Moderne Tester Roundup (and fit party, and test versions)

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Developing and releasing Moderne took a lot of time. Pattern making is a long process, especially when you're the only one doing all the labor and more so when you're also teaching nearly full time in the process. After releasing Moderne a few weeks ago, I needed a bit of a breather! I made some quick projects, spent time with family & friends, exercised more, tied up some loose ends, did some block printing, and other little things that fall by the wayside when I'm deep in the throws of pattern development.

Now that I've caught my breath, I'm looking forward to sharing lots of fun Moderne add-ons and background info with you!

While developing Moderne, I tried a few new approaches that I'm pretty excited about about sharing with you! I've never really been one for 'trade secrets'. I'm more the open source, share and share alike type, so I thought I'd let you know some of the changes I've made to my development process that have been super helpful (especially in case any of you are budding pattern designers ;)  )

I had a Fit Party!

This idea had been swimming around in my head forever: how could I test out a pattern in person on a variety of people and maybe eliminate some of those nasty grading error surprises or weird fit conundrums that have cropped up in the past? I thought it would be fun to run a sort of focus group where people could try on version 1.0 of the design. I enlisted a whole range of local women (all sizes, shapes, and styles) to try it out and the experience was fantastic! I've always been a collaborative soul, so really reaching out to the sewing community to help in this patterns development felt natural. Plus, it was super fun!

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I made mini samples!

I'm not sure what inspired the mini samples. Maybe it came from my tendency to try out weird construction techniques on mini scraps before sewing? Or convos with my friend Kate about mini dress forms and 'fashion babies' of the 18th century? My overzealous desire to be economical with fabric?

Either way, when I was fine tuning the pattern after the fit party, I decided that I didn't want to use up even more muslin to take reference photos for my instructions (I had just sewn up a pattern in each size in my range and Moderne has a lot of pieces!) Instead, I decided I would scale the whole pattern down to 50% and sew up mini samples instead. Since the proportions were the same, they worked out great for step by step photos (they were easier to photograph from above too!) I think next time I'll be more thoughtful and strategic with these sample photos so I can use them for tutorials and sew-alongs. But for this round, at least I saved about 5 yards of fabric!

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I had fabulous testers!

I've spent a lot of time rethinking and fine tuning my pattern testing process and I still think there's some things I'd do differently the next time. Overall though, I really couldn't create patterns without the help of my testers. They're patient and thoughtful and wonderfully creative and inspiring (several final adjustments to the pattern and tweaks to the instructions came directly from pattern tester feedback! You folks rule, seriously!)

Here's a few photos from some of my intrepid pattern testers, complete with Instagram and blog links! (Be sure to check out the other amazing things they sew)

A beautiful flocked denim Moderne from Lou & Lette

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A sweet and cozy satin quilted knit Moderne from Thao (@littlecumquat)

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A super chic and classic all black Moderne by Rebecca (@rebeccw0w)

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Anna's (@freshslicedpeaches) textured Moderne with a pop of lime green!

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A cotton canvas sloth-tastic version from Quinn (@quinn.anya)

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I'm already super inspired to make some more Moderne versions and I'm excited to use them as an excuse to share some fun pattern changes/hacks with you all, including how to make V1 lined (and skip the lining on V2), a hack pack for a zipper placket, and some more construction variations and tips.

Want to read more about what inspired Moderne and its features? Have a look here!