The Buzz About Sewcial Bee


I think most of you know about the "Super Online Sewing Bee" that Sew Mama Sew is hosting right now. It sparked a flurry of discussion among my sewing tweeps about sewing challenges.  Then Gillian, who is always coming up with great ideas, suggested we do a little informal sewing bee.  Leila and Gillian started hammering out rules, a flicker group was created and we nominated/roped Gillian's sister Annie into coming up with the first challenge for us.
Here are the basics which I'm coping straight from Annie.
  1. This post goes live at 3 PM on Sunday, July 14, 2013, at 3 PM EST/8 PM GMT. Participants get 24 hours from that time to design/draft/sew their garments — but really, the idea is that they should at least attempt to limit themselves to about 4 hours of sewing time.
    The 24-hour window is so that people in any time zone can participate. Having it over a Sunday night/Monday morning means that both weekend and weekday sewers can take part.
  2. TNT patterns (tried ‘n’ tested) are totally welcome, and, in fact, encouraged. Riffing on a staple design is important if they’re going to manage much in that 4-hour sewing time!
  3. There’s no judging, and (at this point) no prizes, other than the glorious satisfaction of a challenge well mastered.
  4. At the end of the 24 hours, participants are to submit photos of themselves wearing their completed garments (or incomplete, for that matter) to the group Flickr pool. (Questions and chatter will take place in the group forums, at the same link.)
  5. It’s an open event: anyone is welcome to join in!
Sunday afternoon Annie posted the first challenge which was to made a top that coordinated with a triangular scarf.
Since I have no concept of my actual sewing time my first idea was to whip out another Archer.  Hey I've made 3 so whipping one out in 24 hours is totally doable right?  Well about 9pm Sunday night I realized that was crazy talk and I should get out some sort of knit top so that there was a completed garment to show Monday afternoon. Enter the Sloppy Josephine Tee pattern that I'd made up back in May. That seemed like a 4 hour project and I had a long stashed knit that was perfect for it.
Fourish nonconsecutive hours later here it is with a Scalene scarf I knit a few years ago.
In May I promised you all a review and never did it. So without out further ado let's get to it.

Sloppy Josephine Tee from Paper Cut patterns.  It's a lot of money for what is a basic raglan tee but I though about it obsessively for months.  It comes with neat packaging on a brown paper stock that is thicker than your average tissue paper.

Fabrics used
Knit burnout from the deeper part of the stash, maybe 3/4 years old. It was originally from Tessuti Fabric who's fabrics I miss buying. Here's a mid process pic showing the taupey bits are burnt out.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. My version is a total mongrel of sizes. The neckline and raglan sleeves are size small.  The hemline is a size large and the bottom of the sleeves are a size medium.

2. I lengthened the sleeved to a 3/4 one.  Since the sleeve hem was already snug I slashed and spread the pattern to add 5" of length.

3. I took 2" off the length of the shirt and added a fold over Renfrew like hem band that was 2.5" finished.  I really like the hem band on my feather print version but am tempted to take it off on this one.  Gonna wait until later for the final decision since I like my shirts longer when wearing pants.

1. As usual I didn't read directions and just went on a maverick sewing journey, there isn't much to mess up other than the neckband.  I originally put it in like you do on a renfrew, fold in half and serge. This mostly works except for the CF will gape out a bit.  If you insert is like the directions say, sew one edge/fold over/topstitch, then it lays nice an flat.

2. Make sure you mark the neck band and neckline into quarters and pin before trying to serge it on.  Otherwise it is a complete pain in the ass to do.

3.  There is a lot of ease in this pattern and even with a small sized neckband this top wants to fall off your shoulders.  I don't mind having a Flashdance-esque top in my wardrobe but you may not.

Husband Comment
"Hey that's a nice shirt, you need more cut that low."

My Final Thoughts
I'm very pleased with this pattern.  It makes a trendy top that would be easy to layer in the spring/fall weather.  I need to make some faux leather jackets for just that purpose.
I had a super fun time doing this sewical bee challenge, also check out the other projects in the flickr group. We'll be doing this again and I'll be sure to give you a heads up before hand if you feel like joining in.


  1. Yes, please do give a heads-up...I completely missed this entire conversation! (I was probably stuck at work and Twitter-less or something.)

    1. No problem, I'll make sure you know next time. Work does put a crimp in your twitter conversation time. :(

  2. I really like how long and elegant this short makes your neck look! It's a very classy knit top, which is a sweet combo. Are we going to see you bird Archer this week too?

    1. Thanks Gillian, do you like my sexxxxy collar bones. Hee hee hee! You might not see the bird archer this week cause I keep cutting out new projects. Someone should stop me.

  3. It's fun seeing all of the Sewcial Bee posts showing up on my reader. I'm not sure I could handle the stress, but it would be fun to try if you do this again. Maybe I'll just do it in secret and only post if mine comes out ok :). The neckline on this is just WOW! But what do you do about support for this kind of shirt? Can I ask what you're wearing underneath or is that too personal? I love the style and as usual you always have the best prints.

    1. Thanks Shar, Sure do it in secret and then if you don't finish no pressure. :) I do that with sew-a-longs all the time. I've got a regular nude bra underneath this shirt, just pushed the bra straps over a tad for the pics. But I'll probably have a bit of strap popping out if I'm moving around. ;)

  4. Sounds like a great challenge! Your shirt turned out great and really shows off your great collarbones (one of my favorite body parts), and only in about four hours time. That's pretty impressive!
    I love your husband's comment...

    And remember what Ryan Gosling said: No faux-leather, only the best leather is good enough! (although practicing on faux-leather is probably a good idea!)

    1. Thank you, I do like flashing my collar bones. Scandalous!
      Sadly due to budgets I can't buy real leather anymore so I'll have to make due with the faux in my stash. Unless Ryan buys me some and then I'll hug him for an inappropriate length of time. :)

  5. Ohhhh, I really love this top. Dress it up or down. Though you're right, it's screaming for a leather jacket!

    1. Thanks Jill! I'd better stop making dresses and get on that jacket.


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