PatternReview.com is a 16 year old online sewing resource website created by Deepika Parkash. There are currently over 430,000 users across the world. I recently attended my 4th Pattern Review Weekend. Deepika is the featured speaker at the July 2018 national ASG (American Sewing Guild) convention.
And before I talk about the event, I want to share with you a note about Deepika from the website.
Deepika Prakash is the founder of PatternReview.com – A site she started in November 2001 when she couldn’t find any sewing resources online. A lover of fabric and patterns she has a simple goal. “Everyone should sew!” and with this goal in mind she decided to teach her first video class right here on PatternReview.com. “Anybody CAN sew“, she says.. “You are only limited by your own desire to learn”.
Deepika has been a contributor to many sewing publications over the last few years like Threads and Stitch. She is currently designing easy to sew patterns for all body types. She has also been featured on It’s Sew Easy TV series.
PR Weekend is a 2-3 day event that is in a different location every year. This year for the first time the event was held in and around Stratford, Ontario, Canada.
The event is limited to 100 participants, and is totally organized by volunteers.
The class was on how to take better pictures to show off your sewing. She has a section on her blog if you want to check it out.
PRweekend always includes a pattern exchange. Attendees can bring patterns to swap, and even if you don’t bring any, you are welcome to take home as many as you can carry.
The day also included sewing demos from the Jalie Pattern team of Emilie, Jean and Mel. Jean is the creative designer behind the patterns and she is so much fun, as well as being Emilie’s mom) They also introduced their latest pattern collection with a discount. (https://jalie.com/) I added Clara and Julia to my collection.
The evening included a camp shirt contest that honored recently deceased member Kathi Rank. A pajama contest was also on tap. We were even entertained by organizer Connie Bontje’s ukulele band.
Saturday was non stop shopping bus tour to Hamilton’s Ontario street (home of Beverly Johnson’s Bra Lady store), Ann’s fabrics and Lens Mill in Woodstock. We ended the evening with the Fabricland store in Stratford staying open late for our group. Before the late night shopping our bus had purchased 700 meters and bus two 680 meters of fabric. A meter is 39”. Many stayed after for shopping and sightseeing in Toronto.
Next year – Portland Oregon. I will be there!
I met and/or reconnected with so many amazing talented folk. Here are a few with great blogs:
I was so lucky to be able to see the exhibit Christian Dior, Couturier Du Réve at the Les Arts Décoratifs Paris. Beware this blog post is photo intense, be patient as it takes less time than the flight to Pairs. The exhibit runs through January 7, 2018. This is a must see wonderland of couture. But to avoid the long line, book your ticket online in advance. The link is here: http://billetterie.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/gammadn/adnnet/ it is only in French, but it is well worth the time savings. This is a very popular exhibit so the crowds are capacity controlled. Also most of the exhibit is dark, so unless you have a camera that does well in low light, your ability to take photos will be limited. However, if you can’t make the exhibit, the exhibit catalog is available as a “coffee table” book. It weighs over 7 pounds! The book is available in multiple languages, the English version is sold on Amazon. Even if you attend the exhibit the anniversary book adds so much additional history and photos it is well worth the purchase. Just buy it here as it is way to heavy to transport in luggage!
Let me just say that I am not one to be on the designer bandwagon. I don’t buy products (handbags, eyeglasses, perfume) just because they have a designer’s name emblazoned on the product. But I was overwhelmed in this exhibit by the creativity, the beauty and the skill of these creations and of the magic of the exhibit itself.
The theme is the anniversary of 70 years of fashion by the House of Dior. The exhibit spaces is over 3200 square feet and includes over 400 haute couture garments by Dior and his successors. It is one of the only exhibits I have attended where there were audible gasps of wonder as attendees walked from room to magic room. There are original sketches, art borrowed from museums around the world, photographs by all of the leading fashion photographers, lights, music, video clips all of it blending to the experience that is this Dior exhibit. The best part of the entire exhibit – if I were forced to choose – were the demonstration by Dior ateliers. My first visit, the demonstration was on the inner construction of the Bar suit. The iconic cream peplum jacket that epitomizes the “New Look”. The suit is the first thing you see when you go to the 2nd half of the exhibit. A later exhibit features all of the Dior designers, but to give you a quick timeline: Christian Dior (1947-1957)- Yves Saint Laurent (1957-1960), Marc Bohan (1960-1989), Gianfranco Ferré (1989-1997), John Galliano (1997-2011), Raf Simons (2012-2015) and Maria Grazia Chiuri (2016- ).
The exhibit starts with a history of the House of Dior, and then the history of Christian Dior the man behind the couture house. And then moves to a large room where huge famous photos disappear and the dresses are displayed. Princess Margaret on her 21st birthday in the 1951 haute couture evening gown designed for her; Richard Avedon’s Dovima with Elephants – transitioning to the Fall-Winter 1955 Soirée de Paris dress and ‘Zemire’ modeled by Dior house model Renee. Paris, 1954. Photograph by Regina Relang with Eifiel tower in the background. (the dress is red)
The next section is probably my second most favorite – everything arranged by color. Scaled garments, handbags, hats, perfume, jewelry, drawings,footwear – all falling together forming an amazing color wheel. The crowds in this section where packed (and it was hot!) visit now when Paris is cool and tourists are hopefully back in their homes.
Yes there is so much more – stay tuned for more beauty!!!
Two different short trips to the capital of England and the UK. I think this was probably my fifth trip to London, so I did skip the top of the tourist list spots. While walking in Hyde Park (Home of Kensington Palace and the Diana Memorial Fountain) we discovered the Food Night Market. I love this description of the event from the Evening StandardWalkways festooned with lights lead the way to a covered, cloistered seating area, with a clear plastic roof for starlit nights, and a multicoloured “umbrella roof” for earlier in the day. Around the market, red telephone boxes are decked out as powder rooms and takeaway libraries, while scattered Eden Project-style mini domes make the perfect reclusive date spots.
In true London fashion, it rained. Not the Texas “frog-strangler” type of rain, but drizzly, chilly Texas fall weather rain. It didn’t dampen our hunger, or the fun. Especially considering we signed up for the Kettle One Bloody Mary master class. In addition to making one of those we finished the class with a chocolate creme coffee vodka cocktail.
Be like a local – dress in layers and always carry an umbrella!
It is kitchsy, but I did get a picture with this pretend bobby.
Unlike the tight security at Buckingham palace changing of the guard. Notice the real police force with machine guns politely shooing (not shooting) tourists that wander too close to the gate. With recent events I did see a greater police presence in London and every European city. Here is the schedule to see the event for your self. Realize that there will be a crowd and a fence, so go and enjoy the beautiful park and your small glimpse of the action. Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace encompasses colourful spectacle and British pageantry. The ceremony lasts about 45 minutes between 11.00-11.45am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from January to March, weather permitting.
When visiting any where, I always compare – what is the same at home, what is different. I LOVE the walk sign in Trafalger Square. Nope, equality isn’t something you see on our street corners.
I did find an amazing exhibit of a tapestry commissioned by the weaver’s guild. This artistic collaboration between artist Chris Ofili and the guild was simply breathtaking. See the huge tapestry as well as a close up of the weaving that re creates the texture of the original watercolor.
Fabric shopping this trip has no pictures to protect the guilty. But I did bring home some Liberty London cotton, and some bargains from Goldhawk Road. While in London be sure to catch a play or performance in the West End. We saw Motown the Musical, it was fabulous. The Victoria and Albert is not to be missed, there is almost always a special fashion and/or culture exhibit. For easy transport around the city, get a tourist Oyster card. London is an easy city to walk and access via the “tube”. Just don’t forget to “mind the gap”.