This poor little blog has been neglected of late. When I started In the Folds, I had the high hope of blogging regularly and consistently. I enjoy writing and I enjoy sharing my knowledge, so blogging has always felt like a good fit for me (I have had multiple blogs of different formats and styles over the last decade). I started off strong - posting a multitude of blog posts about sewing, pattern making and even a few behind the scenes style posts. So it has been sad for me to accept that there is just not enough hours in the day for me to blog at the pace I would like to. With drafting patterns (both for my business and my collaboration with Peppermint Magazine), all the administration that is involved in running a business, packing and sending orders, as well as my part-time job, there just isn’t time for it, which is why the only thing I seem to be blogging about lately is pattern testing! So I apologise in advance if you were hoping for new content and realised that it’s just another call for pattern testers! Although I am sure that a lot of you who missed out last time might be excited to see that there is an opportunity to get involved this time.
If you’re wondering how my upcoming pattern is going (the one I tested a couple of months ago and have not yet released), it is going… slowly! Overall, testing went really well and everyone really enjoyed using the pattern. But, as testing came to an end, I realised there was a recurring problem with one section of one of the variations. After doing some investigating I realised there was a drafting error that I had somehow overlooked. Although it’s really disappointing to realise something like this, it’s also a relief to catch it during testing (all thanks to my fantastic pool of testers), rather than after it had been released. I had to make adjustments to the pattern, re-sample to make sure it worked and then send the pieces back to the grader. I received the re-graded pieces this week, which is great, but it does mean that it has delayed the pattern shoot for this pattern. In the meantime, these jacket patterns came together and I realised I’d be better off shooting all three patterns at the same time - so that is the plan for now. I am also trying not to stress about it and just take the time I need. I am thankful that my designs are trend-adverse so I don’t have to worry about missing the boat in that respect!
Now back to the reason for this post. I am so excited to announce that I'm ready to test my two next patterns! Yes, you read it correctly… two patterns! As always, these patterns have been a long time in the works. I started playing with this jacket idea when I was in my last studio space - which means it has been in the works for about two and a half years! I rarely work on something consistently for a long time, as I feel within my process I need time to let things sit and develop. It can be frustrating at times, as I wish I could get patterns out a little quicker, but in the end I know this is what my point of difference is and what I feel makes my patterns special. I like to call this my patterns ‘brewing time.’
These two jackets started off as a single pattern, but over time I realised that the two styles had become so different that it no longer made sense to keep them as one. At first I was quite nervous about this decision, but over time I have realised that it made sense for me and my business. I think when you’re starting out you can get caught in the trap of adding more and more value - well at least I know I have found myself caught in that trap at times - thinking that to ask someone to spend money on something you’re making you have to give them everything you have possibly got. I realised through this process that the value of my work is not having 101 variations of a garment available, but is in the quality of the drafting, the usability of the pattern and the (very) detailed instructions that I always pour my heart and soul into. This is what I want my work to be known for and I need to constantly keep this at the forefront of my mind, as I make decisions about my products and how I choose to spend my time.
About the patterns
When I think about these two jacket patterns, I think of them as sisters. They have strong similarities, as they started from the same draft. The overall shape of each jacket is similar and they even share some pattern pieces. I am quite excited about this aspect as it means that the pieces can mix and match - a concept I have not yet explored through my pattern range. They also fill a gap in my pattern collection and work beautifully with all my current patterns, as well as other patterns I have in the works. I didn’t consciously do this, but have realised that this is probably quite natural as all my patterns really fit with my aesthetic and reflect the kind of clothes I like to wear, so it makes sense that in the end they would become a collection that evolves and grows over time.
If you have been following me on Instagram, you might have a pretty good idea about what one of these jackets looks like. During my Kickstarter campaign shoot, I didn’t realise I had left one of my toiles of this jacket hanging in the background (photo below - just in case you missed it)! I quickly realised what I had done when I was contacted by countless people asking where they could get the pattern. I guess in the end it was good market research and reinforced that it would be a popular pattern and worth working on… even if I did give more away than I normally would!
I will give you the garment descriptions of the four jackets, and hopefully from that you will know if any of these styles are for you. Please only apply to test if you think the jacket is something you would like to wear. I am very conscious about all that I sew, and I hope you are too. I hate to think of garments being made and never worn, so be mindful of this, and if they don't sound like they're for you, there will always be next time. If you own other In the Folds patterns and they fit with your style, I’d say there is a good chance one of these patterns will be for you though!
Both jackets are loose-fitting and designed for woven fabrics. Each has two different styles and is the perfect layering piece for autumn and winter.
The Flynn jacket features a kimono-style collar, a high-low hem and in-seam pockets. All seams are finished with bias binding, for a beautiful and high-end finish. Flynn can be worn open, or closed discreetly with a hook and eye.
The Flynn jacket (View A) has a dropped shoulder and sleeve with a hem facing. It also features an inverted box-pleat in the back. The sleeves on View A are designed to be worn either straight or folded back, for a more casual look.
The Flynn jacket (View B) is sleeveless and features armhole facings and a flat back piece (no pleat). It has been designed to be worn over long sleeve tops and dresses. I like to wear this style as an added layer to work, so that I always have pockets to make things easier. I’ve never owned a piece like this, so it has been interesting to see how it fits into my wardrobe. This version is more fitted through the bust and armholes than View A.
The Flynn jacket is compatible with bottom-weight fabrics such as: denim, cottons such as canvas, duckcloth and drill and heavyweight linens.
The Flynn jacket is placed at a 4 on the In the Folds skill scale. For more info about this scale, look here.
The Hove jacket features a fully lined hood, open-ended zip closure (or double-ended zip if you'd prefer), high-low hem, in-seam pockets and pleated back detail.
The Hove jacket (View A) has a dropped shoulder and sleeve with a hem facing. This is the version that you can see in the photo. The sleeves on View A are designed to be worn either straight or folded back, for a more casual look.
The Hove jacket (View B) is sleeveless (creating the look of a dolman sleeve) and is designed to be layered over long-sleeved tops and dresses. Armhole is finished with an armhole facing. This variation is loose fitting like View A.
The Hove jacket is placed at a 5 on the In the Folds skill scale. For more info about this scale, look here. This one is placed slightly higher than Flynn because of the zip.
The testing process
I’ve learned through the last couple of pattern testing periods that the way I feel most comfortable pattern testing is by using a 'first in best dressed' model. This allows me to be as inclusive as I can be - giving everyone a fair chance to be involved in the process (and hopefully get some makers in the testing pool that have never had the chance to be part of the testing process). As well as making the process more inclusive, this also helps me out and ensures I can be spending my time on what is important. Pattern testing is a lot of work, any by selecting testers in this way, I will (hopefully) not be spending days going through applications and can just get the process started.
I will need two sewists for each size for each pattern (one for each style) - meaning I need roughly 40 testers. This is the first time I have tested two patterns at once, so I am interested to see how it goes. This year I have been working on batching particular steps in my process, so I thought why not try batch testing. I already find pattern testing quite stressful, so doing two at once will hopefully limit the stress to a two week period, rather than a whole month of it! Fingers crossed my stress doesn’t double!
There is an application form at the bottom of this blog post. I have kept it as quick and as simple as possible and don’t require any more information than what is asked in the form. I will receive the applications in my email and will work through the applications from the first one I receive down, until all the positions are filled. I will favour brave beginners / intermediate sewists as this pattern is aimed at makers who are confident tackling a pattern of this level, but apart from that, everyone will have a fair chance of being involved.
The testing period will run for two weeks. I will let you know if your application has been successful by Tuesday October 23. At this stage I will add you to the Slack testing group and provide you with a copy of the pattern. Feedback will be due by Tuesday November 6. With feedback you will be expected to submit some simple photos of the garment being worn (at least front, back and side view). These photos do not need to be styled and will not be shared without your permission. Please only apply if this time frame suits you and you are happy to provide photos (they can be sent to me via email if you would prefer not to share them in the group).
HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Testing involves you making the garment - as it was originally intended (no pattern hacking etc.) and providing honest and constructive feedback on the making experience and finished garment. In exchange for your involvement, you will receive a free copy of the pattern on it's release. You will also have my sincere gratitude for being part of it! You are welcome to make fit changes to the pattern (such as shortening or lengthening etc.), just not styling changes.
Testing will run from Tuesday October 23 and will run for two weeks. Feedback and fitting photos (these don't need to be styled) will be due on Tuesday November 6. Please only apply if you can complete the project in the time frame.
Testing will be conducted through a Slack group, so please only apply to test if you are happy to join the group. I have found that testing in this way makes it much more fun for the testers, as you get to connect with other makers and sew the project together! It also means that if you have a question, there is a large knowledge pool that can get back to you (just in case it's night time here in Australia). In the past I have tested patterns using Facebook groups, but have realised over time that a lot of people don’t use Facebook and this does exclude some people. I have been using Slack with another group I am a part of, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes for this purpose! It will be a bit of a learning curve for me (and maybe for a few of the testers too).
HOW TO APPLY:
If you would like to apply, please complete the form below. Sizing info can be found here.
I am really looking forward to working with some of you, and hopefully meeting lots of new people in the process!
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED
Thank you so much to all that applied! I really couldn’t do this without your help and support.