Today, I will tell you about a special sewing project. If you keenly follow this blog you'll know 2020 is the year of challenges for me. You would have probably noticed I like very much Deer & Doe patterns (you can see my other projects HERE ). From my first Belladone dress, I await every collection with impatience and have pleasure to admire and compare the versions made by the testers. Testers are the people working back stage to try the patterns before the public publishing. Well, this year, I had the chance to be part of this team !!!
Following the call for application from the brand in January, I posted my application and received a positive answer ! When I saw the offer, I immediately choose to apply and fill the form. Here are my motivations:
- Deer & Doe is THE pattern brand I like the most for its timeless style and at the same time fashionable. One pattern can be used as a casual outfit as for more conventional events. Details are dainty and elegant, and the instructions are understandable. Well I like Deer & Doe.
- Without knowing what pattern I would receive, I was 95% sure I would not be disappointed.
- To sew blindly a clothe. Usually when I buy a pattern, I carry out some research to compare the dressmakings and read the blogposts to know the difficulties and the adaptations. I also research people with a similar body as mine to have an idea. For this one, I knew if I was accepted, I would sew the clothe only from a drawing.
-It is my year of challenges and I feel the need to exceed myself, to learn, to meet difficulties to progress. Sewing an unknown clothe was a good challenge.
21st January I received a positive answer, 4th March I “handed in my paper”. This experience ran through three stages. First the emails exchanges, then the dressmaking I called “Blindly Sewing” and finally the logbook.
The long-awaited emails
As I wrote it before, 21st January I received a positive answer, my application was accepted. I danced the “Joyful dance” in front of my laptop ! Three days later, I received an email about the conditions of my collaboration and a contract to sign. Then I waited, waited, waited … until 19th February ! At last, they didn't forget me ! I received the instructions about the materials, along with a drawing of the 3 versions of the future pattern. I chose version A, sent my answer and ordered the fabric. Three days later I received the PDF pattern with the roadmap to do the test. Instructions arrived three days later.
When I printed and taped the “100 000” sheets of this pattern together, I remarked to myself:
1 - “Yep Mathilde, that's why you always buy the pre-printed pattern which, sure, is more expensive but so much quicker”
2- “Ok Mathilde, take your time, you cut on the line, you give it everything, it must be perfect.” Oh yes, because, the job of the tester is not just to receive a free pattern just for fun, sew the clothe and take nice photos ! I will tell you more about this job on the logbook part below..
Then, the instructions arrived 26th February with a deadline for the 8th of March.
The Blindly Sewing
Despite the drawing and the recommendations for the fabrics, I only had a rough idea of the final result. This never happens to me. Even when I create from A to Z, I always know how it will look at the end because I take a long time to study and prepare. This dress, I didn't imagine it, so I must follow the instructions without knowing where I would arrive. I had no other choice than trust ! There was a mix of excitement and apprehension. I saw it blossom under my fingers as I made it. I was very focused to be more precise and meticulous at every step ( tracing, cutting, sewing, assembly). I invested a lot of energy because I didn't want to be disappointed nor disappoint. Indeed, I appreciate so much the work achieved by the Deer & Doe team that I did not want to let them down.
I sewn a rough version, briefly to have an idea of the level and check if I choose the correct size. Once this first version was finished I discovered the potential of this dress. It is with pleasure I sewn the final version with a viscose 'Posie Chestnut' from Atelier Brunette. I sewn it with the size 36 for the top and then size 40 for the bottom.
The tester's logbook
As I wrote it above, to test a pattern is a serious job which requires commitment; Once all the documents were received, we had 2 weeks to make it and send back our reviews. That requires also to be thorough and discrete because nothing could be leaked before the official publishing. The job of the tester is to proofread:
- Check the PDF pattern is complete, with the correct format and hasn't got any mistakes. We don't make any modification to the pattern;
- Follow the instructions in specified order to check if the assembly process is ok;
- Check if the instructions and drawing are easy to understand;
- Once worn, is the clothe comfortable ? Tight ? Etc…
- Etc …
So, there is a feedback form to complete and send to the Deer & Doe team. These reviews must be relevant and helpful. The job is to notice the incoherence, the possible difficulties and not to redesign the pattern.
My Passiflore dress
With my wish to rise to challenges, I voluntarily place myself in difficulty and personal interrogation. I spent a lot of time to make this dress for many reasons: I was sewing blindly, I sewed viscose cloth for the first time, I spent time to understand some of the instructions, there is a lot of handmade finishes (but it is so much nicer) and I had to respect a deadline. I put myself in this situation being mindful and remembering my limits, which I believed were an obstacle, but, in reality, I was overly doubting myself. My willpower and fondness were enough to rise to this challenge.
I wasn't taken when I discovered the pattern but I like a lot my dress. In one hand because of what it represents it and in an other hand because of its elegant style. I'm comfortable when I wear it and I think I will sew a new one with linen and the long sleeve from the version B. Now I'm juste waiting for a warmer weather to wear it (Scottish weather …. ) !
About my experience as a tester, it is with pleasure I will do it again if possible. I found again the pleasure to be part of a collective project, bring my help, my sight and in return I received a lot of kindness from the Deer & Doe team.
See you soon for new adventures, take care,