Thursday, June 24, 2010

PR Weekend Montreal - a long post !

I haven’t posted in quite awhile. For the past few weeks, all of my time was consumed with preparation for PR Weekend Montreal 2010 - the very first Canadian PR Weekend ! It was a lot of work - most of my responsibilities were computer-related and so I spent even more time than usual on the computer. It all got finished, but no time for posting or even any sewing.

People started arriving a week before the event and posted their daily activities as they explored Montreal. It was amazing to see what there is to do in my own city that I never knew about.

Friday was the big day - Everyone had arrived and it was time to get the party started !


Once registration was finished, we were treated to 2 fabulous seminars. Kathryn Brenne of The Academy of fine Sewing and Design treated us to a trunk show, describing in great detail the background and construction of the wonderful garments she brought to show us. After a short break, Kathryn continued with a ‘how-to’ take measurements, complete with a volunteer model and telling where, why and how tight to take all of these measurements. There were a few eye-opening moments, I can tell you !

After a long lunch break - it IS Montreal after all, you need time to enjoy the great food! - Jeanne Binet and Emilie Fournier from Jalie took over. Oh my goodness ! In French, Jeanne gave the background history of how Jalie got started with Emilie providing the translation along with her own anecdotes and childhood memories. They had a wonderful interaction with each other and their whole presentation was so enjoyable. After that, Jeanne proceeded to pull out about 5-6 Jalie top patterns that she had cut out and prepared in order to show us how quickly and easily they could be put together as well as some of the tips/tricks involved. I know, myself, once she put together the #2921 The Scarf Collar Top and #2794 The Sweetheart Top I had a much clearer idea of what to do. In approx 2 hours, Jeanne had made 5 tops - it takes me a week to do one !

The cocktail dinner/dress contest was next. I can’t believe I didn’t think to pack ANYTHING I’d made - someone please slap me upside the head LOL. I had a dress for the contest planned, fitted (I think) and cut out, but that was as far as I’d gotten. The photographer took photos of everyone. I’m afraid to see mine ! Anyway, everyone looked gorgeous, the ‘made’ dresses fit perfectly and I have absolutely no idea how the judges narrowed the winners down to the 3 top prizes.

Our judges - Jeanne, Emilie & Kathryn This is the closest I got to getting a full group shot.

Saturday - SHOPPING - the group split into two, half went directly to Montreal’s St. Hubert Street, the other half went with Jeanne & Emilie to where they purchase some of their knits. Suzie Spandex is not usually open to the public and so I went with this group to take advantage of the opportunity. We made 3 stops (Suzie Spandex, Stretch Text and Tonitex) before heading back to St Hubert Street to meet up with the rest of the group about noon. Most everyone walked the few blocks to the Jean Talon Market for lunch - Wow, I live here and had never been to this market - I’ll be going back for sure ! The afternoon was spent in the 6 blocks or so of fabric stores ogling/petting/caressing/drooling over and of course, buying fabric. I was very restrained , only 4 pieces total - but I can always go back for more LOL

Saturday evening, we returned to the dorms, tired but ready for the pizza party and fabric show & tell and fabric/pattern swap. After filling up on pizza each one got up, admitted (yes, some hedged on the number :-) ) to their total yardage bought and showed off their favorite pieces. Connie & I totalled it up later, we cleaned out Montreal shops of about 700m of fabric !

These pieces were my contribution to the Montreal economy...

Bottom left - Suzie Spandex - black yoga pant fabric ($11/m - 3m) - they tell me it's the same as the fabric used for some really expensive brand name athletic wear (don't remember the name) - it feels wonderful but I couldn't tell you the fibre content.
Top left - Stretch Text - royal blue sports mesh ($1/m - approx 4m) - this was on a $1/m table and the man cutting for me wore me down to taking the whole bolt, charged me $4 and I've yet to measure it out accurately - probably closer to 5m. Hopefully to be turned into tees for hubby.
Middle - Goodman's - brown/mint green poly knit ($7/m - 3m) - this is slippery ! but oh so soft - definitely will try a knit dress
Right - Tueni - Silk/rayon blend ($9/m - 2m) - I was looking at a blue print but Connie who was my own personal adviser that day (Thanks Connie !) said 'not really', got opinions from everyone in the store, including the owner - who was so so so helpful - and they all decided the red print would suit better. Apparently, I'm not looking at bright/bold enough colors :-) This is my first silk, hopefully to become Burda 02-2009-124.
The small cream piece at the far right is 1yard of about 5" stretch lace, Connie assures me underwear is not difficult to make and for $3 it's worth trying it out.

Fabric Swap - the knit print on the right was put on the table directly in front of me - and I don't think anyone else even saw it - do you think it's bright enough ? Connie approved ! The piece on the left is a cotton printed with hairdryers, toothbrushes, etc. A totebag was suggested. I'm leaning towards a skirt - yes, I'd wear it ! They are both about 1m. The 2 patterns are in my size and I'm looking forward to trying the dress, I like the seaming at the bodice.

Sunday was our last morning :-( , depending on flight/trains departure times, people were leaving at different times throughout the day. For those staying through to the afternoon, we had one last outing planned - to the McCord Museum to see the ’Simply Montreal’ and the Cirque du Soleil exhibits. There was also a private showing of a small portion of their educational collection. There were a lot of ‘itchy’ fingers wanting to touch what we weren’t allowed to touch! It is very hard to describe the feeling to be looking at garments over 100 years old.

I had a fabulous weekend. Meeting and talking with everyone, all these wonderful women that I read reviews and blogs and feel such a connection with, it was so far beyond what I imagined it would be. I can’t wait til I’m able to attend another one, and there WILL be another one!

Now, DH made sure I had the camera, an empty memory card and a pile of spare batteries - but I have to admit, I only took a few pics before I just got too busy running around. So I’ll apologize and, if you would like to see more pics, point you to the PR Weeknd Flickr Group that Deepika created.

Deepika, Ann-Marie, Kay, Connie - it was a good team and I was proud to be part of it - thanks !

Kathryn, Jeanne, Emilie - thanks so much for your wonderful presentations, I learned a lot from all of you !


  1. I had such a great time! Thank you for all the effort you put into it and it was a pleasure to meet you.

  2. I'm so jealous! I wish I could have come to play - it looks & sounds like big fun. I can't wait to see the skirt you make from that fun print. g

  3. As I wrote on another blog I so wish I could have made it. My son was graduating and we had already made plans. ....hopefully there will be another and I will be there for sure. Sounds like it was a fantastic time. I will try to make it to Montreal possibly this year and try some of the fabric shops....especially Madelaine’s :) I wonder if I too will be serenaded :)

  4. I have that Simplicity skirt pattern, and I love it. The godets take a little concentration, but are soooo cute! I love your floral pattern, and can't wait to see a skirt from your fun yellow print. Glad you had a great time.

  5. Where did everyone go, eh??!! COME BACK!! ;)
    Soft sighs... Claire, anyone who thinks my DH is a sweetie is special to moi!! ;)


Thanks for talking to me - I love comments !