Sewcial Bee? What’s a Sewcial Bee?
I am glad you asked!
(Isn’t Gillian’s logo super cute?)
Sewcial Bee is a fun little social sew-along started by a few fellow bloggers while chatting on Twitter last month. They saw it as an answer to all of the sewing competitions that some feel have too much pressure to win something, but liked the idea of a challenge and a time limit. See here Gillian’s blog about the first Sewcial Bee.
The first Sewcial Bee was hush-hush while they tested out the idea and the parameters. They enjoyed it so much they decided to publicize the idea and invite others to join in!
(If you are curious about the first challenge it was to sew a top to go with your favorite scarf.)
I found out about the Sewcial Bee on Leila’s Blog and immediately wanted in! Some of the rules were tweaked slightly to help the challenge run more smoothly and allow more global sewers to participate. Heather summed up the new rules best, so I will copy and paste (and direct you to her post, of course) the updated rules for this month’s Sewcial Bee:
1. This rounds challenge will be provided by GidaStudio and will be posted 12am GMT August 10th on her website and on twitter.
2. We encourage you to pick a project that will take between 4-7 hours to sew. So you can get a little crazy but not batshit insane. 😉
3. You have 48 hours to complete your challenge garment and post it to the Sewical Bee Flickr group. Then we will all aww and ooooo over it.
4. Again there is no judging or prizes…other than that sweet new garment on your back.
5. It’s an open event so tell a friend, tell a neighbor, tell your spouse to take the kids and get the hell out.
If you’re active on twitter use the hashtag #sewcialbee for any sewcial bee related tweets.
Gidastudio posted the following challenge the the appointed time:
The challenge was actually inspired by Heather’s (@KnitNBee, froggygirl0) Summer of Dresses – Simplicity 2444 (seen here), a dress with a matching cake.
You can make anything you like; inspired by food or (as Heather did) show us food inspired by your garment.
Sewing AND food?
I went to my sewing project boxes to see if any projects already in the queue would fit the criteria.
Here’s why: I had already planned to make a Bonny Knit “NOT Sailor” Top with a sweet little crochet collar I found on Etsy.
The little collar reminded me of the powdered sugar doily patterns you see on the top of chocolate flourless tortes. And, since I *just* went gluten-free (day 7, whoot!) I really wanted to make one of my favorite desserts that just happens to also be a gluten-free!
Click here for recipe.
I also decided that I had enough fabric to make a dress instead of just a top if I was extremely creative with the cutting layout. I prefer dresses to separates so I thought why not?
BTW: the also fulfills part of the sewing dare I got from Gillian: Hack a Cake Patterns RiFF into a dress. Now, this is not the garment I completed for the sewing dare (post coming soon), but the one I chose is not a RiFF pattern, so technically doesn’t fulfill the dare in its entirety. But, hacking the Bonny into a dress does!
I decided to add the Tiramisu half circle skirt to the top to make the dress (it’s a Cake Mash Up! How appropriate for the challenge).
A few pattern adjustments and off I went with the stopwatch running! What fun!
First: collar construction. I laid out the crochet collar to find the most appealing layout and then stitched into place on the interfaced collar piece.
I stitched around the edges and some through the middle so the crochet would hopefully stay flat over time.
I also shortened the length a tad since my crochet was shorted than the original collar.
The collar is attached to the neckline of the top using bias binding. If you haven’t used this technique before, the Cake Patterns RiFF line has only minimal instructions which you may or may nor be able to follow (I couldn’t, but I had done this before, so I was OK. I also touched on this topic in my review of the pattern here). I snapped a few pics during this construction so you could see how I did it.
Pin the Bias binding around the neck line so the fold line is on the 3/8″ stitching line.
Here’s a close up:
Then, stitch on the fold line.
The “tricky” part is on the ends of the collar piece. To get the collar and bias binding to neatly tuck into the front of the neckline, make a sandwich with the bias binding, collar edge, and the seam from the front of the top (look at the line drawing on the pattern. There is seaming down the front sides). Now, continue to stitch the bias binding on the fold until you reach the bottom of the front neckline facing, but make sure that you are stitching just INSIDE the seam allowance of the princess seams so the stitching doesn’t show through the other side.
Allota words, huh? Pic better??
Then, fold the end of the bias tape on itself and stitch.
Now you can fold the bias tape around the raw edges and seam you just stitched, and stitch it closed near the edge of the binding.
Here’s what the inside of the finished collar looks like. Notice that the bias tape extends down past the front neckline to the end of the front facing and that it is stitched down just on the inside of the seam allowances of the front bodice princess seams.
That was the time consuming part. I looked at the stopwatch and saw that more than half of my allotted 7 hours has passed, so I cracked the whip and got bi-zay!
When the stop watch beeped that my 7 hours were up I had a finished dress that only needed to be hemmed. I was feeling pretty good, especially since I couldn’t hem it immediately since the skirt is cut on a bias and I needed to let it hang over night. I tried on the dress and snapped a few photos to share with my fellow Sewcial Bee participants on Twitter (seriously, this is the most fun part).
Here’s the dress at hour 7 – the end of the challenge:
Not bad, but kinda meh, huh? I felt a little dowdy in it. I knew the waistline was a little low, but I also felt the dress was lacking pizazz.
I reached out to my fellow sewcialists and got the following suggestions:
Gillian: belt, or decorative stitching on the bodice or waist seams
Leila: waist shaping, or take a tad off bodice to raise waist seam, or sash/belt to tie in the crochet collar
Brooke: wear a pretty necklace
Jeri: statement necklace or embroidery at the neckline
Isn’t social networking cool? It’s like having a room full of sewers all collaborating and inspiring each other. I love it!
Armed with these great suggestions I rushed off to Jo-Ann’s to find something to embellish my dress.
Here’s what I found:
I had already done some cute matching daisy motif under-stitching in the side seam pockets, but I wanted to carry the crochet design element to the front of the dress.
I decided to add some crochet-like trim to the sleeve cuffs and bodice seams and a canvas belt.
I used my saddle stitch and the teal thread to gussy up the plain canvas belt a bit.
I also took up the waist seam about 1/2″.
And, the final result is this:
I posted a sneak peek on Twitter and Gillian immediately agreed that it was much improved. She said now the dress has a 1910s feel, and I whole-heartedly agree. I feel like I should be walking down the board walk at Coney Island with a parasol or a big floppy hat.
Here’s a few detail shots:
Inside of dress.
It is still not hemmed, but I wanted to post about the dress while the challenge is still going on. If you wanna play, you have until 9 PM tonight to upload your photos to the Flickr group.
One more photo of me trying to show all of the design elements at once and failing 🙂
And, since the whole challenge was about sewing something that was inspired by food,
Oh, la la!
Check out the Flickr page to see everyone else’s submissions. If you have time, whip up a little something and play along. If not, watch the Flickr and Twitter feeds for announcements for the next Sewcial Bee. I think the current plan is to do it monthly.