accessory contestPattern Review Weekend 2016 – Chicago
I just returned home from an amazing 3 day weekend with my sewing people.   15 years ago, a new sewer, computer programmer decided to create a gathering space for sewing folk.  Today the site has over 400,000 members across the world.   I will admit I am not an every day user of the website, sometimes I think I go months or years at one point without using the site.  And yes, there are prettier sewing gathering sites out there but none with the history and the knowledge base of Pattern Review.  But that is another topic, another day.

Deepika, the founder of Pattern Review, often gets the question – “You are going to meet people you only know from the internet?” Responding ” Yes, I am!”    I read a recent quote from Google shopping Vice President Jonathan Alferness:  “We don’t just go online, we live online.”  Pattern Review Weekend is about melding our online fabric friendships into physical hugs, shared shopping and food and drink.

And here is the thing I really love.  These are people with all different backgrounds,ages,  professions,geographic locations, political views, and  sewing experience levels.  And they all come together in a shared love for creating garments, quilts, accessories and all things creative.    You attend one of these weekends and you know you have found your tribe.  You expect your clothes to be fondled, fabrics petted, to know what pattern you are wearing, the source of your fabric and other questions non sewers would never think to ask a person they just met.

Pattern Review weekends (this was my 2nd), are unlike other sewing conferences.  The goal of Pattern Review Weekend is to make new sewing friends, and to shop for fabric with others that share your passion.  Each year the format is slightly different and the event is held in a different location.  This year the location was Chicago and the first main day was devoted to a question and answer session with a panel of independent pattern makers.  The panel included Angela Wolf from Angela Wolf Pattern Collections , Jennifer Beeman from Grainline Studio, Janet Pray from Islander Sewing Systems, and Emilie Fournier of Jalie Sewing Patterns.   Their insight into the business of pattern making made for a tremendous learning experience.  Pattern Review Weekend always includes a pattern swap, a goodie bag filled with sewing sponsor products, and fabric shopping.

This year in celebration of the 15th year of Pattern Review, there was an accessory contest.  The guidelines were that you could include the number 15 somewhere in any type of accessory you wanted to make.  I decided to go all out and made a custom buckram hat (with 15 of the PR logo people and 15 red millinery dots); leather and sewing spool earrings, and espadrilles decorated with 15 of the PR logo people in heat transfer vinyl.  And to round out the outfit, the weekend logo applied to a purchased tshirt.    I did win the grand prize, a set of KAI  sewing scissors.

Next year, PR Weekend will be held in New York.  Details will be available in early 2017.  Generally, it has been the weekend in May right after Mother’s Day.  So save your pennies for New York fabric shopping and a fabulous weekend with “your people”!!  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

To read Deepika’s blog review with more info and pictures, click here.   Pattern Review is a fremium site, as in you can sign up for either a free or a paid membership.  Try it out today, it is my go to source before I sew ANY pattern or buy ANY sewing machine.  Because when you can read other’s experiences, see photos of sewing patterns on real people, you can make great decisions.

I am off to work on my reviews of patterns for garments I made in the last few weeks.   Because even though my sewing isn’t perfect, my pictures may not be award winning, sharing my experiences in how a pattern fit, the directions and my modifications might help someone else. Then I am going to break out my KAI scissors on my next project.

Markita Hall-Gumble

 

 

 

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