Well, have you heard? Are you excited? Because I know I am. And while I’m sure an ample amount of that excitement comes from being included as one of the Official Examiners, what I’m really excited for is how this whole thing could potentially impact the PDF pattern world.
I’m a self-taught sewist. My mother tells me she once used to sew, and apparently made a whole bunch of her maternity clothing, but apparently when I showed up some time in the 80s it was the beginning of disposable clothing. Big box stores started churning it out, and with the cost of fabric as it is, it was no longer cost-effective to make your own. So, the art was lost. I do remember my mom having an old accordion sewing box when I was younger (and I could kill her now for getting rid of it – thank goodness for my own thrifted version) but she moved on.
So, when I bought my machine just over 3 years ago I really had no idea what I was doing. I’m lucky that ‘nowadays’ we have the internet. Because without online tutorials, YouTube, and an amazing online sewing community I never would have taught myself.
I am a little sad that the art of sewing never made it through the generations of my family. I don’t have those memories of sewing next to my mother. But in all honesty, I do have memories of us egging houses together (shhh!) and we probably would have had too many ‘creative differences’ to make it work. Instead, I found numerous online sewing communities that are passionate and support each other. And through them, I even met some amazing new friends that enjoy the craft as much as I do, and have talent pouring out of their souls like you wouldn’t believe.
It was through these communities that the idea of The Pattern Exam was born. A need was seen, and an idea born. From there, a group of bloggers came together under the talented Amy from How I Make Stuff and created The Pattern Exam.
The need? Way too often have I purchased a pattern, only to print it off and cringe that I actually paid money for the document sitting in front of me. And even when I’ve asked other sewists out there for their opinions, they are just that – opinions. It was hard to find a constructive and objective review of patterns. Heck, I’ve even participated in my fair share of pattern testing and blog tours, and it is hard not to just sounds like an infomercial. So, the need was a way for sewists to really find out how a pattern stands up against some set criteria.
The idea? A group of bloggers each month will take a theme and invite designers to participate by having their patterns critiqued. Each pattern will be assigned a letter grade based on a standard set of criteria. The patterns aren’t compared against each other, but instead are graded against those things that the customer may find important in their purchasing decisions. Once the blogger sews up each pattern, they blog about their experience, and send their grades along to Amy. At the end of the month, a report card is issued for each pattern.
The outcome? Well, hopefully our purchasing decisions in the PDF world are a little more educated. We can pick patterns with the features we each individually appreciate to have the best sewing experience possible. And maybe we can help designers discover what the public is looking for. What features do sewists really love having? What do they value most when purchasing a PDF pattern?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I am so very excited!