Sewing Bee Round 4, Part 2: Named Saraste top and Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans

Now to the second part of my final Sewing Bee outfit! As I mentioned in the first post, the theme for this round was to make an outfit for a post-pandemic event or activity and my immediate choice was to fly back to Scotland and party it up with my friends and family, who I haven’t seen for a while. I knew I only had 4 days to make the whole thing, so to have any chance of completing it and not just making, say, a t-shirt for the final, I had to take a guess at what the final round would be. As it turns out, I was very close ( a few of us had guessed it would be something like this) and so I had a little headstart as I’d already decided on my theme and inspiration. I still made a few changes before and during the construction process, but my rough plan was to:

  • Make a three-piece outfit inspired by the landscape of Scotland
  • Make an outfit that would be suitable for the plane journey home and then as a party outfit on arrival
  • Make something wearable that would fit in my wardrobe
  • Try to use stash fabrics
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New outerwear: Ottobre Ruth raincoat for Round 3 of Pattern Review Sewing Bee

Rarrrrr! I’m back from Spring Break and it’s time to catch up on some blog posts. As you may or may not have been following, I’ve been sewing in the annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee. I entered for the first time this year and as of the time of writing this, have just submitted my entry for the final round – Round 4. We find out who wins this week I think but I am 99.99% sure it won’t be me. I think my final round outfit was pretty cool, but there are some truly amazing creations in the gallery. Check them out here if you have time and are interested. Also, here are my entries for Round 1: Pyjamas and Round 2: Denim Repurposing that got me this far.

Buttttt, before that, I need to write up my entry for Round 3 that got me to the final! As you can see it’s a raincoat for when you want to stand out in a crowd! Haha. The challenge for Round 3 was “pattern-matching”. The rules stipulated that to qualify you only had to match across one seam or area in a “seamless” way, but of course, we all knew that we’d need to match across more than one seam to have any chance of getting through the round. Where my biggest challenge in Round 2 was really about the fit of my dress, this was at the other end of the spectrum. Fit was not so much the issue as cutting and precision work.

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New dress: Megan Nielsen Karri in upcycled denim for Sewing Bee Round 2

Alright folks – I’m going to tell you this upfront. Fasten your seatbelts, because this is going to be a longggg post. I have so much to say about this project. First – I got through Round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee! Yayyy! I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I was very fortunate to be one of the 26 sewists who made it through to the penultimate round. This means, of course, that I am in the throes of Round 3 – it’s all about pattern matching and I reckon this is going to be extremely tough to get through, but – first! – let me tell you about the challenge for Round 2.

The brief for the round was to repurpose denim garments and make a brand new garment plus an accessory. All in 6 days! The source of the denim had to be from garments (no stash fabric at all) and you had to take photos of the original garments as part of the entry.

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New test: The Mile End Sweatshirt from Closet Core Patterns

Hello again! In a break from my current SIEGE of Sewing Bee sewing (what have I done???), here is a post for a test I did a couple of months ago for one of my favourite pattern designers, Closet Core Patterns. As everyone knows, loungewear with a capital L has been one of the big hits of the last 12 months or so for obvious reasons. We have never lounged like we did in 2020 and, hopefully, we never will again. Nevertheless, loungewear isn’t going anywhere and Closet Core Patterns brought out two new patterns today that are destined to ramp up your cosy couture game.

The Mile End Sweatshirt and the Plateau Joggers form the Montreal collection and are on sale right now if you buy both together in a bundle. I tested the Mile End sweater and was pretty excited when I saw the name as I went to university in Mile End – however, it turns out this one is in Montreal and I went to the one in East London. Hah! Still – it was a nice connection! I actually made two different versions. The first one was a proper “test” garment and the second was because I really fancied trying one of the views. Or two of the views as it happens – it’s a bit of a mashup.

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New sleepwear: Grainline Lakeside PJs with an added shelf bra for Sewing Bee Round 1

Hello there! I decided that I might enter the Pattern Review Sewing Bee contest this year. It seems fairly tough and is based on (I’m assuming?) the show, The Great British Sewing Bee, of which I am naturally a big fan. You’re given an assignment and have a limited number of days to post your finished garment and review, whereupon you are judged according to a set of criteria and may or not progress through to the next round, knock-out style. There are four rounds altogether and I’ve admired so many of the entries for previous Bee rounds, but never entered myself until now. The first round for 2021 was announced to be “Sew Your Own Unique Pajamas” and I figured I’d give it a go. Would I regret it? Read on to see!

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New sleepwear: the epic saga of Christmas Carolyn pajamas and Ottobre menswear

Oh my gosh. I planned on making the Closet Core Patterns Carolyn pyjamas for the December Sew My Style project. And when I say the “December project”, I mean the Christmas 2019 December project. Yes, this is officially a mixture of very old project and that golden unicorn – the finally-finished UFO project. I had the bright last-minute idea of making sleepwear for everyone in my household as a well-meant gift on an impossible timescale. A pair of men’s pyjama bottoms for my husband and a pair of Carolyn pyjamas for my mother-in-law. And while I was at it, why not another pair for myself? I mean, they’re just pyjamas, right? Why not indeed?

Anyone who has already made the Carolyn pyjamas will be chuckling at this point knowing, as I too now know, that the Carolyn pyjamas are not a simple cut and sew project. They are beautifully detailed and those details take time. Quite a bit of time, actually. As well as that, my green pyjamas project was one of those where lots of little annoying things happened.

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New test: The Willa Coat from Jennifer Lauren

Regular readers of this blog will know I enjoy testing patterns for Jennifer: the instructions are always superb; I always learn something new and, most importantly, end up with a very wearable garment. When I saw her Instagram tease back in July (wow – was it that long ago??) that she was releasing her first coat pattern this autumn, I was interested for the above reasons – and also because of the gorgeous looking tease pic! Luckily, I managed to get a test spot for the size 18 (Jennifer is very fair and allocates tests as they are applied for on a first come, first served basis). It was such an enjoyable project and there’s a ton to say about it, so settle in for the details*…

*or skip through the pictures. I won’t be offended.

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New outerwear: The Harry Cape from I AM Patterns

Yes! A cape! I know, I know. When I told my husband I was making a cape, the first thing he said was, “like a superhero cape?”. Understandably, I suppose. I didn’t really know what to come back with apart from, “well, it’s called the…umm… “Harry” cape – like, umm, well… the boy wizard Harry Potter, …I guess?” To which he rolled his eyes and sniggered. “Or”, I followed up, “maybe it’s what Prince Harry wears when he ventures out amongst the civilians in LA. You know… more of a regal thing?”. Frankly, I have no idea, but since it’s from the “I AM Magic collection” along with my floaty Irma dress, I guess the former is more likely.

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New dress: Irma shirtdress by I AM Patterns

So…yes… now for a definite bit of Covid frosting and some much needed distraction from current affairs! If you don’t know what “frosting” is in terms of sewing (or “icing” for us Brits), it’s the type of frivolous, exuberant sewing that doesn’t necessarily encompass the most practical, everyday of garments, but is sewing for the fun of it, using a striking pattern or perhaps some flamboyant fabric. And as you can see, I decided to combat the approaching winter blues by going for optimum frosting with colourful choices for both pattern and fabric. Ha!

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New dress: The Seamwork Devon for November

The Seamwork Devon is one of the November patterns for Seamwork and boy, are they both corkers this month! I would normally have sewn up both of them, had I not just finished making a bunch of jackets and coats, but I can tell you I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone does with the Baz. Maybe I’ll come back to it early next year.

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