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Scroop Patterns: Call for Testers for a new dress pattern

I’ve got a new Scroop Pattern ready to be tested!

The Pattern:

A timeless princess seamed dress with a deliciously swishy skirt that will make you feel like dancing every time you wear it.

It features princess seams that skim the body, with pattern pieces for Small (A-B), Medium (C-D) & Full (DD/E+) busts, front buttons, and a flattering scooped neck. View A ends at mid calf and has flutter sleeves and inseam pockets.  View B ends just below the knee, and has short sleeves and patch pockets.  Mix and match sleeves and pockets for a variety of looks. 

The dress looks beautiful in light-midweight fabrics with good draping qualities in cottons, linens, rayon/viscose, wool, and synthetics.  Suggested fabrics are rayon/viscose and cotton challis; rayon/viscose twills; tropical weight wools; lightweight wool crepe; soft linens in twill and plain weaves. 

The pattern comes in the full Scroop Patterns size range, from size 30-56, with pattern pieces for Small (A-B), Medium (C-D) & Full (DD/E+) busts


For this pattern I need testers who are low-intermediate or higher level sewers with some experience sewing buttons & buttonholes.

You will also need to:

  • be able to print patterns in A4, A0, US Letter or US full sized Copyshop paper sizes
  • have the time to sew up the item if you agree to be a tester for it
  •  be able to photograph your make being worn, and be willing for me to share your photos on this blog and instagram.
  • be able to provide clear feedback
  • be willing to agree to a confidentially agreement regarding the pattern
  • have a blog or other format where you share and analyse your sewing

I would hugely appreciate it if you would share your finished make once the pattern launches, but this is not mandatory.  I’m asking for TESTERS, not marketers.  The requirement of a blog/other review format is to help me pick testers.   I want to be able to see how you think about sewing, and that your experience level matches up to the pattern.

As always I’m be looking for a range of testers, in terms of geographical location, body type, sewing experience, and personal style.

The Timeline:

If you’re selected to test I’ll let you know and send you the materials requirements, line drawings, and the full pattern description a week from now, by 12pm NZ time on Thur the 27th of Feb (Wed the 26th for most of the rest of the world).

I will send out a digital copy of the pattern to testers a week later, before 4pm NZ time on Thur the 5th of March.

Testing & Reviewing:
Testers will have until 4pm NZ time on Thur the 19th of March (14 days, with two full weekends) to sew the dress, and respond to the testing questions.  I will need basic photos by this date, but if you want a further weekend to take better photographs I can wait until Sun the 29th of March for those.

What you get:

Pattern testers will get a digital copy of the final pattern, my eternal gratitude, and as much publicity as I can manage for your sewing.

Keen to be a tester for the dress pattern? please email me with the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Your high bust, full bust, waist and hip measures
  3. Your height
  4. A bit about your sewing experience – particularly dresses
  5. A link to your blog/Instagram/Flickr/Sewing Pattern Review profile/something else sewing-y presence
  6. A link to a sewing make with a review (so I can see how you think about and analyse your sewing)
  7. Do you have any other skills that would really make you an extra-super-awesome pattern tester?  (i.e. experience copy-editing, cat pictures to bribe me with, 😉 )
  8. Where are you located (doesn’t need to be too specific – continent, country, state, whatever you’re comfortable with).

Email me to be a tester!

If you’ve already applied to/been a tester for Scroop Patterns in the past you are welcome to just copy and paste all the info into a new email, as long as nothing has changed.

Hope to hear from you!

Gold silk dress with tiered, tasseled skirt Label- “Mrs. W. Wilds, Auburn, NY” American, ca. 1879-80, Silverman:Rodgers, KSUM 1983.1.156 ab

Rate the Dress: Tasselled fringe & gold

Last week’s dress was all sweet and serene. This week is the first full week back at Toi Whakaari: The New Zealand Drama School. All our new students have arrived, and we’re back into the swing of things. So I’m feeling a bit more dramatic. And what’s more dramatic than gold and tassels?

Last Week: a 1790s over-robe in pale pink

Most of you loved last week’s Regency over-robe, and thought it was a perfection in pink. And then some of you thought it was a bit….boring.

The Total: 9 out of 10

Still a very, very good score, but not as good as the preceding weeks.

This week: ca. 1880s tiers of tassels

This week’s dress is VERY natural-form-to-second bustle-era Victorian. Trim and textures and layers upon layers.

Gold silk dress with tiered, tasseled skirt Label- “Mrs. W. Wilds, Auburn, NY” American, ca. 1879-80, SIlverman:Rodgers, Kent State University Museum 1983.1.156 ab
Gold silk dress with tiered, tasseled skirt Label- “Mrs. W. Wilds, Auburn, NY” American, ca. 1879-80, Silverman:Rodgers, Kent State University Museum 1983.1.156 ab

The pleats and tasselled fringe and metallic embroidery and damask silk and lace are all held together by a single colour scheme: a medley of apricot and gold.

Gold silk dress with tiered, tasseled skirt Label- “Mrs. W. Wilds, Auburn, NY” American, ca. 1879-80, SIlverman:Rodgers, KSUM 1983.1.156 ab
Gold silk dress with tiered, tasseled skirt Label- “Mrs. W. Wilds, Auburn, NY” American, ca. 1879-80, Silverman:Rodgers, Kent State University Museum 1983.1.156 ab

So what do you think? Dramatic but elegantly harmonious, or tasselled tackiness?

Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10

A reminder about rating – feel free to be critical if you don’t like a thing, but make sure that your comments aren’t actually insulting to those who do like a garment.  Phrase criticism as your opinion, rather than a flat fact. Our different tastes are what make Rate the Dress so interesting.  It’s no fun when a comment implies that anyone who doesn’t agree with it, or who would wear a garment, is totally lacking in taste. 

(as usual, nothing more complicated than a .5.  I also hugely appreciate it if you only do one rating, and set it on a line at the very end of your comment

Waitangi Day Garden Party

The Governor-General’s Waitangi Day Garden Party

Or, an awkward post that combines pretty and serious about an awkward event that combines fun and fraught history

1920s dresses

Waitangi Day is NZ’s founding holiday, somewhat analogous to the American 4th of July, Canada Day, or France’s Bastille Day.

It commemorates the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840. Te Tiriti was signed by representatives of the British Crown, on one side, and Māori Rangitira (chiefs) on the other.

The British was drafted by British representatives with the intention of “establishing a British Governor of New Zealand, recognising Māori ownership of their lands, forests and other possessions, and giving Māori the rights of British subjects.” (quote taken directly from Wikipedia, as I don’t want to risk paraphrasing and getting it wrong!)

As the major legal agreement whereby non-Maori have the right to be in NZ (making us Tangata Tiriti – ‘people of the Treaty’, and Māori are Tangata Whenua ‘People of the Land’), all aspects of modern NZ law & government are considered based on whether they agree with Te Tiriti.


The Treaty of Waitangi was massively problematic right from the beginning.

First, Te Tiriti was written in two languages (English and te reo Māori) by someone who was only fluent in one (English), and the meaning differs between the two texts in some very important ways. Among others, the English version says the Māori are giving up sovereignty, the te reo version does not.

Second, New Zealand at the time was not a modern country, with a unified government. There was no paramount chief. Instead, there were hundreds of Rangitira across New Zealand, and many refused to sign the treaty.

So New Zealand’s founding document is a treaty where the two parties to it thought they were getting different things out of it, and where not all the parties on one side agreed to it.

Not surprisingly, this has caused problems over the years, and makes Waitangi Day a difficult holiday to commemorate.

The biggest commemoration is an event at the grounds at Waitangi attended by the Prime Minister. The Governor-General, the British Crown’s representative in New Zealand, does NOT attend this event. Instead they throw a garden party which any New Zealand citizen or permanent resident can apply to attend.

The garden party is usually held in Auckland one year, and Wellington the next. You enter a ballot in September, find out if you got in a month later, and have to supply your full name and that of your +1, so that they can check you out and make sure you are unlikely to be a security risk.

I’ve never entered the ballot, but thought that it would be a good thing to do as a proto-New Zealander (not a citizen but I can vote). And I got in! I asked Jenni to be my +1 as a fellow adopted-NZer.

1920s dresses

The Wellington Steampunkers have been going to the garden party in costume for years, and I know of other people who go in historical dress. Jenni & I decided to go in 1920s, because it’s subtle enough to maybe not be a costume, and would have been worn at Government House when it was young and new.

1920s dresses

Jenni wore by beloved Not-a-1-hour Dress (and looked gorgeous in it, because Jenni always looks gorgeous, and everyone looks gorgeous in it).

1920s dresses
1920s dresses

I made a new hat, which went extremely well except for the satin ribbon I used on the brim (and which is being replaced today), and an early 20s dress which fought me every step of the way, did not turn out as planned at all, and is currently being called the ‘Sad Sack’

1920s dresses
1920s dresses

Although I was very unhappy with it in the moment, I have plans of how I’ll be wrangling it into submission….

1920s dresses

The garden party is held on the large lawn directly in front of Government House. Jenni & I got lucky, and found a bench tucked off to the side of the lawn behind the food tents, out of the way and in the shade, but where you could just see the stage where the G-G would make her address.

Government House NZ,

I was very interested in the speeches: how do you balance people in pretty frocks drinking wine and tea and eating ice cream with how fraught the event really is?

The Governor-General sidestepped it by focusing her speech on the environment, and how we could use Māori principals of stewardship to care for it.

The more awkward ‘let’s talk about the actual Treaty a little bit’ (but only a very little bit) speech was left to MC Ward Kamo, who discussed the instructions Captain Cook was given towards NZ, and Lord Normanby’s instructions to Captain William Hobson that led to the Treaty of Waitangi

“The natives may probably regard with distrust a proposal which may carry on the face of it the appearance of humiliation on their side and of a formidable encroachment on ours.

These, however, are impediments to be gradually overcome by the exercise on your part of mildness, justice and perfect sincerity in your intercourse with them.

As an example of ‘let’s not be grim and ruin the mood’ political speechmaking, it was very interesting.

After speeches, Jenni & I toured what we could of the gardens, bumping in to people I knew at every turn. Apparently half of my Wellington acquaintanceship had also managed to get tickets!

1920s dresses

We admired the dahlias:

1920s dresses

I succumbed to a final Nice Block:

1920s dresses
1920s dresses

The lilies were blooming so I had to take a ‘Jenni as Clementine with the Lily’ photo (although I must note that Jenni does NOT have big feet).

Clementine with the Lily,

And then we skipped off down the garden path, heading for shoes-off, long baths, and naps:

1920s dresses

It was a very interesting event: such a snapshot of New Zealand’s fraught relationship with the Treaty.