PR Sewing Bee – Round 3 entry

sleeve close up


I’m a little late with my update on the Pattern Review Sewing Bee.  I think I needed a break from writing about sewing after the detailed reviews needed for the contest!

For Round 3, the 25 remaining contestants were given a free copy of The Winter Street Dress from Pattern Review.  The task was to make a version of the dress using only two stretch fabrics and some embellishments (& some creativity!).  At first glance at the pattern I thought it had cut-on sleeves.  It turns out the illustration is not to be believed, as it has set-in sleeves (thankfully less altering for my square/straight shoulders!). The bodice also sits pretty high on this pattern so I added 1 1/2″ to the bodice length before cutting out.

I decided to embellish my dress with a technique that had been on my mind for some time – adding a crochet insert to the neckline and a cut-out shape at the back.


Lace up sleeve and crochet details


 I used a black lycra to line the bodice and create the cut out detail in the back.  This also meant I could omit the neckline binding.  To crochet the insert, I first stitched around the opening with a buttonhole stitch, shown below:

buttonhole stitch


After that I just winged it as regard the crochet – It was a matter of crocheting in ever decreasing squares :


keyhole crochet progress

keyhole finished


For the sleeve lace up I first cut them in half vertically and interfaced the edges before sewing down and then hand stitching the lengths:

sleeves button stitched

They were then pinned to the original paper pattern piece and  laced up to the correct width with some yarn :

sleeve laceup

And then sewn in flat to the armholes as normal……..And here’s what it all looked like once completed :


front and back view

Not the best pictures as the light was bad ( hence the over exposure!) But it gives you the jist of how it all looked!

I did finish my round 3 dress in time, but didn’t get through to last 11 finalists unfortunately.  I was disappointed not to continue, but also a little relieved as it was tough going to get everything made and photographed in time!  After round 4, the overall winner was announced today and the prize went to Dawn who blogs here 🙂 The final prize was a very nice new machine!!

Overall it was good fun to take part and I’m amazed that I kept up with the deadlines!  Although it did hold up the finish of my knitting project ( remember The City Cape?) . Which I’m glad to say is now finished and has been worn plenty since. I’ll give a full run down as soon as I upload some photos:)

Ps – If you’d like to see my 3 full contest pattern reviews with links to extra process pictures they can be found if you click-through:

Round 1 A-Line Skirt

Round 2 Shirts Refashion

Round 3 Winter Street Dress

🙂 Chris

Surprise Sewing Bee – I made it to round 2 !!

Phew, what a week! I haven’t sat at my laptop for long this week as I was working on my entry for round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee .  That’s right – last weeks A-Line skirt made it through yay!!  Which was fantastic…except it meant getting something else made in a hurry this week.  ( Using up to five mens shirts)

And this is what I came up with…..

My ShirtSdress !!

My ShirtSdress !!


And a few details….

Armholes used as pockets, Collar used on pocket edge




I used sleeves from on of the shirts as a waist tie




Back view


I have some more in process pictures, but my brain is fried right now so I’ll do a separate post at a later stage! There are some very unique entries in the contest gallery, and I now think that I might have gone a little more “out there” with my make.   But there ya go, it’s done now….! In the meantime keep your fingers crossed that this passes with the judges….  Ps.. My entry can be seen in full on Pattern Review here.

My Surprise Sewing Bee entry

side view posed


I’m very happy to say I finished my A-Line skirt for the Pattern Review contest ( with a few hours to spare!). Half way through the week, I didn’t think it would happen.  I caught a bug during the week – nothing major – but enough to make me exhausted and in need of a day of r&r.  Thankfully by Thursday I was coming round.   So I decided to tip away at my skirt, and hope that it would be done in time – but if not I wasn’t going to stress about it.



skirt front posed


I made this from a black wool suiting fabric and some lace off cuts.  I had roughly  sketched out some ideas:



I transferred the lines onto my muslin and then traced the curved panels onto paper.  Then I cut them out from a cream lace and a champagne lace.

starting applique fronts



The lace pieces were zig zag stitched onto the skirt fronts and backs:  Which were then topstitched with a champagne thread


fronts pressed and topstitched


I then tacked the lining to the front and back pieces before stitching on the pockets:

lining pockets


And then the hip yokes /pocket backs:

pocket backs


The side seam was sewn catching all layers to just below the pocket join.  The lining was left to hang free from the skirt below the pockets:

skirt inside


All that was left was to attach a zip and waistband and hem both layers.


zipper and hook detail


And just in case you’d like to see a few more details! !


skirt back posed

skirt front flat


Overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. But there are always a few things that I would have done differently!  I would have liked to have added some more topstitching, but I didn’t want to run out of time.

If you’re interested, it’s worth checking out some of the entries – there are quite a few posted in the Contest Gallery – it’s amazing to see the variations on the brief of an A-line skirt.   So…. fingers crossed that the judges see fit to put me through to the next round!!

Making & Doing…. & an interesting sewing competition

Hi there, I hope everyone had a nice Halloween? I got off lightly this year costume-wise, my kids all cobbled together outfits from a large box of previous years makes!!! So no last minute sewing this year.

Plenty of knitting going on though….


City Cape and yummy Flahavans porridge

My City cape is so close to the finish line. But it has taken longer than it should have tbh. Mainly down to poor planning on my part.
I haven’t had access to a printer so I’ve been using my phone to read the document. Which makes it difficult to pick up easily.  I’ve been scribbling a few lines ahead in the instructions onto a notebook and knitting away but it’s not the best way to work.

Otherwise it’s been a nice pattern to knit and I’m now on the yoke decreases. But my needles are about to give in:


Can you see the split at the join? I can’t get to town today so I’m hoping that they’ll hold out for another day or so! Fingers crossed!

In sewing news …. I signed up for the Pattern Review sewing contest. Probably a very bad idea as every time I’ve tried to make to a deadline something takes over at work and home! But I think it’ll be good to motivate me into sewing more even if I don’t keep up with the timeline.

The first challenge is an A-line skirt. Which prompted me to pull out a (very) old college book – Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich. :


I’d like to draft my own skirt rather than waste money on a pattern that I’m not sure I’ll even like! But it is adding more work onto the whole process.

I’ve been searching for some inspiration online but have nothing definite in mind yet. All suggestions for a contemporary style would be gratefully received! !!
Happy making , Chris 🙂