As a Designer How Much
Do I Pay Pattern Testers?
As a mentor for those having dreams of becoming a designer, I have been asked this question numerous times. I really do not know what the standard pay is, so I can only give you my thoughts from my own experience. When I was working on my book, Positively Crochet!, I wanted to have every pattern tested before mailing the projects to the publisher and I too was in a delima over what to pay. Back then, I was pretty active on Crochetville, a social media site for crocheters, and people were talking about testing patterns. I posted that I was looking for testers and another designer warned me to be very careful about having a stranger do it for me since she had someone steal a pattern that way. So then I decided to ask women I knew personally if they'd be intested. I still don't know what other people pay, but I wanted to be fair. I had already had designs in other designers books, such as Vickie Howell, Kim Welker and their publisher paid each contributing designer $100, which is not much at all, but I knew it would also give me exposure since I was so new at the time and it was well worth it to me.
Based on all that and the fact I was paid only $100 to design it and stitch it up, this gave me some ideas. I figured that someone who had never tested a pattern or had anything published wouldn't be real particular about it. So I just started asking people I knew, including teenagers who were beginners. I told them I didn't have a lot of money, but if interested I would give them 2 choices.
1. I'd pay them $30-$40 to test a pattern + they could have the pattern and keep the project, OR
2. I'd buy the yarn and they could keep the project for themselves.
Each one of them were very happy to do this. Some were beginners and most were thrilled that I'd even ask them. Since they knew me, they were happy with the pay, but I have no idea what someone else would expect to be paid to test a pattern. I'm sure it also has to do with the type of design and how large or small it is. If you're a member of the national CGOA group, you could ask there. I know there are people who are professional pattern testers.
I actually prefer a person who hasn't crocheted long to test my patterns because they notice the little things. For instance, they will make a note if I forget to say "sew seams", "fasten off" and other obvious things. Sometimes an experienced crocheter would automatically go ahead and "sew seams", but forget to make a note to me saying I left it off. This was frustrating.
On Crochet That Fits, I didn't have every pattern tested like I did on Positively Crochet because so many of the patterns in that book are beginner level. Some people are surprised the "Little Black Dress" on the book cover and my famous Cap Sleeve Top, featured on the Knit and Crochet Now TV show are easy enough for a beginner. With my interview we demonstrated my Graduated Stitch Method of making shaped garments without having to use increases or decreases. The Cap Sleeve Top is one of my most known designs because my publisher (F+W) allowed the show to put that pattern on the website for anyone to have access to. It's been in several crochat alongs also, which made it more popular. I only had some of the intermediate patterns from that book tested.
On Colorful Crochet Lace, published Aug 2015, I had to hire some experienced people to stitch up 5 projects for the book, since I didn't have time myself. There were circumstances in my life that would have kept me from meeting my deadline if it hadn't been for these friends who came to the rescue. The gals who stitched those up were like pattern testers also, since they had to follow the pattern. Of course I paid them more because they stitched up the actual garment that was photographed for the book.