Have you ever thought of being a Pattern Tester?

As I put my 18th bag pattern into testing today, I have the same feeling I always do when a pattern in finally written; after all of the prototyping, illustrating,  and writing now it is time to see what others think of my latest creation.

When the pattern finally finalized, patterned and written up the work has just begun. The testing process is the most vital step behind every pattern published.

Have you ever thought about being a pattern tester? Ever wondered why others do it or what it takes to become a pattern tester? Read on…

At RLR Creations we have a group of talented, loyal and very dedicated testers that are always anxiously awaiting the next pattern to be tested. RLR Creations has a testing team that consists of 20+ very talented sewists, editors, team leaders, and cheerleaders. Some are permanent testers that are a part of every new pattern, and some are willing to jump in from time to time when needed. Each one is the core behind RLR Creations Sewing Patterns. We all share one common Love: sewing beautiful things, and one common Goal: to be sure every pattern published has clear correct directions and pattern pieces that not only print well but work to complete the pattern.  We work as a group from beginning to end on each pattern design. We laugh, we joke around, we sometimes cry together; but most of all each works tirelessly to bring you amazing bag patterns; such as the upcoming 18th pattern in the RLR Creations collection.

Who are these amazing ladies and why do they do it? It always amazes me when others think they do it for a free pattern. To me, I never understood why someone would do so much work just to receive a free $6 pattern.  So, what is better than to hear what they say as to why they do it?

Meet a few of the members of the RLR Creations Construction Crew, and hear their thoughts on being a pattern tester. They will certainly inspire you to give my patterns a try, or to even consider being a tester yourself. 

The Kokoda Canteen and Limelight Wallet Pattern

The Kokoda Canteen and Limelight Wallet Pattern

The Koala Handbag with detachable Clutch

The Koala Handbag with detachable Clutch

Pandere Expandable Tote

Pandere Expandable Tote

Grace Travel Satchel

Grace Travel Satchel

The Teardrop Sling Bag

The Teardrop Sling Bag

Koala handbag with detachable Clutch

Koala handbag with detachable Clutch

Sunday "My Way Bag"

Sunday "My Way Bag"

Dolores Lunch Tote & Sami Snack Pouch

Dolores Lunch Tote & Sami Snack Pouch

The Urban Messenger Bag

The Urban Messenger Bag

The Koala Handbag with detachable Clutch

The Koala Handbag with detachable Clutch

Limelight Wallet

Limelight Wallet

The Wayfarer

The Wayfarer

Jean Parrott:

Jean has been on the testing team nearly 8 months now and has tested each and every pattern that I have written since. She is a very valued member of the team and is always ready to welcome in the newcomers, as well as, is an active member of the RLR Creations Sewing group on Facebook. Jean is always readily available to answer any questions that come along to help other members as they work on patterns.

Jean’s love of sewing started at a young age. She sews for the pure joy of it and her family and friends reap the benefits of her talents.

When asked why she enjoys being a pattern tester here is what she had to say-

“For me it is the challenge of trying a new design. Of course I also like being a part of a fun group of like minded people. Even though I have been sewing for more than four decades I still learn new things with almost every new pattern I try - it definitely keeps it interesting for me."

Debra Taylor of Taylor Made Baskets:

Debra is our testing team’s sweetheart. She is an inspiration to us all, and is always there when I need a cheerleader. She has been on the testing team for nearly a year now and participates in every new bag pattern test. Debra’s help goes beyond the testing as she is always there to be an inspiration in the RLR Creations Sewing group as well. She readily jumps in and helps others with questions and encouragement.

Debra’s love for being part of the Pattern Testing group goes way beyond getting a new pattern. While her answer to why she enjoys being a pattern tester was that she loves learning new techniques her response below says it all-

“I enjoy our community of ladies to sew with. I don't have anyone who lives nearby to do that with. Love that someone understands my passion” truly shows that pattern testing goes far beyond the desire to learn new things." 

If you would like to see more of Debra’s amazing work stop by Taylor Made Baskets have a look around and say hello!


Susan Hewitt of Thefarmerwantsawife


Susan is one of the newer members of our team. She joined us as a guest tester in December and instantly became part of the team. I was blessed when she agreed to stick around and become a permanent member of the RLR Creations Testing Team.  She is so very talented that I am not sure she has ever created a bad stitch on a sewing machine. She sells her beautiful bags in her Etsy Store here:  https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Thefarmerwantsawife there is some real pretty stuff there so I encourage you to go check it out!!

Susan enjoys being part of the testing process and stated her main reason was “I like the opportunity of making something from a brand new design.”

Karen McEuen from Albuquerque, NM

Karen has been part of my team since my third pattern. She is a big part of the testing team and has helped me get many patterns from draft to a published pattern. She is an amazingly talented lady whether making handbags or quilting. She only sews for family and friends, and says her family appreciates that.

When Karen was asked why she sticks around and continues to test patterns for me, she said “Even after sewing for many years, I can still have the opportunity to learn some new techniques with being a tester.” She also added that she enjoys testing because, “I enjoy creating something "new" before it becomes a fad.” I sure hope she will be with us for many more patterns to come!

Betty Hoyle-Wind

 While Betty loves to call herself the newbie, she has been with me the longest. Her southern charm and witty personality makes her loved by everyone. While she has sold a few bags she mainly enjoys giving her creations as gifts to people she loves. She tells us that while she has been sewing since childhood she finds now that she loves the fun of pattern testing.

When asked why she sticks around to be part of every test Betty stated; “I love being a bag tester - it provides a challenge, new skills, fun camaraderie with others involved in the testing and lets me be among the 'first to create a brand new design'!” 

Sue Reed of Dreamscape Studio

Sue is one of our newest testers that came in on a guest test and we loved her so much we were thrilled when she decided to stick around for a few more tests. Sue’s mother taught her to sew at a very young age and she immediately fell in love with designing her own doll clothes. When sadly her mother passed when she was only 10 her Aunt took her under her wing and kept her learning.  Her business Dreamscape Studio was born from the dream her mother had for her to keep on with her sewing. You can see her amazing talent here: https://www.facebook.com/DreamscapeStudio

Sue shared with me her reason to be a pattern tester, I love the bag making process and the challenge of a never before tested pattern. AND being a part of a fun creative team. I thoroughly enjoy being on this team. Everyone is very encouraging and supportive of each other.” Thank you Sue, we feel the same!

Lori Peoples of Green Lane PA

            Lori is another valued tester that has been on the team for a year now. She is an integral part of getting the pattern refined during testing to help make it an easier sew for everyone else. Lori has been making clothing and quilts for a long time but has recently fell in love with bag making. In fact she is just starting to sell her lovely bags.

Why does Lori enjoy pattern testing? When asked she answered, “I like the fun of sewing something new before everyone has it… I enjoy being part of an awesome team of sewers!”

Yvonne Spinks of HandCrafted By Yvonne

Yvonne has been a part of the pattern testing team since the beginning. She was one of the first testers and continues to be an asset to the team; whether it is testing a pattern or offering moral support during a test. She loves to sew and has been has been at it since she was a child. She has created some really amazing bags from my patterns and s always supportive of RLR Creations.

“Well, I love to sew and have been doing it on and off for the past 30 years. I love the challenge of testing new patterns, learning new techniques, gathering feedback and working with peers to create something fun and unique”, is the reason she continues to be a pattern tester.

You can visit Handcrafted by Yvonne by stopping by her facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HCbyY You will certainly find some inspiration and lovely items for sale there. 


Andrea Fuhrer from Recklinghausen in Northrhine-Westfalia, Germany

Andrea skills go way beyond making a bag and her being part of the team has been such an asset to the growth of RLR Creations Sewing Patterns. She makes every pattern I write from the words to the construction better. She challenges me and inspires me. She is a wonderful motivation to the others on the team and is always there to make the new/guest testers feel welcome.

She writes that she likes being a tester because, “first of all I love to make different bags, it’s great to help finish and polish a pattern to get it out to the public. I like that nobody else made this bag before and there’s a new bag coming every few weeks, helping me learn new techniques and sometimes challenging my skills. It’s amazing and inspiring to see all the different bags. I also love to be a part of a creative team and our wonderful, supportive tester group. And maybe most importantly – I made friends all over the world.”

Fran Bott from Norfolk VA

Fran is the new kid on the block, and we are so happy to have her on the team. Bag making is therapy for her and she adds that getting to work with a designer is an extension of that therapy.

Fran adds her reasoning for being a pattern tester, “I enjoy working the bugs out of things - gets the mind working, that in turn distracts me enough so that I don't dwell on what hurts. Much like the circle of life where one thing leads to another, etc”.

Penny Sharpe-Scofield

Penny joined the testing team about 5 months ago after patiently waiting for a spot to open up as a guest tester. She fit right into the group as if she was always there so was happy when she decided to stay on as a permanent part of the team. She is always there with input on pattern, with suggestions to make it even better, and always goes the extra mile when asked.

Why does Penny enjoy being part of the team?  “I like testing because my input is heard and not overlooked. I learn a lot and of course, I love being in the front of the line. Love the friendship in this testing group. When a designer is actually concerned about the end user is a bonus.”

Kelly Ann Compton from Denver Colorado

Kelly has participated I a few tests as a guest tester and has stayed on team as a permeant member to be our chief editor. She is the final but certainly not the least part of the pattern testing process. She is the one that makes sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted. She is defiantly a punctuation princess and a very valued member of the team as a cheerleader and motivator.

Here are a few words from Kelly as to why she is part of the team, “ I love to sew. Period. I also love words and moving words around, hence, I love being an editor for the test patterns. I also love being part of a group that is all working toward a common end: a wonderful pattern that reads well and is easy to follow”

Tanya Summers of Little Mate’s Wardrobe

Tanya joined us on a last minute plea for more testers on the Wayfarer pattern and I have held her hostage since. She is the inspiration beyond many of the names of my patterns and is always there when I need inspiration. Tanya makes beautiful things and has a heart of gold. If you are part of the RLR Sewing Patterns Group you most likely already know her as she is always there to lend a hand to anyone that has a question on a pattern. She is the owner of Little Mate's Wardrobe and you can visit her here to see many more of her lovely creations-www.facebook.com/littlemateswardrobe

When I asked Tanya why she enjoys being a pattern tester this is what she had to say, “I am a sucker for finding and pointing out mistakes and this is the best way for me to learn new things and push myself to get them done. I test specifically for Rachel coz I like her style. As a tester and a part of the RLR Creations group, the support is fantastic. The techniques are explained well in both written word and graphic illustrations but you know if you get stuck or have a 'moment' there's someone there to give you a hand.”

Thank you for taking the time to learn about my testing team and why they enjoy testing new patterns.


Please stop by our facebook group- RLR Creations Sewing Patterns, say hi to the members of my team, and see more of the lovely bags they have made. 

You can find all of my patterns in my Craftsy store here: Patterns.

While there are not any current openings available for the current test in progress we do from time to time need new testers and often have new faces join us as guest testers to try out a pattern. If this is something you feel you may enjoy please take a moment to fill out the FORM HERE to be added to the list.

Be sure to stop back next Friday for a great step by step tutorial and to maybe learn something new!