Blast from the Past: Pattern Review Weekend 2013 Recap

When I entered my Jalie running skirt into the contest Pattern Review is hosting for Jalie’s 30th anniversary, it reminded me that I’d never made the time to write up my experiences going to Pattern Review Weekend 2013 in San Francisco last April – six months ago now!  When an event is fresh in my mind, I like to write them up in a stream of consciousness style since it really feels like I’m reliving it when I write the post and whenever I reread it in the future.  Unfortunately, any chance of writing a legitimate stream of consciousness story has long since past. I remember enough to give it a go, but I think there’d be quite a bit of make believe in it in order to make a good story!

Anyway, for posterity’s sake, I figured I’d at least jot down a general overview of my experience.  I was lucky in that the event was held in San Francisco, a short trip on the Caltrain away from where I lived and worked at the time.  About a month before the event I decided I just had to go – it was so close after all.  I bought my ticket, and then promptly got lost in life.  Things were just so hectic then trying to wrap things up at work and get ready for the move to Seattle.

A few days before the event, it popped back up on my radar.  I went through my closet auditioning my handmade garments, looked up where the event was being held, determined that there was little to no actual prep that needed to be done since the good people at Pattern Review had already done such a thorough job getting everything ready.

Early the morning of the main event, I jumped on the Caltrain and headed into the city.  I happened to arrive at the Marines’ Memorial Club at the exact same time as Sandra Betzina, the keynote speaker.  At the time I had just finished her Craftsy class, which made me a bit starstruck as I rode up the elevator with her.  I vaguely remember stammering about something silly like the weather or the hotel, instead of prying her secrets to awesome sewing out of her.

Sandra had with her a large rack of clothes, and I remember wondering whether guests at the Marines’ Memorial Club not affiliated with Pattern Review would just think that that’s how she rolls when on vacation.  The thought of someone traveling with all of their clothes on a garment rack that was pushed everywhere by a tall, dark, and handsome man (just as hers currently was) got me giddy, which I think also affected my ability to carry on conversation.

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

When I entered the ballroom, I found a seat front and center with a bunch of friendly faces, most of whom I’d met before, like JillyBe of JillyBeJoyful, Shams of Communing with Fabric, and a lovely lady I think named Sarah who I met at the Colette book launch party.  It turned out to be a great spot, and to those of you who attend Pattern Review Weekends in the future, I highly recommend you go straight for those front and center seats!


Before long, Sandra was doing her thing.  It felt like I was in the studio audience of her Craftsy show thanks to the bright lights, cameras, and large videos screens.

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

Not to mention that Sandra live is exactly like Sandra in her Craftsy class.  And, while I think having a teacher there in person is far superior to watching a video, it was nice to realize that certain things are nearly identical, which helped me to justify all the Craftsy classes I’ve taken!

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

When we weren’t getting lessons or demos from Sandra, we were fondling the garments she brought, buying her Power Sewing Toolbox 1 and Toolbox 2 books, or trying on samples of her patterns.  One of the brilliant things she did was bring every single size of all of her basic garments – her pants, shirts, tops, jackets, etc. – for people to try on.  We all had the chance to leave the event knowing exactly what size Vogue Today’s Fit by Sandra Betzina pattern to start with.

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

And, Sandra even took the time to show people little tweaks, like shoulder adjustments and such, that would help them improve the fit.

Another highlight of the day was the pattern free-for-all.  Before the event, everyone had been asked to bring patterns that they didn’t want anymore.  And, you wouldn’t have believed how many patterns showed up!  Tables and tables! Even after everyone had gotten their fill, there were still tons of patterns left. Just look at this table! I snapped this photo after the flurry of pattern picking was over!

Pattern Review Weekend Recap at sewwell.wordpress.com

There was a long pause in the lessons during the middle of the day for lunch.  I joined a lovely bunch of ladies for salads and sandwiches at Cup-A-Joe Coffee House just up the road.  During the short breaks in the event, I wandered around and said hi to my local sewing friends who were sitting at other tables – Beth of SunnyGal Studio, Jean of J.Kaori Sews, Vanessa, and more.  I also met the ladies who started Lolita Patterns, Amity and Nhi.

The evening ended with a quick stop by Britex (as an aside, they’re having a 30% off sale today if you’re local!) and then dinner at Buca di Beppo, a family-style, pasta-centric eatery.  Food was eaten, prizes were given away, and we all generally had a great time.  When all was said and done, it was getting pretty late.  As I headed off towards the Caltrain, I thought to call my husband and tell him I was on my way home.  He, in turn, thought to check the Caltrain schedule and informed me that the first train was leaving in six or seven minutes and then the next would not leave for another hour.  I quickly said good bye and started running!  In my handmade dress and cute little shoes, and with my fancy camera and Pattern Review goodie bag in hand!  And, would you believe it – I jumped on the train just moments before the doors closed.  Perfect timing!

And, that pretty much wraps up what I can remember of that lovely day.  I skipped out on the day two shopping spree since I didn’t want to add any more fabric to my stash before having to pack it all up for the move.  It did sound like Stone Mountain and Daughter was going to be the popular place to be though.

It sounds like the 2014 Pattern Review Weekend is going to be held early May in Austin, Texas (mentioned at the end of their write up about the event here).  Mark your calendars!

9 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: Pattern Review Weekend 2013 Recap

  1. Thanks for sharing your recap of Pattern Review event. I agree with you about Sandra Betzina — what you see online is what you get in real life! I have been a fan of hers since back in the days of videos :). Also attended in person classes whenever available.

    1. She mentioned her DVD video lessons, but I’ve never watched them – just her Craftsy classes. It’s good to know you’ve gotten a lot out of her teaching both live and on video!

  2. Amy, thanks for remembering me! I had a lovely time sitting at your table, and continue to enjoy reading your blog. I hope you are enjoying Seattle and finding many new fabric shops there (to buy adorable baby fabric!)

    1. Yes, of course! And, thanks so much! Do you remember the names of some of the other people at our table? I can see their faces, but I can’t remember their names. Also, you should definitely keep going to events with the wonderful Bay Area sewing enthusiasts. I miss you guys so much! And, if you ever delve into the world of blogging, let me know!

  3. That looks like it was fun. I would love to attend but I do not know if Austin in May will work for me.

    1. Honestly, I probably won’t make it to Austin next May either. But, one can hope! (And, one can also try to motivate others as motivation for oneself as well!)

  4. That was a fun day, wasn’t it, Amy!? (It really was just the one day, unless you went shopping. I didn’t do the shopping either.) It was so nice to see everyone and meet new people! I did not take any pics, so it’s nice to see the ones you took!

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