Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pattern Stash Busting and a Win!

For the last month, I have been working furiously and ferociously sewing up patterns. I delved into my stash for patterns I have owned before January of this year, but had not sewn. All of this sewing was a part of the Pattern Review Pattern Stash Busting Contest. The prize is a Google Nexus tablet loaded with Patternade, pattern drafting software . 

When I began the contest I had a goal of creating one garment a day over the course of the month completing 30 garments in total. To me, this seemed like a manageable goal that would not interfere with my life too much. I was cranking along nicely making things I enjoyed like my whimsical button dress, my Leo Narducci jumpsuit, my three piece swimsuit and my reversible wrap skirt.  The quality of these items was good and I was really enjoying myself.

Three weeks in, I had made 23 items and was well into my goal when something unexpected happened. One morning I woke up and decided I really wanted to win. After making 23 items, I felt like I was "in for a penny, in for a pound".
My strategy shifted from sewing an item when I had an opportunity, to sewing every opportunity I had. I chose patterns that would be fast to sew, but also had some practical  use in my life. When it was all said and done, I used 51 patterns made 54 items and sewed 85.325 yards of fabric! 

All of the contestants sewed approx. 598 yards of fabric. On average, 63 sewists completed 371 projects, for an average of each person sewing 5.7 projects. The contestants made some wonderful items. Many of them from patterns I am sure to acquire. You can see their wonderful projects here in this gallery.

Sample of everyone's projects. Photo Credit Pattern Review.
You can see all the items I made here in this gallery. I apologize for the quality of the photos and imagination in items near the end of the contest. I was tired and trying for numbers :)

I am very proud of my efforts and the fact that I won this contest!   

I have been asked how I was able to sew so many items in such a short time. Here are some tips that worked for me:
  •  I sewed vintage patterns that had been cut by the previous owner, saving me from doing that chore. 
  • I pre-wash my fabric immediately after buying. I walk in the house and head to the laundry room. I can choose a fabric and get sewing right away.
  • I sewed similar colors at the same time so I didn't have to change my threads. 
  •  I used two machines and a serger. One machine threaded with a light color the other with a dark. 
  • I chose patterns that I knew I bought at an estate sale last year so I didn't have to wonder about the date of acquisition. 
  • Where possible, I made items reversible. This added versatility to the item, but also eliminated the need for hemming items like my wrap skirt. 
  • I got my kids involved in the process. My son really enjoyed pressing the foot pedal and "driving" the sewing machine. My daughter enjoyed sorting pins and buttons, choosing fabrics and exploring her pattern stash. 
  • I had the benefit of my mother in-law visiting for a time. She played with the kids while I sewed and they did not notice my absence.
  • I wrote my reviews in draft when I had some down time and updated it with photos when I completed it.
  •  I also had the benefit (and misery) of my husband being out of town for a while so I was able to get stuff done after the kids were in bed.
  • We have extensive food allergies in our home. I try to prepare meals in bulk, in advance, so we are not scrambling to find food when hungry.
Would I do this again? I don't know. I enjoyed myself so much more when I was trying to meet a personal goal. I sewed specific items because I wanted to make it from that pattern.  It became less fun and less rewarding when I decided I wanted the prize. I sewed the fast item in a pattern even if it was not the item for which I bought the pattern. 

I was also anxious about the possibility of not winning if someone chose to make only scarves or fast ponchos. These items may be completely necessary for their lifestyle, but the speed and possible variations on style may have given an advantage. I had the benefit of having kids to sew for and that was an advantage that may have discouraged some. The bottom line is this, this contest got in my head. I would not be surprised if it got in the head of others.

Now that it is over, I am so glad I have some slow hand-sewing projects in the wings. I need to organize my sewing room, but beyond a kindergarten backpack, a swap project and a few alterations, I do not want to see that room for a bit. :)

Happy Sewing,


  1. I think you did more sewing in a month then I have done in a lifetime. Amazing! Congrats on the win. That tablet and accessories sound wonderful.


    1. Thanks! It is clear to me, I have a problem!
      I also made a Batwing top from Drape Drape in the midst of it all. It was so hard not to keep sewing from those books!

  2. More than 85 yards of fabric! It boggles my mind!

    1. Mine too! It is an insane amount of fabric! I wish I could say it dented what I had. Because some items were reversible that made it more than would normally be required.

  3. Amazing! Inspirational to say the very least! You clearly deserved to win. Congratulations!

  4. Bianca!! Big congrats to you on this WIN!! Go Girl Go!!