Wednesday, May 7, 2014

My first Pattern Review Weekend!

I have returned from Austin and my first Pattern Review Weekend and it was a blast! I met some wonderful people, ate great food, saw Austin Fashion Week and Project Runway Live runway shows. 


I have been described as "hard to meet, but easy to get to know." I am not a fan of small talk and would rather get to the heart of issues in conversations. Events like this makes me nervous because I default to solitude and do not want to be perceived as standoffish.  I road-tripped and roomed with another local PR member. We met on the drive up and had such a good time. She was awesome and made my new people apprehension go away and reassured me that this was a welcoming group. 

All of the PR members I met were really great. I am sure for many of us, it is a bit surreal to be known for the garments we make. It was the ultimate ice-breaker to admire what someone was wearing and hear about their process. It was one of the few places I have been where upon meeting, people stroke, touch and closely inspect what I am wearing. It was a bit overwhelming, all positive, and I adjusted.

Here are some highlights from the weekend. 

Bill Miller Bar-b-q! They have the most juicy fried chicken EVER! There are no Houston locations so, I get some whenever I can.

Yes, I ate it all. I even got some on the way out of town.
I was fully fueled to dive into my goodie bag swag: Deer and Doe Jacket pattern; Style Arc Gore Skirt Pattern; Apples and Oranges Sewing Kit.

Bags that need no description :)

Knit fabric and mini sewing kit.
Here is a group of us at the Austin Fashion Week red carpet. 

Photo Credit: Couturesmith via Flickr
Here I am hamming it up for the camera. You can read about this dress in my review here.

We had great seats for the Austin Fashion Runway Show. That is Melissa Fleis from Project Runway across the aisle from me.

The second day was jam packed with wonderful talks and activities. Look at all the wonderful patterns laid out for the pattern swap! I am very proud to say, I brought more patterns to swap with me than I left with.

Here are the gems I nabbed in the completely civilized "take what you want" swap.

There were some moments of down time where I and others, multi-tasked listening while doing hand-work of our choosing. Here I am working on a shirt that I kept in my purse for moments like these. Deepika (PR founder), even got in on it by practicing some running stitches.

Photo Credit: Couturesmith via Flickr

Photo Credit: Couturesmith via Flickr

We enjoyed a workshop with Project Runaway and Project Runway All Stars contestant Daniel Esquivel.

After a fun-filled day, it was off to Project Runway Live. Here I am on the red carpet in a dress I made and reviewed here.

It was a fun time with great collections filled with sewing inspirations and aspirations. My favorites of the night were the collections of Daniel Esquivel and Korto Momolu. (Sorry for the lack of quality photos; my "good camera" is huge so I left it at home.)

Day three was filled with shopping and an embroidered buttons class for me. I am very proud to say, I curbed my shopping drive and purchased only a few items. We went to The Common Thread where I bought the blue and white fabrics below.

The princess fabric was purchased at Form and Fabric along with the Clara Dress pattern for the Sew News Sew-along, for which I am woefully late in participating. Both of these stores were so welcoming to our group and gave us awesome discounts on our purchases!

The embroidered button class was taught at Stitch Lab. It is what my sewing room in heaven will look like, I am sure. It is located in a quaint little converted home and is completely adorable.

Deepika is welcoming us in.
Look at all of the woven goodness.

Look at the shelf supports made from thread spools!

I seriously have that fabric and those shades on my to-do list for my sewing room! I need to get to work.
Too cute!

Rah rah rah!
I love the class projects hanging on the wall.

Love this!

Embroidery hoop wall.

Don't I know it!
I know how to embroider, but there was a class offered at Stitch Lab. I took it because, well, you can always learn something new. It was a small class (something I appreciated) and Lesley gave individual attention to everyone.

Lesley was a kind, generous, and friendly instructor.
Here is my simple class project. Embroidered covered buttons I made into hair ties for my daughter.

After class, I opted to skip more shopping. I had a delicious pizza lunch with local PR member Margret. We had good (hilarious) conversations about sexism in nursing, the fashion of Mad Men, and other great television like Orphan Black. After lunch, we window shopped along South Congress ending at Uncommon Objects an antique mall a friend insisted I visit.

Uncommon Objects boutique, Austin, Texas
Photo credit: The Guardian
We returned to the hotel to end the day with a PR cocktail party. There was a fabric show and tell, door prize giveaways, Bernina demo machines, wine and delightful frivolity.  

After chatting with Deepika and other PR members about hand-sewing, we had an opportunity for a crash course. Here she is concentrating on her stitches for reverse applique on a stenciled panel. She is a quick study and I am excited to see what she makes in time.

The final day ended with a couple of PR members and me tooling around. They 
 preferred not to attend the scheduled Gospel Brunch and since I had my car we grabbed a meal at The Blue Dahlia. It is a quaint European Bistro we stumbled upon. My companions enjoyed their meal and I enjoyed my beverage. (I did not eat there. I knew I would grab some Bill Miller's on the way out of town :p ).

From there we shopped for more fabric at Form and Fabric. Everyone in my party was thrilled to have one last chance to support this shop. My roommate got luscious Liberty of London (I think) silk at 25% off! It is so soft you just want to swaddle yourself in it and go to bed. I got the princess fabric and Clara Dress pattern I mentioned earlier. 

I really enjoyed my first PR weekend. It was great meeting people I have only known virtually or for the first time. I feel that four days were not enough. There are people I did not get to meet or with whom I spent too little time. Maybe next year!

Would I do it again and recommend it to others? Yes and yes!

You can read about other PR members experiences here.

Happy Sewing,


  1. How lovely and exciting! If there is ever a PR near me (Detroit), I will be there!

  2. I have to make it to one of these! Thanks for the detailed report - it sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. You are welcome! I really enjoyed myself; you should try to make the next one.

  3. How fun! Love the hair bands and you are definitely channeling Halle Berry in your black dress-gorgeous. I bet it was a blast to be around so many creative people. :)


    1. Thanks! Halle Berry! I'll take it!
      It was awesome to be around them. I had a good time. You need to join PR! Next year's event will be in LA...

    2. How fun would that be?! I'm also pondering Quiltcon in Austin February 19-22 next year (modern quilting convention) so ponder that too. :)

    3. I see your Quiltcon and raise you one International Quilt Festival in Houston! Oct 30- Nov. 2, 2014!
      Lots to think about :)

  4. Bianca, I am so glad you came. I had a great time chatting with you and looking forward to my next obsession - Reverse applique thanks to you!

  5. Holy geez!!!! That photo of the pattern swap is only out done by the photo of the fried chicken and fries!

    Looks like such a wonderful time! Motivation for me to try to go one of these years. Thanks for the post!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Aren't those pics drool worthy!? If you can go to a weekend, I say do, it was loads of fun.

  6. I didn't realize Bill Miller had fried chicken OMG how I love fried chicken. I will have to remember that.

    1. ;-o Oh my goodness! It is sooo good! Hubby is off for Memorial Day and I am seriously contemplating coming to Austin or San Antonio for some Bill Miller's! Yes, I will drive 3 hours to eat it for three days! Please eat a plate for me when you get a chance!