Staff Challenge 2014

Faithful readers may remember my previous posts about the spoonflower staff challenge.

On a weekly basis, spoonflower holds a fabric design contest which is open to anyone as long as their design fits the “theme” of the week. But once a year, the contest is closed to outsiders and spoonflower employees are given the chance to design fabric and submit it to the public for voting.

Previous years have had a “project” component where we designed fabric and then actually crafted an object out of that fabric. It was super involved and took a lot of time and inspiration and ended up taking weeks of preparation.

This year, they decided to do something a little different. Instead, it was more of an Iron Chef style challenge where everyone who wanted to participate signed up for a 1hour time slot.

We were told in advance that we would have to craft a design out of mystery materials and that we wouldn’t be able to use any image altering software other than the crop tool and the spoonflower color-changing tool.

We weren’t allowed to bring any materials with us. When we arrived we were shown a table full of various craft supplied. Some were in a category of “You can use any of these” and some were in a category “You have to use three of these.” When we had 10 min left we were told to scan our design in, and upload it to spoonflower. That was it.



It was very fun and very silly. Above you can see my design (set in its repeat, and a close up so you can see the textures). I used brown craft paper, and cut up paint chips, and green twist-ties, and string, and fake floor laminate, and small metal washers. It all ended up okay in the end, but about three quarters of the way through I was a bit worried.

After the contest I also made an updated version which I messed about with in photoshop to hide the repeat line, and add some extra flowers.


Science Girl Eats – AGAIN

This is the dress I made for Science of Eats 2014. I’ve been super busy lately, but I still wanted to do a new Science Girl outfit, so I made up this dress pattern in about 10 seconds. And by made it up, I mean I decided to attach a simple circle skirt to the waist of these deer-and-doe tshirts. I chose mushrooms because it was part of the theme of this year’s event to seed your own mushroom log.

This dress is made of Spoonflower’s new Modern Jersey. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this fabric, and the more I sew with it the more I love it. The fabric is designed by Nadja Petremande.


Also a cool trick for all those lazy seamstresses out there like me: If you have a serger that can do a rolled hem (and most can!) you can get that curly hem effect by simply stretching the fabric out as far as you can while sewing a rolled hem. Just choose a thread color that compliments or contrasts your fabric, and you get a fantastic effect with almost no effort.


Butterick Apron Dress B4790 ★★★

15lineartI so wish I could recommend this pattern. Its fun and unique and weird, and should be very comfortable and very easy! But… Clearly the transition from “retro” sizing to modern sizing lost something along the way. I’m not the only person who’s had trouble fitting this pattern. The darts are oddly placed, and weirdly sized.

There are people that have done work to make this pattern actually fit like it should, but for the most part I’m just too lazy and disappointed to try again. If you want to try your hand at it though, I’d recommend this tutorial.

I used this pattern in this project: Librarian Apron Dress

Librarian Apron Dress

I was planning this dress out nearly a year ago. I never actually got around to finishing it until we got crazy snowed in this week.

The pattern is the Retro Butterick 4790 dress. It has an interesting structure, its all one piece that goes over your head and connects in the back and the front. I’ve been meaning to try it out for awhile, just for that uniqueness.


I found the sizing a little odd, which is not unusual for retro patterns. Luckily, it has a very casual fit, so it works out. The waist was very tiny and the bodice was a little large. I used ties in the front instead of buttons, which also made the fit easier. It has that great classic ‘50s silhouette, and the full skirt swings around your knees. I can just imagine a crazy librarian wandering around and climbing up ladders and dusting shelves in this dress. It makes me happy.

I wrote a review of this pattern here: Butterick Apron Dress B4790 ★★★


I designed my own fabric for the front part of the “apron.” It features quotes from my favorite authors, including Dorothy Sayers (as always), Neil Gaiman (for an even longer always), Lois McMaster Bujold, Jasper Fforde, JRR Tolkein, Connie Willis, and others.


Words mean a lot to me. A lot a lot. I want to wear my favorite words, because I take them with me everywhere anyways. This will at least warn people what they’re dealing with when they talk to me.


The fabric is Spoonflower’s organic cotton sateen. The quotes fabric is by me, you can see it here. The book spines fabric is a lovely design by peacoquettedesigns, and I’ve wanted to do something with it ever since I first saw it.