion options and I think she used some fun fabric combinations. The top of each pincushion has a slightly different look because of how she positioned the fabrics. Also, look at those nice fussy cut flowers in the center squares!

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Tierney tested the flat pincushion option, I think she used shot cottons and they give her pincushion a luscious look. I must admit I was surprised at first that Tierney wanted to test the pattern at all because she has not kept her thoughts about FPP a secret in the past!

New directions pincushion made by Tierney from tierneycreates.

As I went through the process of writing a pattern and having Sanne and Tierney test it, I started to think whether it would be good to have a peer review system for sewing patterns to improve the quality of what’s available. I quickly realised that it would probably not work because in science the peer review process is part of getting your work published in good journals. While there are several quilting magazines to which you can submit pattern ideas, most patterns do not end up in journals but are self published. It got me wondering though, which sewing magazine would you consider to be the Nature and Science of quilting?

9 comments on “New Directions: Pattern tester makes!

  1. tialys says:

    I don’t read many (any!) craft magazines so I can’t help you there but both your testers did a lovely job with your pattern. I especially like those shot cottons which give the pincushion a luxurious look.

  2. I so admire your thorough approach to your work. Your pin cushion ‘peer reviewers’ have done you proud.
    I am curious to see if anyone comes up with the quilt magazine equivalent of Nature or Science! (I don’t subscribe to quilting magazines so am not able to give an opinion).

  3. katechiconi says:

    The difficulty here is that the intent and direction of both categories of magazine is different! I feel it would be hard to draw direct/relevant comparisons, because my own perception is that people buy quilting magazines to be inspired, rather than informed or educated. I no longer buy quilting magazines for a variety of reasons, none of them relating to the quality of the output, but more to a change in my own direction; i don’t feel any desire to make the quilt designs of other people any longer, and since so many quilting magazines are about patterns and designs, it’s wasted on me. However, making patterns is a very important and necessary part of the quilting community, as so many people eagerly await new designs and new inspiration. I’m so glad you have begun doing it, and applying some scientific rigour to the process!

    • Emmely says:

      For me the comparison is mostly that as a scientist you would be super happy to do a discovery that is considered important enough to be published in Nature or Science. So which magazine has as high standards for patterns to be allowed in that you’d be super excited if yours got accepted?
      I hardly ever make something from a pattern either (for quilts that is, for clothing I am still a very happy pattern customer!) but creating patterns for others is a lot of fun for me.

  4. […] pattern and I got to be a pattern-tester on it. You can check out her blog post about it – New Directions: Pattern tester makes!. I did not post about it because I was not over excited about the boring version I made of the […]

  5. nanacathy2 says:

    I am a novice quilter and I would turn to a book or a ready made pattern. Quilting magazines are too confusing.

    • Emmely says:

      Hmm, I suppose that magazines have less space to include detailed instructions than books or single patterns. For garment sewing I have used a lot of magazine patterns and instructions there are often cryptic, especially when you are just starting to sew. They made me scratch my head quite a few times. I can imagine that may be similar when you’re new to quilting.

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