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The Sarah Shirt - pattern tester versions!

We've said it before and we'll say it a million times - we wouldn't get very far without our pattern testers. Anyone who's ever put together a sewing pattern for public release, or indeed anything that requires checking over multiple times before being legitimately sellable, will know how tedious things can get at the end. Checking that all the line weights and notches are correct, reading through the instructions for the umpteenth time looking for typos and wondering if any of it even makes sense (phrases like "with right sides together" start to lose all meaning very quickly!)... You can see how a fresh pair of eyes (or 20 fresh pairs of eyes) can not only spot errors that we long since became blind to and help us to clarify the instructions for maximum ease of sewing, but also gives us a much needed break from testing and checking before we make the final tweaks and edits and release our new baby into the world.

The best part of having pattern testers is, of course, seeing the first versions of a new pattern being made up by people other than ourselves! It's then that all our hard works feels like it's paying off, inspiration coming flooding in in leaps and bounds as we see, through their eyes, the true potential of a new design. Without further ado, here are the lovely, talented and eagle eyed ladies who tested Sarah...


We are all over florals for this undeniably feminine pattern, and Anja's mint green Japanese blossom style blouse is like candy for our eyes. 

Blogs at Thread & Needles

Instagrams @gallomane



Braving the cold, but so elegantly so, Ashley's blue batman / red lips combo is 100% win in our books!

Blogs at Sewn by Ashley

Instagrams @sewnbyashley


Elena Rosa

Chic, refined and effortless. We wouldn't have expected anything less from Elena Rosa.

Blogs at Randomly Happy

Instagrams @randomly_happy



Enough about the Sarah Shirt, can we please just take a moment to talk about how jealous we are of Janene's perfect hair stripe?? Making me wish I could pluck out all of my very spread out greys and strategically plug them back in... 

Blogs at Ooobop

Instagrams @ooobop



At first glance, you have a classic blush silk georgette blouse. Stunning. Look a little closer and you'll spot Jenny's subtle contrasting collar! Unexpected perfection.

Blogs at Ms Jenny Homemaker

Instagrams @msjennyhomemaker



Demonstrating Sarah's true swingability is Karen, and proving that this pattern can also look fabulous in a floaty lightweight cotton. My sources tell me she's contemplating a paisley peachskin Sarah next.... Yummmmm.

Instagrams @bobbinandbuttons



The lady behind all of the technical drawings and diagrams in the Sarah Shirt instruction booklet, special thanks go to Katie for all her work and patience - I may or may not have asked her to change something fairly major in the instructions at the very last minute based on a dream I had about the placket... Anyone else dream in sewing??

Blogs at What Katie Sews

Instagrams @whatkatiedoes



The very first finished Sarah we saw (other than our own of course), was this one. And it was exactly how we had hoped and dreamed it would turn out, if not better. Squeals and high fives all round!

Blogs at The Wardrobe Project

Instagrams @thewardrobeproject



In true Oona fashion, Marcy went full steam ahead in the loudest Liberty print there ever was, hacked up the collar and tied that baby up at the waist. I for one can't wait to see her styling this up with a pair of her Birkin Flares!

Blogs at Oonaballoona

Instagrams @oonaballoona



Scored at Fabrics Galore, this trans-seasonal floral silk challis Marianna chose could not have been more perfect for Sarah. Soft and drapey - and just look at that peachy sheen in the sunlight!

Blogs at Sew2Pro



Reminding us that matching lipstick is always a good plan, Najah's super-ladylike super-swingy Sarah teamed with casual blue jeans and a pristine up-do is how we want to be dressed every single day.

Blogs at Wanna Be Sewing Something

Instagrams @wannabesewingsomething


Natasha Jane

Paisley is back! And it certainly doesn't have to look like 80s kids TV presenter, that's for sure (do it Karen, do it!). The delicate motifs and classic colours has us conjuring up images of Natty-Jane frolicking on rickety bridges over babbling brooks with a wicker basket full of woodland flowers... That's totally accurate Natasha, riiight?!

Blogs at All Dressed Up And Nowhere To Go

Instagrams @nattyjanesews



One of the most detailed and thorough pattern test reports I've read to date came from this lovely lady. A natural born teacher, I suspect Portia spent all her time marking and making notes, leaving very little time to actually finish sewing! I can tell you that she chose the most beautiful brandy butter coloured dotted Swiss voile and even with just the one sleeve, it looks beautiful.

Blogs at Makery

Instagrams @portialawrie



I'll let you in on a little secret - one of my main inspirations when dreaming up the Sarah Shirt was mid-century maternity styles. So you can imagine how it makes my heart sing to see Sarah Grey - now 6 months pregnant - rocking her animal print blouse!

Owner of Grey's Fabric & Notions (soon to be evolving into Mercer's Fabric)

Instagrams @greysfabric



Insanely talented for her tender years, and exactly how she managed so graciously to fit pattern testing in between a busy exam schedule is beyond me! Understandably, she hasn't had the time to take any official pictures of her finished Sarah, but having seen the late night selfies that accompanied her feedback, I can vouch for it's loveliness!

Blogs at Adventures of a Young Seamstress

Instagrams @youngseamstress



Another innate pattern hacker, the raw collar-less edge of Sharadha's otherwise sugary sweet Sarah lends the perfect rebellious twist. That, and those buttons! And did you see how she made the cuffs into cuff-link style French cuffs? Can you tell how much we love this one??

Blogs at Sweet Shard

Instagrams @sweetshardxo



Proving that maybe this isn't the most ideal pattern for snow days (sorry Sophie!), but that it is in fact just as cute tucked in as it is billowy and loose. We love how Sophie has styled up her Sarah for work, date night and casual Sundays.

Blogs at Sophie Bach

Instagrams @sopba



Looking like a total boardroom fox is one of our first sewing blogger crushes from way back in the early days of BHL - wonderful Winnie, or as you may also know her, The Scruffy Badger. Not so scruffy right now, Winnie, and wouldya check out those seams?!

Blogs at Scruffy Badger Time

Instagrams @scruffybadgerti


Don't forget, our Sarah Shirt Sewalong starts on Friday 19th February! If you like your instructions a bit more in-depth, or you're apprehensive about sewing a shirt, then we'll be here to hold your hand every step of the way over the coming weeks. So if you haven't already, head to our pattern shop to buy and download your Sarah Shirt pattern! 

Comments on this post (3)

  • Mar 14, 2016

    I’m thrilled to find this pattern! Such a lovely looking loose blouse that I won’t need to adjust to fit my “extreme”, short waist, pear shape. Both sleeve versions are gorgeous too! I love all of the pattern tester’s versions. Will make the long sleeve version first as it coming into Autumn weather down here.

    — NellyPoppy

  • Feb 17, 2016

    It is nice to see all the pictures from the pattern testers. It makes me want to sew one for myself. They all did a great you, but I love Sharadha version.

    — My Handmade Space

  • Feb 17, 2016

    Ok! I’ll make a start on the paisley one tonight. X

    — Karen

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