Feb 15

What Happened?

Yes, it’s been a while! I got so busy doing the PR Sewing Bee, then the holidays, and then ….. Ok, here is what happened with the Sewing Bee.

Round 3’s challenge was to make the Winter Street Dress in two knit fabrics. Here is my entry, done in a puckered poly knit and a stretch faux leather.

Winter Street Dress

I added the keyhole neckline (it’s bound with the stretch faux leather), changed the front skirt pleats, added a waist yoke and changed the rear pleats to gathers. I like it and it fits perfectly.

It was good enough to bring me forward to Round 4: pants, made with a non-stretch fabric. OMG!!!! I had only made stretch leggings, yoga pants, and non-stretch pj pants before this.

I knew fit would be scrutinized so I started by trying on all the pants in my closet. I had a pair of Calvin Klein wool trousers that fit very nicely. I was going to trace them off for a pattern but noticed a small hole on one butt cheek area. Not a good area for a repair! I took the pants apart to use as a pattern for my challenge pants.

I decided to build on my very successful A-line skirt idea, this time with the idea of Pantalons (French for pants) (pants is another word for underwear in the UK so I wasn’t going to use the word on mine). I went with a street fashion style in a blue hemp canvas-type fabric from my stash. I used a Clorox bleach pen to bleach them, and a Sharpie marker to mark on them. They’re fun!

Pantalon pants

How did it all shake out? I pretty much came in 2nd. Not bad…we started with 140 entries and went down to um, 11 or 12 in the final round…that was waaay further than I thought I’d go. I won an awesome scissors set from Pattern Review, too!

Dec 14

Butterick 5891 using men’s shirts

For round #2 of Pattern Review’s Surprise Sewing Bee we were to make an adult garment using up to 5 men’s button down shirts. I chose to make Katherine Tilton’s Butterick 5891, the vest option, but with sleeves.

PR mens shirts before

These are the shirts I used. The rayon/linen blend on the right made up the majority of the garment, with pieces of the other two used as facings and embellishment. We were allowed a small amount of other fabric for embellishment also, so I used a hand dyed wool gauze to make reverse applique circles, and red silk dupioni for bias trims and a small pleated portion on the hip area.

PR mens shirt (7 of 12)


It was a blast using the mens shirts! I didn’t win this round, but the competition was fierce and I was quite pleased to be chosen to move ahead with 24 others.

You can see my contest entry here.

PR mens shirt composite

Dec 14

I won, I won, I won, I won!!!!!!!

I won

Yes! My A-line skirt won the first round of the Pattern Review Surprise Sewing Bee!!!!! There were 140 awesome entries and I am quite humbled. But I’m also quite thrilled as the prize was a box full of gift wrapped books from Roost Books, including Love at First Stitch written by this round’s guest judge Tilly Walnes. The books I received are all sewing related and are just lovely! Roost also included a big tote bag with their cute birdie logo on it. Love, love, love! Thank you Pattern Review and Roost Books!


PR books prize

Nov 14

An A-Line Skirt

Aline front

Over at PatternReview they’re running a contest called the “Surprise Sewing Bee”. Each week there is an assignment that the contestants sew up, photograph and write about. Then they are judged….and some are eliminated. This is week one, the assignment is to sew an A-line skirt, and of course I had to join in. I love entering things like this because it gets me to think outside my cozy little box.

I started off thinking of just making an A-line with something different. How about a front zip? I cut it out and went to bed. Woke up at 4:30 am thinking duh, am I thinking? It’s an A-LINE… sounds like a train route…or a subway route… remember to mind the gap.

So I cut out a denim skirt using the Maria Denmark Yasmine Yoke Skirt pattern. I like this one because it sits lower on the hips with a curved waist band. I’m very short between my waist and ribs, so normal waistbands end up binding my rib cage – ouch. Plus, this pattern has pockets – yay!

I was going to applique some train tracks on the lower hem edge but the time involved with that was just too much. Instead I found a quilting fabric from my stash that looks like tracks – black and off-white slightly squiggly uneven stripes. I made a double-sided interfaced band to extend the hem but didn’t attach it like a normal band. I hemmed the denim as normal with my coverstitch machine. Then I sewed the band inside as a second, lower layer hem. It almost looks as if it’s an extended lining (this fabric would make terrible lining fabric). With the two layers to the hem there is a “gap” as in “mind the gap”. Then to both accent this and to add further reinforcement to keep the band from turning back I used yellow 6-strand embroidery floss to make a warning line like you see at the edge of a subway platform. I used the same floss to make dashes at the pockets, too. Aline closeup

A train needs a route, so I made some bias tape with some red chambray (same fabric used for the pocket linings and waist facings). I wrote out the word A-line with the bias tape, fused it down and stitched each looong edge. It circles the bottom of the skirt – makes a complete route. The “i” is dotted with a doubled up red and white button.Aline inside

The contest requires a lining, but this pattern doesn’t include one, so I fashioned my own out of some steel grey poly lining. The lining has a rolled edge hem and is made to be the length of the denim portion of the skirt (I didn’t want the tracks part lined).Aline back

Now I know that most people looking at this won’t know what in the world it says (Aline? her name maybe?), but who cares? This was so much more fun to make than a normal skirt, and it’s one of a kind. It’s a win!Aline dog

Mar 14

The Schnittchen Iris Hoodie makes me smile

I’ve been listening to the Thread Cult podcasts lately (they are awesome). Recently the guest was Nora Abousteit, founder of BurdaStyle.com and now Kollabora.com. Kollabora is a community of designers and craftspeople sharing ideas and photos. That’s where I found Schnittchen Sewing. Schnittchen is a pattern company with easy, casual styles. They have a larger catalog on their German site, and have 10 (right now) patterns for sale on Kollabora that have been translated to English. I was immediately drawn to the Iris Hoodie (you could call me a hoodie addict).

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie


So two minutes later I was the proud owner of an Iris Hoodie pattern. I printed that baby out, taped it together got to cutting my fabric. Heaven.

Iris Hoodie instruction sheet

Instructions are adequate, and finish with a “Congratulations”!

Right now PatternReview.com is holding a New To Me Pattern Company Contest. I hee-hawed around, wondering if I was good enough to enter and decided who cares? I’m entering!

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

So here is my review of the Schnittchen Iris Hoodie for the contest entry:

1.Why did you choose this Pattern Company?

I was listening to the ThreadCult Podcast about Kollabora (kollabora.com) and how they have independent pattern designers. I took a look and was very drawn to the Schnittchen patterns from Germany. They feature comfortable, casual, easy designs. I chose the Iris Hoodie to try because I had a stretchy camo leopard print shouting at me from my stash.

2. How did you obtain this pattern? (bricks and mortar store, online, downloaded)

I downloaded it after purchasing it at Kollabora.

3. Did the pattern meet up with your expectations- ie if a PDF was it easy to print. In general was the fit as described, was the pattern a success, company easy to work with?

Yes, very easy. The pattern pieces are mainly in German, but there are English translations. The instructions are text only, no illustrations. They do have a Flickr set showing construction steps. The fit was perfect (nice length to both the main body and sleeves).

4. Was sewing this pattern more or less difficult than other pattern companies? If so, why?

A bit more difficult because of all the German on the pattern pieces. Also, the instructions note the included seam allowances three times; one time they say it is 1cm, and twice they say 0,75cm. Huh? Then on their site they say 1cm. I figured a quarter of a centimeter wasn’t going to make or break my stretchy hoodie so I went with the (easier for me) 1cm. It worked.

5. Would you buy another pattern from this company? Why or why not.

Yes, I would. I have my eyes on the Mona Jacket and Malu Coat. Once you get over the little differences the project becomes easy.

6. Would you recommend this Pattern Company?


Pattern Description:

Tunic length pullover, with or without hood.

Pattern Sizing:

Sizes 34-44. I made a 38.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, for the most part. But the instructions are minimal with no illustrations. Schnittchen has a Flickr set with photos of the hoodie construction but it’s hard to find so here’s the link:


Luckily a hoodie isn’t too hard, even for beginners.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the hood shape! It’s perfect! I’m picky about hoodies and actually have a few here with chopped off hoods that were ridiculous looking, lol. The length is fabulous for wearing over leggings. The sleeve length is nice too. Also the wide neckline is very attractive for a woman (show off that clavicle!), and the hoodie doesn’t feel like it’s choking you. It sits on the shoulders and just looks good.

My dislike is just a small style change I’ll make next time I make this. I think the bottom band should be much wider, at least as wide as the sleeve bands. I think it would be much more stylish. Of course you could also omit the band and make a straight or curved hem, or widen the sleeves, omit the bands and make a button tab for cuffing the sleeves…lots of options.

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie

Fabric Used:

A brushed stretchy sweater knit. But I turned it inside-out as I didn’t want to look too “camo-animal-print-ish”. Really, the fabric is like a camo colored leopard print. The sleeve and bottom bands are a rayon/lycra jersey.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

The pattern said to use a flat-felled seam on the seam inside the hood. I did a serged flat-lock instead. The regular flat lock stitch is on the inside of the hood, with the cute ladder stitch on the outside. I’m very happy with how that turned out (it was my first time doing that).

With my main fabric inside-out, the inside of the hood is printed (love that), and the whole inside is very cozy and warm with the brushed surface of the fabric. For the kangaroo pocket I turned some of the edges out so the print would show, but I didn’t want all of the edges to be printed. Again, the inside of the pocket is very cozy and warm.

I added a drawstring to the hood for added detail.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes! I do plan on sewing it again. Yes, I think others should try it – it’s so comfy and fun!


The Iris Hoodie is an easy and fun sew. Try it!

Schnittchen Sewing Iris Hoodie