Sunday morning, 16/07/2017
Rebecca’s right hand woman, Kate Wright, has just posted a gorgeous hand drawn line drawing of the next pattern. This is the pattern in its most raw form. It is gorgeous, as always. It features a halter neck, a billowing bodice and wide leg pants. Rebecca has written notes for herself and her testers over her piece of paper. She has noted pockets, an invisible zip, buttons, pleats and many other features. She mentions the bodice should be loose and gathered. Her picture takes my mind to her location, London in the middle of summer. Even though it’s winter here, this simple drawing takes me to a place of warmth, of long summer days and cocktails in the evening. To me this pattern feels like effortless and elegant style. I see myself wearing this with chunky heels, sunglasses and an oversized bracelet.
The line drawing was a call for a pre-tester. A lady from the medium size range will sew up the pattern and alert Rebecca and Kate to any major issues before main testing begins.
Tuesday morning, 25/7/17
Rebecca has just uploaded the images for this months test to the brand ambassadors group. As a tester, I am part of this group but am not required to sew the minimum one piece per month. However, I generally do, because using affiliate links to promote Rebecca Page patterns is the only way I can make a very small amount of money to compensate for my time and fabric.
She has also revealed the other pieces for this month. There is a drawstring bag and pencil case, and some other things I can’t mention because they have not been released yet.
We also have name for the romper. It is the Cerena Romper and will come with three pants lengths and as a top only.
The pattern should be uploaded to the tester group in the next few days.
Tuesday evening, 25/07/17
The tester call has been placed in the secret testing group. My size buddy, Gabrielle Lamothe, and I decide which of us will test this one and who will have a month off. Obviously, I’m testing this one. Gabrielle will test the next one.
Testing is set to begin tomorrow. Once everyone has decided who’s testing the Cerena romper, Kate will add testers to another secret group specifically for this pattern. In the meantime I tidy my sewing room, make sure I have enough ink in my printer (it always seems to run out around testing time!) and have an early night. I like to be fairly quick with my fit pics, so I know I’ll be up to late tomorrow night. Testing will run for about two weeks.
The pattern was uploaded overnight last night. Kate has been unwell so there was a short delay. I printed this morning and then waited until my daughter was napping to get to work.
The first thing I do once I have a pattern is to check the grading. Everything looks exactly as it should on this pattern, as it always does with Rebecca’s work. The crotch curve make a lovely ‘U’ shape and the angle of the crotch leg seam is 90 degrees.
If you would like to learn how to check grading and true patterns these blogs are extremely valuable resources
If you’ve never sewn a muslin before, it works very differently to regular sewing. I lengthen my stitches on my machine to 3.5, overlock all my edges, don’t trim my threads, or even change the thread to match my fabric. Basically I want this to be fast and my seam allowances spot on. This is not a garment I will wear. I really hate this fabric, but the bolt was $5 from the opshop so it’s perfect for muslin making! It is light and drapey and has a some mechanical stretch.
I printed out sizes 3xl, 4xl and 5xl. I measure 4xl on top and 3xl on bottom. Over my daughter’s midday nap I manage to tape the 47 pages of the pattern, cut out my pattern pieces and get the top version sewn. Rebecca asked up to pause at this stage and take some fit pictures. My baby woke up as I was taking fit photos! Win!
As I make my way through the pattern I check that the pieces are all labelled correctly and mention any errors I come across. All I’ve seen for this pattern is the seam allowance on the necktie is incorrect on the pattern piece (it’s correct in the pattern instructions ) and that the interfacing pattern piece says to cut two of fabric rather than interfacing. Nothing majorly interesting really. I submit my fit pictures and a little write up about how I find the fit. The fit looks great except the elastic measurement is too long for me. I took off an inch of elastic but I’ll take off 1.5 inches for finals.
After my daughter goes to bed for the night I get stuck into the pants. I do 3xl for pants and they fit well. I did my first invisible zip tonight and oh my gosh do I need to practice them tomorrow! The pants fit well, they are well graded so no crotch wrinkles or bubbles. They are a touch long. I am the height the pattern is drafted for but my height is more through my torso than my legs.
I am the only plus size tester so I feel very responsible for the fit of this pattern. I volunteer to do the pants again in a woven with more structure and check the fit of the knit option as well. There’s a lot of pressure being the only one so I usually end up making two or three versions even if they’re not required. Plus I’ll get to practice my invisible zips again!
I’ve just finished sewing up the pants part of the romper two more times. I choose polyester with zero stretch for one and nylon spandex for the other. My polyester version is tight across my waist because I measure 4xl there and didn’t think to blend sizes! My knit version is too loose, so I may size down and do another one if I’m asked.
Unless Rebecca or Kate asks me for something more I am finished the construction and fit side for this version of the pattern. If Rebecca feels the need to alter it in any way , I will sew up version two. For now I am free to move onto other projects and watch the rest of the tester pictures as they come in. I will also read through the instructions and try to pick up any errors I see, and decide on fabrics for my final. I just picked up some gorgeous vintage lobster print rayon I think I’ll use.
Friday evening, 04/08/17
Rebecca has seen all the other tester photos and decided that no big changes need to be made. There are a very few minor tweaks which are mainly clarifications in the instructions. As such, there is no need for me to sew a second muslin so official testing is now complete. Rebecca will make the final adjustments to the pattern and it will then go to the brand ambassadors group. I am part of this group as well, but because I’ve been a tester I have access to the pattern about a week before the brand ambassadors do. Now I can take my time sewing up my final version and getting my final pictures done.
All in all this was a very easy test to be a part of. The fit was good on version one, so testing has wrapped up a few days early.
The pattern is uploaded to the brand ambassadors (BA) group, which is run my Stephanie Tromel. Something has gone wrong with the ladies sizes! Some BA’s have printed and noticed that somehow the scale square has grown slightly. There is a short delay while this issue is fixed.
Once everything is back on track, the BA’s sew up their outfits and take their final images. Some ladies are still finding the elastic measurements to be too long, so it’s adjusted again for the final pattern. The BA’s also let Stephanie know if they find any mistakes or typos in the pattern.
I submit my final images during this time, some of which you can see below.
Saturday early morning, 2/9/17
The pattern is released! I now share my final images, provide links for people, answer any questions people might ask me, and respond to the private messages people send me about the pattern. A few days from now another tester call will be placed, and the cycle will start again.
Disclaimer – I am part of the brand ambassador group for Rebecca Page, and am also on her admin team. I have not been paid to write this blog or test this pattern and have not used any affiliate links within this blog.