Monday, May 16, 2011

Sewing Pattern Weekend 2011 Chicago: A retrospective

Soooo glad I took this week off from work. I can rest, recover, and sew from PR weekend Chicago 2011!  It was so great to see Jacqui, Connie, Leslie, Kathy, Elizabeth, and many others I've met before at PR weekend Philly, the American Sewing Expo in Novi, those who have commented on my blog or my reviews but I never met before like Rose, and many new (to me) sewists as well.   More people read my blog than I ever thought possible (asking me about my orchids, my cooking, my back, though the funniest moment for me was when we just got off the bus and Andrea says, loudly, "Kyle, I want to talk to you about your bag and your underwear."  Those who didn't know me, what were they thinking?!)

Friday was shopping day! We were in two groups of 50 each. For my group we took the bus for the first half of the day, then took the El back to Chicago:
on the way to the yellow school bus to go shopping!
We hit up New Rainbow Fabrics, Fishman's Fabrics and the smaller Vogue Fabrics (some referred to it as "Little Vogue" which I loved). I didn't take any pix there. Spent a lot of time in New Rainbow buying eyelet and elastic I can't easily get in the Princeton area.

Then it was back on the bus to Soutache Ribbon. What a great boutique ribbon store!  Plus feathers, buttons, and my good friend piping
ribbon at Soutache ribbons

Ribbon wreaths; may have to make one of these sometime:

Display at Soutache ribbon

Here I am with my bag of Soutache purchases (several clearance ribbons):
me at Soutache ribbons

Ody and Brenda.  Brenda bought a cowhide at Fishman's which was the talk of the shopping trip.
Ody and Brenda at Soutache ribbon; Brenda bought a cowhide earlier that day

Then it was on to the Vogue Fabrics flagship store:
Vogue Fabrics flagship store in Evanston, IL
How did I not take any pix inside this store, I don't know, but it's HUGE. Plus we got goodie bags there and learned about the history of Vogue Fabrics!

Like PR Weekend Philly, I experienced fabric fatigue while in Vogue.  I bought one piece there, and a lot of appliques for underwear!

After an El ride back to the dorm, we went to the Berghoff for dinner.  I didn't take any pix there but I had a great time talking to more sewists!  By this point the weather had turned very cold and windy.  The Windy City is not a misnomer!

Jacqui and I posed with our Alexander Henry "perfect pattern" fabric; she made an iPad cover and I made a little tote bag.  I bought the fabric at Stitch Lab in Austin, TX; she bought hers where she works at Pink Chalk Fabrics (just 2 yards left as of 10:30am EST this morning).  I made my bag out of half a yard of fabric (it's lined in a canvas-type fabric).  I previously blogged about it here.
Jacqui and her iPad cover; me and my bag

Angela Wolf, couture designer and avid fisher (love that combo!) was our speaker for the day; she presented couture techniques in the morning and fabric dying techniques in the afternoon. She is a very energetic, enthusiastic, and fun speaker to listen to. I enjoyed how she shared her mistakes and her successes with us, and answered every question including how much she sells her garments for and every detail about fabric dying. She told us she makes everything except her underwear so I later told her about making my own panties using Antoinette's tutorial on making underwear out of a t-shirt. Angela wanted to know where to buy the elastic; I buy mine on Antoinette's recommendation from  I forgot to mention the great color selection they have!  (ETA:  OMG: Now Angela is following me on twitter!)

Here are a bunch of pre-lunch pix from Sat morning. Here's Jacqui, me, Leslie:
Before lunch on Saturday

I'm totally wanting to make Leslie's burnt orange top and Connie's gray tunic.
Before lunch on Saturday

Before lunch on Saturday

We hit up the Chicago Fabric Button and Yarn Co over lunch:
In line at Chicago at Chicago Fabric Button and Yarn Co

In line at Chicago at Chicago Fabric Button and Yarn Co

That evening was the PR 10th anniversary Pizza Party, including a huge pattern swap, prizes for purchasing various items during the weekend (favorite moment, when Tina asked if someone bought anything with a cow on it, and Brenda said "I bought a cow").

Thank you to the three kind souls who voted for my name badge holder.  Connie won "most popular".  Hers was gorgeous and three dimensional (first column, third row)
Show your PR love name tags

PR anniversary cake:
PR 10 year anniversary cake!

Tina, fearless organizer of this weekend, in her *adorable* corn husk costume:
Tina in her corn husk costume

I wish I had taken a picture of Kathy in NM wearing her very fabulous tab collar dress but I didn't.  :(  I ordered the discontinued pattern right away off ebay in the dorm room!

Sunday some of us braved the cold and rain to walk back to Fishman's Fabrics for the Proclamation from Illinois Lt Gov Sheila Simon (others took cabs--not a bad idea at all!).
Fishman's wasn't going to be open for shopping but they changed their minds and we shopped!

me and Jacqui at Fishman's fabrics

shopping at Fishman's before the proclamation

shopping at Fishman's before the proclamation

I'm totally loving Kitty's dress; definitely want to make it soon!
Kitty and her Project Runway dress that I totally want to make

Then it was time for the proclamation.
Deepika, Lt Gov Sheila Simon, and her husband:
Deepika giving Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon an honorary Friends of PR membership

Sheila made her outfit that she's wearing and her husband's shirt. She said she knew we would appreciate how the placket lines up on her husband's shirt; Tina later pointed out the shirt also had pockets! Great job Sheila!

I like this picture since you can see the camera guy:
Camera guy, Sheila and her husband

Here you can see Angela Wolf (seated in white jacket), Tina (in pea green) and other sewists looking on:
Angela Wolf, Tina Wong and other sewists watch the proclamation ceremony

Here's Sheila's inauguration suit:
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's inauguration suit
and her inauguration gown (her hot tip: sew pleats in the fabric first before cutting it out--that way you know exactly where the pleats are!)
Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon's inauguration gown

Afterward she came around and shook hands with all of us! Asked us our names and where we are from.  Very cool.

After a yummy brunch at a very cool little place, it was off to the airport and home.   Though if you follow me on twitter, you know it wasn't easy...

Oh, and here's the dorm, a little monastic but it was fine.  I work at a university but am never in that close proximity to so many students!  They must have thought we were OLD.
the dorm room

Overall, a great weekend.   I spent around $150 all said and done on fabric, elastic, ribbon, appliques.  The light fabrics have already been through the washer; the one piece of knit is going through the washer and dryer a second time and I expect to make a pair of underwear from it today with a Vogue applique!  I haven't taken pix of the fabric I bought, nor the PR goodie bag which was top notch!

Thank you to Deepika, Tina, and the entire Chicago volunteer team for a rockin' weekend!

More resources for this weekend:
PR weekend on twitter
PR weekend Flickr group
ETA Tina just posted the link to the video from the proclamation

OH, and today I'm the featured member on PR; I need to update my photo and profile!
Be well!!!


  1. Stuck on the tarmac and STILL you write a great post! I was so glad to be able to spend more time with you this weekend- you are one awesome friend!!

  2. Great write up! Sounds like you had a great weekend, no wonder you need a rest now!

    Also congratulations on being SPR's "featured member"!

  3. It was so nice to hang out with you again Kyle. And how cool that you are the featured member today. I promise I had nothing to do with it. Really!

  4. It looks like everyone had a great time! Which pattern did Kitty use for her dress?

  5. That's Andrea for you! She had already told me the previous weekend her plans to talk to you! Hope I can meet up the next time!

  6. Whata fabulous trip. Thanks so much for this delightful report and wonderful pictures. PR peole are the best!

  7. Great review of the weekend! So good to see you again. It was soo much fun!

  8. I'm sorry I came at you that way, but I have a one track mind sometimes. You were on my list of people that I had to talk to and there was no stopping me. I had to find out about your underwear and the preview shots of your handbag were too enticing.

    It was great talking to you, and you've given me lots of inspiration. I loved the sequin bananas and can't wait to see the pair you put them on.

  9. Yay! I'm glad you remembered to take so many pictures because I always forget to. I was so glad to see you again. I really hope we can meet up next year, too. PS - I forgot to get your pattern numbers!

  10. I don't know what I would do if I saw that much fabric in one place! Looks like a great time! I would love to make it to one of these events some day. Thanks for sharing.

  11. I have fabric fatigue just looking at the pics! Sounds like a really wonderful weekend. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the update!

  12. Hi Kyle. Glad you had a great weekend in Chicago. You and I purchased the same fabric from Vogues.


Thank you for reading! I love hearing from you! Because I've been getting lots of spam comments, I'm changing the settings to moderated comments.