Did you read my recent blog post “Full Steam Ahead to a Creative and Productive 2014” ?
Right at the end of that post I spoke of a “secret” I would only reveal today.
At last I can now finally reveal what that “secret” project is. And its all to do with Serger Pepper, (I just love that name, don’t you? So clever. Say “Serger Pepper ” and I am instantly transported back to my youth. Ooh boy that was a long time ago. I did like the Beatles, though if truth be told I was more of a Rolling Stones fan. But still I did like the Beatles. John Lennon was my favorite. How about you, which one did you prefer? Anyway enough of this “long and winding road” … back to my “secret” project.
I am a crew member with the Serger Pepper Tester Crew. Now let me tell you, this means quite a lot to me. When the lovely Irene (MamaNene of Serger Pepper) accepted me onto her test crew, I did a jolly little dance of delight. But wait… you have no idea what I am talking about have you dear reader?
Let me explain…
The “Tester Crew” test sewing patterns for MamaNene before they are offered to the general public. Now that I have worked through my first test assignment I can honestly tell you that I am happier than ever. The crew are such a lovely bunch of girls living in Italy, Spain, America, UK, China and many other European and International places. The forty plus strong test crew are truly a global team.
So now you know what the “secret” project is, let me tell you more about it.
I will also tell you why I had to keep it a secret until today.
But more about that later.
MamaNene designs PDF Sewing Patterns for the dressmaking/tailoring market. Hence the need for a multinational, multilingual, testing crew. We (the Test Crew) make up the garments as instructed, looking for and noting any flaws in pattern design, written instruction and pattern comprehension.We offer feedback not just to MamaNene but also to each other. Some of the Test Crew are seasoned sewers. Some like me are rustier than an old pin. But that is what makes the team so great. Each of us can offer MamaNene such unique feedback that she is able if necessary to tweak her pattern design and/or instructions, before they go on sale to the public.
I can now reveal the first pattern test and my experience of testing it.
Sheer Plaid Top
Our first assignment (which we chose to accept – thankfully no self destruct button here though) was for the Sheer Plaid Top. This top is a simple sheer loose top with a roll collar cut on the bias. It is sheer. It is not plaid. Which after all doesn’t really matter. But let me tell you, I spent the best part of a week looking for a plaid material that was sheer. Alas such a thing was nowhere to be found. Nor was it to be found amongst the fabric sellers of my local market town, or my own extensive fabric hoard, or any charity shop curtain selection. No matter. In the end I settled for a multicoloured tie dyed, silk sari, that cost me £3.00 from a local charity shop.
PDF Pattern Virgin
Yes dear reader I can also shamefully reveal that I am (or was) a complete PDF pattern virgin. Let me tell you, I was so nervous my first time working with a PDF pattern. Not any more, I can say. Now I am a complete PDF Pattern groupie. I love them. Simple to use, and more importantly simple to re-use. Time and time again. Need a different size. Print another one off. Once printed, the patterns are pretty easy to assemble too.
A “Stitch in Time” and “Time Again”
The top was very easy to put together. Just two pieces plus a an extra length cut on the bias for the collar. The sewing machine had barely enough time to warm up. Before I knew it, I had a very colourful, comfortable and totally handmade new top.
I like my first sari top very much, that I made another. This one became my favourite. I left the sleeves longer on this one so as to take advantage of the pattern which ran along the edges of the material. I also wanted to take advantage of the pattern that ran along the bottom of the material as a deep hem. I cut this hem off and added it to the bottom of my top (if you see what I mean). This top is longer than the first.
This one was £3.00 too from another charity shop.
My third top was made using a “plaid” scarf. Well I had the “sheer” tops, I just had to have a “plaid” one too. This one was even quicker to put together. I wanted to keep the fringed edge of the scarf so I just made the sleeves and bottom hem as long as what was there. This also meant I had no sleeve or bottom hem to sew. Of course by using a scarf it meant that I had no spare material for the bias roll collar. Ever resourceful, I just widened the neck area a little and turned it in with a 1/4 inch edge. Worn over a jumper, “poncho” style it will be perfect when the warmer spring weather finally arrives.
The scarf I picked up for £4.00, again from a local charity shop.
So before I knew it I had made not one but three very colourful and comfortable new tops.
(Perfect for adding to my 365 Handmade wardrobe).
Oooh I nearly forgot to tell you why this project was secretly under wraps until today.
Well no designer reveals their designs until they have a launch date.
And the launch date for MamaNemes “Serger Pepper’s Sheer Plaid Top”…