Hello. Thanks to everyone who is dropping in for the Things I didn’t know Tuesday. I have been amazed and delighted at the reaction the posts are getting. So nice to see so many budding designers dropping by to learn along with me.
Before I began designing I knew that books had editors to help refine the language, sharpen it up and to check for errors of fact, spelling and grammar. But, once again, I hadn’t really contemplated whether that happened with patterns or not. I think the first time I came across the term was when I was first submitting to calls and many mentioned “tech editing is provided.”
So what is a tech editor and what do they do?
Essentially their job is to work with the designer to ensure the pattern is as accurate and professionally presented as it can be.
The full title is technical editor (and it is normally shortened to TE) and their job is to check:
- All information needed to complete the pattern is contained within it.
- All of that information is technically accurate.
- That following the pattern will produce an item of the stated size.
- Check the tools and materials list. Is it complete, are all items actually used in the pattern?
- Check the abbreviations list. Are all terms used in the pattern and are any missing?
- Are the pattern notes clear. Would noting anything else help the user?
- Does the tension/gauge information seem likely?
- Proof read all text to make sure that all the abbreviations and terms used are consistent throughout the pattern and punctuation is consistent It is really helpful if you have a style sheet for the tech editor to refer to.
- Advise the designer on places where the instructions could be made clearer.
- Go through the pattern line by line ensuring that each line uses the number of stitches produced in the previous line and produces the stated number of stitches. So if you started with 8 sts the line
*K1, k2tog; rep from * to end. (4 sts)
would need some adjustment as it uses 6 stitches not the 8 you have.
- If appropriate, check that the chart agrees with the written instructions.
- Check that the number of stitches or rows divided by the tension/gauge information for different sections of the garment agrees with the information given in the schematic or use that information to create a schematic and, for clothing, check that the measurement would create a garment that will fit a standard body.
- Create a style sheet which lists what information you need to include in every pattern, how you will abbreviate and punctuate, stock phrases for often used techniques, how you will list measurements, how different sizes will be shown in the pattern. Doing this allows your TE to concentrate on the job in hand rather than wonder whether you want it written ch1 or 1ch as you’ve used them both about 50/50 throughout the pattern!
- Be your own TE first. Before you send it to the TE make sure it is the best it can be. Read through it with a critical eye. Check your own numbers again. The more mistakes you find the fewer your TE has to take time to deal with.
- Build a good relationship with your TE. When the two of you find a happy working rhythm and can communicate ideas clearly together it really speeds the process up. Let your TE know how you prefer to work and find out their preferences too.
- By being organised and making sure you allow plenty of time for the tech editing process you won’t have to ask for a rush job which may incur a higher fee.