PatternReview Anniversary

Last weekend I was down in Austin for the PatternReview shindig so ably planned and managed by Leslie in Austin, and returned home so exhausted (and happy!) that it took the week to recover and get to this blog entry.

I met so many wonderful seamstresses whose work I look forward to following on PR and anywhere else I can track them down! There were a total of 40 people who participated in at least some of the events.

And they were super duper events. A pants-fitting workshop, a very timely class at Sew Much More demonstrating some hems and specialized feet, fabric trunk show by Fabricker with some really exciting stuff, shopping at The Common Thread where everything was sooo elegant, a visit to Silk Road, and unexpected finds at Stitch Lab. And the social events – we had a fabulous celebratory dinner on Saturday Night, with space and cocktail hour sponsored by Sew Much More, which really added to the festivities, and gave us all an excuse to wear our fun party clothes! Fabricker contributed to our dinner, too. Texstyles gave us a patio party the following night and everyone loaded up on their extremely well-priced knits. Texstyles also gave away fabric for a Project Runway type challenge, so I’ll be looking for the results.

I was a slacker in the picture-taking department, so all I can show is what I bought.

The versatile confetti knit came from The Common Thread, and we bought every inch they had. I think most of the ladies in our group bought some of this fabric and it’s going to be so much fun to see what each person turns it into.

From left to right, starting with the dark blue:

Blue linen/cotton blend from Fabricker

Beige/Taupe stretch cotton and taupe linen from Silk Road

Retro cotton voile from Stitch Lab. I loved the 30’s style colors in that print, and the hand is lovely. Common Thread also had some beautiful voiles.

This is a very special find from Stitch Lab. The fabric on the top is from my mother’s cedar chest. There is only a small piece, and it’s quite brittle, especially where it was folded. I wanted to do something with it, but am a bit afraid to work with something so fragile, and would be very upset if I ruined it.

Check out the fabric below! The very same print, just slightly different colors. It brought tears to my eyes when I saw it. How often do you weep in a fabric store? Stitch Lab had a bolt and several remnant bundles of this fabric (and several other sewing-themed prints). I am so glad to have this. It can be used for sewing-room decor, and the original can be preserved unharmed.

I made up a couple of unique sewing-related items for door prize gifties. If you have a stitcher on your Christmas list, or if you would like to gift youself, I put these up in a Cafe Press store. The store itself is under construction and doesn’t look as pretty as it will someday….steep learning curve there….but the items are available and I’ll be adding more.

Check these and other products out at Mooney Designs! I’d love to hear what you think about them. (At the shop, scroll down below the Dachshund Christmas cards to get to the sewing stuff.)


a trip to the Martha Market

Martha Pullen puts on a sewing expo in Arlington every year and I’m always glad because we don’t get much of that sort of thing around here. I’m also glad that Louise Cutting participates in this show, because her booth and classes are always the highlight for me.

This year I took a class with her in which we made the vest from Discover Something Novel. There were little kits all prepared for us that included the pattern and an assortment of fabrics (this pattern lends itself to creative color blocking or mixing of fabrics). I chose ye olde black-white-red combo. Class included stitchers with all levels of experience and I have to hand it to Louise, she made sure that everyone got lots of personal attention. Big thumbs up. I could have finished my vest if I had been working on a familiar machine, but Baby Lock supplied machines and sergers for the class and I spent a little time figuring out some details like needle position and such. This was also my first serger experience. I’ll write more about that below…right now I want to get some pictures up near the top of this post!

Here’s the sample DSN vest from the class. It was made up in lightweight batik cottons, all with delicate color contrasts except for the one accent piece. This is Sandy’s piece, and she had quilted it to a lightweight kind of silky backing – about like organza but it didn’t feel as crisp. The quilting was in vertical lines with colored thread, and it really added something extra to the garment.

Sandy also gave a White Shirt class, with lots of suggestions for switching up a pattern and adding details gleaned from other sources. Some photos:

Above shows a double collar and a vertical pocket inserted into a front placket. Seam allowances for the collars are sandwiched in between them, so there’s no need for facings.

I forget which pattern this was – maybe A Subtle Twist – with a scrunch collar added on. The sample fell very gracefully, and I want to try this sometime with a lightweight, drapey fabric. My neck is not long enough to handle a collar like this in crisper fabrics.

The pictures below are of sample garments from the booth…Anything But Ordinary

Nifty embellishment bands on A Subtle Twist

All – black DSN vest with interest in surface contrasts and the placement of the stripes.

The Ebb top from Ebb & Flow

Of The Moment jacket. I haven’t made this and wondered what to wear it with – looks like a good time to try one of those scrunch collars.

These are the fabrics I bought! From top left: rayon (that I am cutting out today for the Relax A Little top), blue cotton, and one of the fab Japanese cottons. I also picked up a few of the Cutting Line patterns that I don’t already have, including the new One Seams. That re-issue was timely for me, since I had made up my mind to replace my old copy. I bought it before I knew that it was smart to trace patterns, so it is tattered and sliced and I wanted to have a clean base copy. Also the new details are worth having.

On the serger — I’m not sure I would use it for anything other than seam finishing. I’m a real miser when it comes to spending money on machines and gadgets, preferring to spend the money I have on fabrics. But maybe a low-cost machine dedicated to seam finishes? It would sure make projects go faster! I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether a cheap machine would be a total waste of money. There’s a basic Brother that’s easily available and gets solid, although not raving, reviews.