Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 Barganista Fashionista sewalong candidates

If you've known me for a while on PatternReview or followed my posts here, you know that I have a love-hate relationship with PatternReview contests. (As you may know, PatternReview runs 1-2 contests per month, such as "fitted blouse contest", "Little Black Dress contest", etc. The contests run either 2 or 4 weeks, depending on the contest theme.) I think that these contests are great for pushing us out of our comfort zones and getting us to try new things. On the downside, the winners generally (not always) skew towards the younger, slimmer members, and nearly ALWAYS skew towards members who had a spouse or partner with A) good photography skills and B) the patience to do a photo shoot for the review. I have neither a young, slim figure or a patient, photographer husband, so my chances of winning would be slim, even if I produced a garment that I was super proud of.

However, I set aside my personal issues with unconscious bias to volunteer to manage the Bargainista/Fashionista contest this month. Why? Because I like looking at pictures of pretty, expensive  garments and I love seeing reviews where members try to knock off those expensive garments. This also gives me a way to vicariously enjoy the contest without the added stress of actually entering a garment.

In the spirit of the contest, I want to sew along with the participants. I'm fairly sure that I know what I'll be sewing (and if you peek over at the contest thread on PR, you'll see a picture), but I thought I'd post some of the other projects that I was considering. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind!

Here they are (in no particular order):

Philip Lim draped crossover blouse

First up is this Philip Lim blouse that's all over Pinterest:

Philip Lam draped crossover blouse

Both HotPatterns and StyleArc have released their takes on this blouse in recent months, and knockoffs are showing up left and right in retail. 

HotPatterns Riviera Acqualina Blouse

StyleArc Dotty blouse
Since I already own the HotPatterns pattern, that's the pattern I'd use. I do want to make this blouse, whether it's to sew along for the contest or not, and I'm looking at making it either in a white rayon for spring/summer or a striped rayon knit. My striped fabric doesn't look anything like the original, though. I'd probably shorten the length a bit of the HP, but I like that it includes a yoke and just generally really like the design.

Bomber Jacket(s)

Next up, I want a bomber jacket. I love the current trend of using non-traditional fabrics in a bomber jacket design. I like both the trend of suiting fabrics and florals (although my husband would likely say that the floral versions make the model look like she's wearing a couch--he hates florals). Also, I like the idea of mixed material sleeves, and I have a lightweight, drapey faux leather that I think would be perfect for bomber jacket sleeves. Here are a few RTW bombers that I've pinned:

Tweed jacket with faux leather sleeves by Sejour

Floral Bomber jacket by Rag & Bone

Navy floral bomber jacket (designer unknown)
For a bomber jacket pattern, I already have New Look 6226 in my stash, although I'd need to do a bit of grading up and/or an FBA:

StyleArc also has a really stylish-looking bomber jacket, but A) I don't already own the pattern B) the pattern is pretty expensive, even for StyleArc, and C) it appears to be more of a traditional bomber style:

StyleArc Emelia jacket
For these bomber jackets, I have several tweeds in my stash and the aforementioned faux leather. If I did a floral version, I have a floral silk/cotton blend that I think would work well. The only problem is that I can't find that particular length of fabric, although I know that it didn't sprout legs and walk out of my sewing room--it's somewhere in that stash!

Lace overlay blouse with piping

Finally, there's this cute lace overlay blouse from Ruche:

Ruche lace overlay blouse with piping
The StyleArc Amber blouse is a pattern that's a dead-ringer for this pattern. Coincidentally, this was a freebie pattern last summer, and I just so happen to have it in my stash. I also have a black ponte, white piping, and just ordered some black floral lace from FabricMart.

StyleArc Amber blouse

Decisions, decisions! Hmmmmm....


  1. Looking forward to seeing what you sew up. I love the Phillip Lam blouse and the black lace.

  2. For the jacket, doesn't HP have a suitable bomber (DAgostino, maybe?) that you probably could use? And didn't the HP top actually come out BEFORE Lim's top hit the runway? I have the StyleArc top, but the HP is almost dead-on for the Lim.

    You're more generous than I am about PR contests. I think some people are unconscious in their biases, but I really think others are aware that they vote for thinner, younger, or simply the fanciest pics-- so much so that it seems people completely overlook the rules. I was thrilled to get 55 votes, and I didn't expect to win. But when the winning entries are a strapless, crinolined dress and a corset and mini that come with a cleavage warning, then I think it is fair to be suspicious that people are overlooking the rule that the finished product was supposed to real clothes suitable for real life. What won were garments that can only work in specific settings or events-- in other words: costumes. I know that sounds like bitter sour grapes, but it isn't. Like I said, I didn't expect to win, there are many better sewists than I am and more ambitious projects than mine. But I did expect the winners to follow the parameters, and I just don't think they did. They were great projects and beautifully done.

  3. I don't disagree with anything you said, re: PR voting. ;) The winners not necessarily adhering to the rules is something that's bothered me with a lot of the contests. Some of them also just seem to be a flat-out popularity contest among PR members. I think they tried to mitigate that a bit by adding the additional questions to the entry template for the New-to-Me pattern contest. (Of course, the winner of that one was still the one with the prettiest pictures.)

  4. I'd consider the DAgostino more of a moto jacket than a bomber. I still want to make that one. ;) I keep hoping that Trudy will jump on the bomber bandwagon and release her own version.

    I'm pretty sure that she whipped up the Acqualina blouse right after the fashion week show where the Lim debuted. I remember something about it being inspired by a specific piece, but I'd have to dig back through my emails to find it.

  5. I think I might be getting the spring shows mixed up. I thought Trudy released the Acqualina a year or so ago, and the Lam was from his spring 2014 show (so this past fall).

    As much as I love the idea of the new to me, I didn't think the rules were clear or really fair. Why didn't they include children's patterns? Why could people muslin a pattern before the contest started, if the point was to try a new pattern company during the contest period?

    I actually think a more interesting way to do the New To Me contest would be to run it for, say, 6 to 8 weeks and offer a few different prizes: 1-- the most new pattern companies tried in the time frame; 2-- the most patterns tried from a single new company, and 3-- even a distinction between PDF and printed patterns since so many new indies are only doing PDFs, and they DO have some different issues involved.

    I also think some terms should be better defined in general, like "helpful." I see a lot of reviews that have numerous "helpful" or "very helpful" ratings, and there are hardly any comments in the. template. I mean, is saying "instructions were fine" or "sizing seemed true" really that helpful? With no further notation or context? Also, I think its great to link to a blog for more details or more pics, but to basically say nothing in the review puts the onus on the readers to have to go through to a blog instead of posting some good info for us right there. Maybe I'm cranky because I have a hellacious head cold that seems completely disinterested in getting better.

    And yeah, many of the contests do seem to be popularity contests, but I've really enjoyed managing the 2 I did.

    How is Arya doing?

  6. Interesting that Burda will have basically an exact knock off of that Philip Lim top in their may issue, and they've got a bomber jacket in there too. Probably too late for the PR contest, but worth making anyway, I'd say.

  7. Great detective work matching up the patterns! I don't tend to follow the fashion shows much so fantastic to see what's new out there right now

  8. Great detective work matching up the patterns! I don't tend to follow the fashion shows much so fantastic to see what's new out there right now

  9. Linda, I just saw this comment.

    I think that the helpful/very helpful rating thing comes from the "star" system. There was a time when anything other than a "very helpful" rating actually hurt a reviewer's star ranking. (I believe that "helpful" is now neutral.) I know that I got into the habit of ranking anything that I read as "very helpful" to thank the reviewer for taking the time to post the review.

    There was a time when some of the contests ran for longer periods, like you're suggesting. (These were usually stash or wardrobe contests.) I'm not sure why they changed it--I think they'd get more participants in these things if people felt like they had time to catch up if they fell behind or needed to start over.

    Arya is doing fine. :) I don't want to jinx things, but we've been finally having some breakthroughs with getting her to not chase the cats when everyone is together.

  10. WOW! You found dead ringers for all of those designs - love it!!!

    Can't wait to see what you pick!

  11. I really wish the ratings helpful, etc., always counted to "points." I think some people are so experienced that they don't realize so many of us read PR because we're not. I don't think someone should be penalized because some one else wants to give feedback because they take the reviewer's opinions seriously. There are some reviewers who are skilled and prolific, and I'd love more than just "Made an FBA!" for fitting comments and concerns. When the template has more words than the review...

    I never do anything but helpful or very helpful. I'd thought that I'd seen somewhere that helpful gets points,just not as many. So I do use that too.

    1. I *think* that "helpful" votes are neutral now (don't hurt, but don't help), but I could be wrong about that. There was a time when "helpful" votes actually hurt a reviewers score. There's a long, complicated thread on the forum that discusses this, but it had to do with the review rating contribution towards a "star rating" being an average.

    2. You're probably right. I really thought I'd seen another thread that helpful got points, just not as much as "very helpful." That said, one day the hubs and I were visiting relatives, and the two of us wanted to go out for lunch. We thought we saw an Olive Garden when we were out with everyone a few days before. We drove for an hour looking for that Olive Garden. There was no Olive Garden. We imagined it. A little folie a deux. So I might have imagined or just misunderstood thread about helpful ratings and points.

      I do try to mark as many reviews very helpful as I can.

      Oh... That Olive Garden is a running joke for us.