Pattern Review Weekend 2016: Chicago!

5:26 PM

It's been a week since my first Pattern Review Weekend - which won't be the last! PatternReview is a long-standing sewing community, and one that I joined early on when I started sewing again. I enjoy the relaxed vibe and all the learning opportunities it provides. So when the 15th anniversary celebration in Chicago was announced I knew I had to go.

Deepika's iPhone snap of us all at PR Weekend

It was so much fun. Lots of fantastic people, good food and of course fabric shopping! It's the first time I've ever been to Chicago, so I really enjoyed the visit and the chance to get a good look at the city. We were staying downtown, so I got to walk along the river and see the Bean, and I took a short busman's holiday to the Harold Washington Library as well (in company with one of the other lovely ladies at PR Weekend). I'm glad I got to take a look; there is more about that visit on my book blog if you are also interested in libraries.

Many attendees made red jeans (that's what sparked my own Eleonores) and we were quite eye-catching as a flock of fabric shoppers :)  It was easy to pick one another out in a crowd.

The first morning we had a fascinating panel of Indie pattern designers -- Janet Pray, Emilie Fournier from Jalie, Jen Beeman from Grainline, and Angela Wolf -- talking to us about their work, and dispensing advice to those thinking of designing, which essentially seemed to be: know how to draft & design really well, and be prepared for lots and lots of hard work. I was really intrigued by all of their stories and the patterns they were selling as well. I feel like I know a little more about what my favourite indie designers are doing as they put out more patterns for us to try!

We also had a pattern swap that day, which I enjoyed...obviously....

I did buy about 10 of these...
 And we held an accessories contest. I made my first pair of gloves ever, using Butterick 6264. One of the challenges in the contest was to incorporate the number 15 in celebration of the anniversary. I immediately had an idea for a decorative motif using the roman numerals for 15, XV. And I used scraps of a deep red ponte from this Vogue 9022, along with a contrast leopard print from this Butterick 5923. This was the result: I  call these my Roman Gloves.

And luckily enough, I won one of the prizes for my gloves! I now own a Curve Runner, a cool measuring device that I'm sure will come in handy in future.

Deepika's picture of the 5 accessories contest winners
And then of course we had the shopping. I restrained myself somewhat, as the US exchange is pretty terrible for us Canadians right now, but couldn't help buying a few things! Most of my Chicago fabrics came from Vogue Fabrics - a huge and fabulous store. I also picked up the latest Threads and BurdaStyle there so that we had some reading material on the way home. I got one piece at the tiny, crowded Chicago Yarn & Button near our hotel as well.

And I picked up many bits of embroidery project materials as I went...oh, the possibilities.

The best part of the weekend was meeting all these fabulous women who I have only known online up til now. So great to talk sewing with people who are actually interested ;) Can't wait til next year's PR Weekend.

I'll leave you with a photo that isn't exactly sewing related but was one of my favourite street view snaps I took on the walk over to Chicago Yarn & Button. I feel like it says everything.

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  1. So sorry I missed meeting you. So happy you had a wonderful time. Your gloves are amazing! Congratulations on the win, you deserved it.

    1. Thank you! They were a tough sew, but I'm pleased with them as a first attempt :) Wish we could've met up as well.

  2. You went?! So lucky!!!! It looked amazing :)

    1. It was my first time going to a PR Weekend - I recommend it - a lot of fun indeed! Next year in New York....

  3. I heard about the PR shindig in Chicago AFTER the fact!! I'm still pouting about it. Glad you enjoyed our city!!

    Chicago Y&B is one of those hidden secrets downtown. Most people don't know it's there and are surprised to learn of it. It's tiny, but he has a lot of stuff, and he seems to know a lot about fabric.

    1. Oh, darn! I didn't realize you were a Chicagoan as well. It's too bad you weren't there too!! Yes, I found Chicago Y&B quite fun to shimmy through sideways & discover neat stuff :)

    2. Sometimes it's like an archaeological dig of fabric and trims. I found some gorgeous trim there that had to be at least a decade or so old. I'll eventually get around to taking photos of it to post. :p

  4. I am sure it was a lot of fun, particularly to meet people who you have known online only. Looks like you have some great fabrics to sew up also. You will like the curve runner!

    1. Yes it was fun! Just finished my work-in-progress from before I left and am eyeing the stack to decide which one to sew up first..... :)

  5. Happy to have met you IRL! See you next year!


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