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Beta Testing a sewing pattern is what is usually also called pattern testing. This usually happens after the alpha testing. Alpha testing is made by professional seamstresses or pattern constructors. They check if all sizes are graded correctly, if all the seams match, the darts are right … A lot of work, but necessary to get a good sewing pattern. You find a very detailed blogpost about this on the blog 7pinedesign.
The beta testers are usually a group of home sewers, similar to the target group. They sew the pattern to check if they are able to make the pattern with the provided instruction. Ideally the beta tester should become the finished alpha tested pattern, without any further necessary changes. The job task is to sew it and report if there are any minor problems left, or a strange phrase in the instructions.
I have only participated once before in a pattern test. (I am not really a friend of deadlines in my free time.) But when So! Pattern asked if I wanted to sew a coat, I thougth, why not, during the christmas holiday period I have time. And I like the pattern. My mum also decided to sew the pattern. She actually started sewing – if there would have been any problems left, I could have forgone them. I have never made a pattern from So! Pattern before, so I had no clue about the overall fit (lose fitting or tighter). Also it was my first time sewing a coat.
So what did I realize during sewing the coat?
- I was in between the size S and M. I decided to go with M and I am quite lucky to go with M. Because size S would have been definitly too tight. The coat is very figure hugging. If you prefer to wear hoodies or pullovers under your coat, you better choose a size bigger, than the measurement chart suggests.
- The coat was less flared than I expected from the technical drawing. Its more a straight coat than flared.
- The seam allowance was already included, very strange to me. It was kinda incapacitating. But it allowed for a very effect layout of the pattern for cutting.
- The sleeves are a little bit short. I made them about 2 cm longer.
- I didnt like the latch(?). Instead I made a belt.
- I had to make the coat in the side seams a little bit tighter. Changed the Armhole a bit and the sleeve accordingly. I pinned on the mannequin till it looked good.
- Because the pattern had no collar and I don’t wear scarfs, I made a matching cape. For the cape I copied the pattern from a already existing coat cape set.
- Some parts of the coat need a better ironing. I am going to ask my sewing teacher, if she can use her incredible ironing skills on my coat.
- Because my dresses usually have a length over 60 cm to 70 cm, I made the coat 15 cm longer. Original length from the waist 58,5 cm.
- There is a detailed instruction and photo tutorial how to sew the coat. I read both once two weeks before sewing. During sewing I made the coat my usual way.
- I added sleeve heads and shoulder pads. I am not quite sure if I used the sleeve heads right. I just googled and looked how they looked sewn in.
- To cut loden is really tiring. I didn’t use the best cutting fabric scissors. Because I was worried to cut into the paper and to blunt the scissors.
- I missed the ironing press from the sewing course. Till I glued all pieces it took so much time. It was incredible boring. And you should not glide over the pieces and do not steam. Just pressing on piece after the other. Sometimes I was afraid to destroy my mums iron board. It made a lot of noise (the “I am close to collapsing” kind of noise).
- The more pieces that are sewn together the heavier it gets. I mean yes you are closer to finish the coat. But it becomes really heavy. I think I prefer jackets, less fabric to move around.
- After some time I finally had the idea to listen to the sewing podcast love to sew. But only during the sewing breaks, because the machine was too loud.
- A skewed needle is not the least helpful.
- I like to have someone around me during sewing. But not somebody that stays behind me, touches everything and asks kinda stupid question. Sorry dad, I am not going to ask you again to keep me company.
- Adjusting the seam took forever. Sadly it wasn’t possible to just use the 5 cm Seam allowance and finish the coat.
Conclusion: I am not going to sew the coat again. Not because the pattern ist bad. But who needs two coats of the exact same coat sewing pattern? But the coat is an excellent basic sewing pattern for pattern hacking.
Pattern: Mantel Emma So! Pattern
Changes: A little bit tighter on the top, about 15 cm longer, added a cape and a belt.
Time: 1 week
Material: Loden in black from our local supplier mytex. Linning in rose with flower print also from myTex. 6 big snaps for closure, 1 button and a matching belt buckle.