I've was perusing the "What do you look for in a review" thread on the Pattern Reviews board earlier in the day and WOW; it's up to 14 pages long now.
Not but that it's chock full of interesting and humorous information. It's just a lot to read for someone who wants some advice, or maybe just a reminder, of what folks are looking for in reviews.
So I decided to summarize it all here for future reference.
Tips for writing a good pattern review:
- What you would like to see in a review. As we all have different body types, different skills, and different tastes, the consensus seems to be the more reviews the better.
- Pictures, pictures and more pictures. Some folks like seeing pictures of the garment on a person. Others like pictures of the garment hanging on a dress form. Most all greatly desire a look at the finished work, even if the pattern did not work out for you. That said, don't refrain from posting a review just because you don't have pictures. When people are looking for reviews of a specific pattern, they tend to want all they can get, pictures or no.
- All basic information using the outline (template) provided, or something similar. It's OK to provide links to additional information and details, but the the review should be able to stand on its own.
- Information about the fabric used, like what kind of fabric it is, how well it handled, where it was obtained, and how much it cost.
- Information on challenges faced, lessons learned, successes and failures.
- Information on the construction techniques and order used, especially if they differ from the pattern's instructions, or included embellishments.
- Information on the quality of the instructions and drafting.
Information on fitting and sizing, especially if you used a size that doesn't match your measurements, or you altered the pattern.
- If a pattern did not work for you, say why.
- For a personal touch, include the "story" of your garment. Who was it made for and why?
- Proofread your review before publishing it. Make sure the links work.
- Keep paragraphs relatively short and include white space (a blank line) in between them. (The template helps with this).
And with all that, keep reviews concise and to the point ;)
Additional review tips:
- In the course of time things change and get moved around. If you have older reviews, check them periodically to be sure that links still work.
- Not everyone is tech savvy and we are all busy, so sometimes links won't work for anyone except the reviewer, or the text will be all bolded. Please be patient with these. If possible, send a private message to the reviewer so they can clean it up. Alternatively, note the problem in the review comments.
- Feel free to update reviews as needed or desired.
- If at all possible, get pictures that are sharp and bright. Take special care with pictures of dark garments, as it is often difficult to see details in those.
- Do not hesitate to post a review of a pattern that already has reviews. These are not only desired, they are greatly appreciated.
Lastly and most importantly keep in mind that we all have different tastes, different ways of approaching things, and different reasons for reading and writing pattern reviews. There are going to be few reviews that fully meet the needs of everyone on the board. Our diversity is one of the things that makes this such a wonderful community.