I consider By Hand London's Polly Top to be my first "grown up" make. It's got serious flaws (curly fries, ahem, bindings anyone?) and I made a comedy of rookie errors ("It says it's for wovens, but I'm sure this paper-thin jersey will work too, right?"). But I still like it because it's bright, soft, and my true Firstborn.

To be honest, I didn't treat it as my true firstborn at the time. I thought "Well I've made some refashions, that patternless skirt, and a few other silly things (a knit pillowcase. don't ask). So surely I already Know Stuff. How hard can learning the rest be?" (Ha ha ha!). I did realize that the fact I'd never laid eyes on an actual sewing pattern was a problem. So I downloaded a tiered skirt Burda pattern, taped it, and screamed! What in the world was that??? It didn't make ANY sense! So I did what I always do when things don't make sense. I went to school. I signed up for a 3-session sewing class. It was not a good experience, but I did learn one thing: how to read and, most importantly, appreciate, the pure genius that are sewing patterns. And for that I am forever grateful! 

 
 
A couple of months ago, Heather of Closet Case Files issued an open call for pattern testers for her upcoming (then) mystery pattern. I was so excited, and impressed, because it was the first time I'd seen such a call. Unlike most big indie pattern designers who seem to primarily rely on other big indie pattern designers for testing (causing a big controversy and even accusations of cliquey-ness and of pattern testing being a front for free publicity), Heather has stated her commitment to using testers of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels. I.e. regular people who have nothing to lose by being brutally honest. Brave move! And now she was making good on that promise! There was a short web form to apply through and a few weeks later I was ecstatic to get a testing invitation. If I had to guess, I'd say she probably picked me because I'd only made a few things ever and she was curious how a complete beginner would fare with her new pattern. So was I!