The checklist your tech editor wants you to be using

You're a designer and you want your pattern to be in the best possible shape before you send it to your tech editor (TE), right?

Of course you do! The better the quality of the pattern you send in, the better the quality of the pattern you get out. 

The more issues a tech editor has to fix, the more things that are potentially going to be missed. It will cost you more time and money. Patterns which come to a publisher in  bad shape don't help your reputation with them.

So, here's a checklist that your tech editor will thank you for following (and you'll thank yourself as well):

  • Look at your pictures and make sure you include detail shots. Send them in the email to the TE if they aren't included in the pattern itself. The tech editor needs these to make sure that your instructions are making what's pictured in the sample. 

  • All descriptions make sense -- I know designers reuse templates a lot and sometimes you forget to update something.

  • Layout is logical and clear and the pattern is consistent in style -- for example, you might want to check your capitalisation throughout and make sure you haven't used "rep to end" in one spot and "repeat to end" in another. 

  • All needles listed are used and all needles used are listed.

  • Gauge is listed stockinette stitch but also in stitch patterns used. It's really helpful to the TE to have the gauge in stitch pattern listed as well (really helpful is an understatement if you want them to be able to accurately check the finished measurements. Absolutely vital would be more accurate.)

  • All notions are listed and in the correct amounts – buttons, ribbons, snaps, stitch holders, tapestry needles, etc. (Make sure you have button quantities correct for different sizes. I know I'm often guilty of listing the number of buttons I used in my sample, but not checking how many each size actually needs.)

  • If there is an abbreviations section then check all abbreviations used in the pattern are listed. Remember special/unusual abbreviations including cables should always be listed.

  • Pattern makes logical sense – give it a quick read through and make sure all elements are there. Mittens have thumbs, socks have heels and toes, garments have two sleeves and a neck opening, etc.

  • RS/WS are labelled correctly and follow on correctly (i.e. if Row 1 is a RS row then all odd numbered rows should be RS rows.)

  • Rows are numbered correctly (particularly if a pattern says something like “Rows 10-20: Work 10 rows in pattern.” If you have Rows X-Y then the number of rows worked is Y- X+1.)

  • Check all the numbers – look at pattern repeats working with the number of stitches in the rows and increases and decreases resulting in correct stitch counts (and please list the stitch counts after every change if possible. You can remove these before publishing but it helps the TE stay on the same track as you.)

  • Finishing instructions are listed and correct – designers often miss listing a seam to be sewn or an area to be grafted.

  • All necessary charts and schematics are included — if no schematic is going to be provided then you've got to have finished measurements listed somewhere.

  • Charts match written instructions and chart keys are given and correct. All stitches shown in the key are used in the chart and all stitches shown in the chart are listed in the key. It's helpful to let your TE know if the written instructions have been generated by your charting software or not. (If they have been then most likely the TE does not need to do a line by line comparison with the chart and this is for the two of you to discuss.)

  • Pattern sizing should be reasonable when held up to some sizing standard -- perhaps give the TE a heads up of what sizing standard you used or make sure you are following the one given to you by the publisher.

  • Can you improve the clarity of the pattern in any way? Are there spots you are unsure about the phrasing? Point these out to your TE! Let them know your specifically worried about it. It might not raise a red flag with them otherwise and it's important that you get feedback (even if it's just a "looks good to me!") to ease your worries. 

Do you agree or disagree with the points above? Have I missed anything? How do you get your pattern ready for your tech editor? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

(Does reading this list make you think you might be a good tech editor? I've got a course for that!)