Tuesday, November 22, 2011
PR Day 2011: Austin Style
You know how they say everything's bigger in Texas? Leslie proved it by expanding the round-the-globe 10th anniversary celebration of Pattern Review Day into a Pattern Review Weekend, Austin Style!
I asked Leslie's permission to attend ("Is Texas residency a requirement to attend? Would it be weird if a Yankee showed up?") and she responded with open arms. In fact, Kellie R from Illinois and Bonnie D from Ohio were the other out-of-staters in attendance.
Leslie volunteered to pick me up from the airport and whisked me off to Chez Zee to meet up with Roseana, Antoinette, Kellie, and Kellie's non-sewing-friend Kathleen. It was a great way to start the weekend, with lots of food and desserts, and old and new friends!
Leslie's 29 again!
Leslie and I hit up Kerbey Lane Cafe for breakfast (the only two to brave the early start of the day):
I just adore that photo of us!
Way back in March, Leslie told me about a pants fitting guru named Sonja, who was happily on the weekend agenda. I attended her pants fitting workshop with 4 other women, while another group of sewists shopped and went to a demo of various sewing machine attachments.
Here's Sonja and Leslie:
Leslie is wearing pants she made from a previous pants fitting workshop held by Sonja.
We started with a McCall's pattern, but by the end of the workshop, I had a custom-fitted pants pattern. How about that??? I'm excited about this because I have never made real pants before, so I feel like I've skipped a few hours (days?) of frustration by starting with a custom-fitted pattern. And I met mars418, aka Martha, who has commented on many of my reviews. I recognized her immediately from her picture attached to her comments, and felt like I already knew her.
Lunch was at Kerbey Lane Cafe, where both groups merged (and our waitress from the morning was still there, only a little embarrassing).
At this point I'd say there were about 20-25 women in the group. This was the first time I met Margaret (LoneStarLady), who told her story about sewing pants for toads and skirts for mice when she was a little girl...and actually dressing said toads and mice in their outfits....she is a riot and little did I know she would be my chauffeur for much of the weekend with even more stories that kept us all laughing.
That afternoon, 4 who had not done the pants fitting in the morning did the workshop with Sonja, while the remainder checked out the fabrics from April (AKA The Fabricker, who will open a storefront in January) and also went to Silk Road to buy fabric at 30% off as they will be closing soon.
Here I am with Margaret at Silk Road.
I'm in Butterick 5559, she's in a Tracy Reese pattern that she has made 4 times, if I recall correctly. Bonnie's in the background!
The library card catalog drawers are filled with zippers at Silk Road!
The button collection at Silk Road
We then headed back to the hotel (the very cool, trendy, and as Leslie promised, Project Runway-style hotel called Aloft) to get changed into our evening wear for the cocktail party and dinner at Moonshine.
I'm in Burda 7379 and Leslie is wearing her Michelle Obama outfit.
18 women and one brave man (Leslie's husband) attended the party
It was really a fantastic evening and I got to meet some more new folks. We also got a chance to introduce ourselves to the group. It was at this dinner that Leslie admonished some for not writing pattern reviews...."You're not enhancing the sisterhood if you're not reviewing on pattern review."
Oh, and the apple pie skillet with maple syrup ice cream was delish!
So Saturday morning we headed off to The Common Thread to hear Thea, an Austin stylist, talk about how to select fabric that best suits your features and coloring.
Bonnie happened to have an unexpected "family reunion" with the fabric from the shirt she was wearing!
Lots of women bought this confetti fabric:
Plenty of shopping going on
Then we headed off to Guero's Taco Bar on South Congress for a fantastic lunch. About 20 women were at the lunch.
In the afternoon we went to the Austin School of Fashion Design where owner Mary Margaret talked about many aspects of garment construction and the fashion industry. I laughed at myself as I thought we would be going to a college campus!
Austin School of Fashion Design
At this point we all split up. Margaret and I went to a Starbucks to refuel, then went shopping on South Congress where we encountered this kitty cat
I'm sure the cat celebrated PR Day in his/her own way!
Love his/her gray paw pads.
Then we headed off to the PR Day party hosted by TexStyles, a new fabric store in South Austin. It is organized by color and the fabric hangs on easy-to-handle hangers instead of unweildy bolts. Their prices are amazing too, and they have tons of knits. If the visit to this store had been earlier in the day, I think I would have bought a LOT more. (Like other PR weekends, I was feeling fabric fatigue at this point.)
I don't think I've ever been to a fabric store where the fabric was arranged by color; it's such a fantastic concept.
Here's the TexStyles gang:
(co-owner Benson, employee Heather, co-owner and male model Markhollan). Leslie is about to give away the PR book to the person who most recently learned to sew. There was also a prize for the person who spent the most $$ (who I think was Heather with $600 spent for the weekend!)
It was 80 degrees out so the party was indoor/outdoor, with generous outdoor seating. I'd estimate there were close to 40 people in attendance. The TexStyles guys know how to throw a party--there was a live band, and "light nibbles" (as Leslie referred to it) too!
There was celebratory carrot cake!
and cupcakes (I had a chocolate one which was delish--like my mom makes--real ingredients!)
It was the first PR weekend I've been to with a male model:
Do you like chest hair?
Benson had swag bags for each of us, and the later you stayed, the more free stuff you got! I have several cards of stretch lace now, woot! And he announced an amazing sale on fabric in the middle of the party, that essentially meant the fabric I had my eye on earlier on was now only $5 a yard--good things do come to those who wait! (I can also say I've never fabric shopped at 10pm before...til this party!)
For me, this shop best suited my fabric needs since it carries SO many quality knits at great prices, and if I lived in Austin, this would be A Very Dangerous Place For Me (and my credit card).
Somehow I didn't get a picture of me in my NewLook 6071 dress, nor a picture of me with Antoinette in her teal Vogue dress, sigh.
We stopped for a quick picture in the lobby in the morning...
Betty (cyclegirl), me in Simplicity 2406, Bonnie, and Leslie
....then we headed off to the home of designer Juliette Kimes, who lives in the Hill Country of Texas. I doubt I ever would have seen the Hill Country if it were not for her generous invitation to have brunch at her gorgeous home that looks like a movie set. It's at the end of an unpaved road and has a gate to contain her 3 donkeys!
Juliette showed us some of her collection
and we skyped with Deepika, founder of PatternReview.com
Hi Deepika! Happy Anniversary!
Then we walked to Juliette's fantastic sewing studio
She has a lighted cutting table...
...and 3 machines (including the BabyLock serger that threads itself, and a top-of-the-line Bernina embroidery machine)
She stores her fabric stash on hangers, great idea!
Then Juliette rang the bell and we got to feed her three donkeys:
Benson feeds carrots to the donkeys
I got in on the action too
Look at that face!
But then it was time to say goodbye, and head back to Austin. Leslie dropped me off at Antoinette's house.
We went to Lick, Austin's newest ice cream joint
Just make sure you get the cow in the photo....
Love their signs:
We also went to two trendy clothing stores and ate dinner before sadly parting ways.
Here are 3 of the 5 dresses I wore this weekend
Here's the fabric I bought during the weekend
From left to right, 2 yds navy blue sweater knit and 1 yd blue/white striped knit from TexStyles, and 3 yards of deep teal stretch corduroy from The Common Thread. Who knew I'd have to go to Texas to find stretch corduroy?? Thanks to Antoinette for volunteering to ship it back for me!
Unpictured: buttons I bought at Silk Road and elastic I bought at TexStyles. I spent $100 total over the weekend.
So to Leslie, I say thank you for organizing the weekend! You are a fountain of incredible and organized energy (and you are a brave, brave woman to take this on)!
To the volunteers, especially Margaret: Thank you for your help in making this weekend run smoothly, and for carting me all over Austin
To the vendors: Thank you for your freebies and support of this event. They are greatly appreciated.
To those who tweeted with me (using the #prday2011 hashtag): I loved reading your real-time accounts of your events, like the snow that cut PR day Minneapolis short, the cool pincushion that the Ontario folks made, and reading about the Boston fashion show).
And to Deepika: Thank you for founding PatternReview.com. It's an amazing resource and has changed my life!
Check out Leslie's packet for PR Weekend Austin here.
Read about PR weekend highlights from around the globe here