Lessons Learned during PR&P

A few days ago, I started a link-up for Project Run and Play contestants from Season 12 (and anyone else who sewed along) to share what we learned during the contest.  I think all of us are getting back into the groove of regular sewing and blogging after the intense competition. Tami from SewSophieLynn and Miranda from Inspinration have both shared their lovely thoughts in our “Things I Learned During PRP” Link-Up that is open through tomorrow!

Today I’m going to share a few general lessons I learned during PR&P as well as some very specific skills I am proud to have picked up during the contest.

General Lessons: 

  1. People do actually read our blog. It’s amazing. Sometimes you click “Publish” on a post and wonder who is reading it. But we know now that we have many fans and friends who follow along with what we are making. We also love reading your comments and seeing your creations! Thank you for following us and supporting us. 
  2. Comparison is the thief of joy. This is a HUGE struggle for me personally. The goal of Project Run and Play is to build a positive, inspiring community of sewists. There is SO much talent out there. We all have different tastes, different kids, and different creative philosophies. I *mostly* resisted the urge to compare myself to other contestants and focus on what brings me delight in sewing for children. When I read the results on week 4, I called my husband to tell him and he said, “You enjoyed sewing her outfit so much, getting to know the other contestants, and you made clothes she loves.” It’s definitely a “win” all-around in our books! 
  3. I am more creative than I think I am. Most of my sewing time for the kids is done out of sheer necessity. I have two daughters that are very hard-to-fit because they measure around a 5/6 for chest, but need a 10/12 for length. This means that I often don’t get the time to just sew something because it’s fun or because I have an idea. Project Run and Play forced me to draw sketches, hack patterns, and even design my own bag and boot cuff patterns. It also really got me to evaluate my use of and understanding of color and material. Since this friendly competition was filled with talented bloggers from six different blogs, I wanted to bring out my best efforts. Having this challenge re-sparked the special JOY I take in sewing. I actually find I’m spending less time looking for new ideas and more time coming up with my own since then. 
  4. Sewing friends are the best friends. All of us at Sew and Tell Project have a strong kindred connection, but there were several times during the contest where I needed something (ranging from help matching fabric to opinions when I couldn’t decide). I even drove 25 miles one night to borrow heat transfer vinyl from my friend Katie since Amazon wasn’t going to deliver the color I needed on time!

Technical Skills:

Welt pockets. I pretty much turned red, then white, then blue from holding my breath making them for the first time. My first one didn’t turn out perfectly but my second was MUCH better. Now I can’t wait to make the Jennuine Designs Moto Jacket again and nail them.


Using my Cricut for heat transfer vinyl. While each week, Emily, Genie, and I did all of our own sewing for our looks, I did send Emily the Pokemon Gotta Catch Some ZZZ’s HTV since she     doesn’t have a cutting machine. I actually sent her two so she would have a back-up since she’d never used HTV either. When we were sewing we always tried to give ourselves some room for error since the contest has very firm deadlines.


I didn’t actually learn how to APPLY the HTV myself until I made the bag in Week 4. Luckily Genie is an HTV pro and held my hand across the Internet the night I applied it to the brown canvas for the bag.


Designing this bag was also a challenge. Remember how I said I don’t feel particularly creative? I particularly feel limited int he area of graphic design. Blogging and using Photoshop for my photography to do simple things has forced me to learn a bit more about designing and composing images on my computer. I am very proud of the concept and the design I created in Cricut Design Space.


I learned that if you sew REALLY slowly and carefully, you don’t necessarily need to use a leather needle on suede…. don’t tell anyone. I also learned that when you get into the “groove” you CRAVE adding intricate design elements that you might skip on quicker sews. And you might even choose non-traditional materials to bring a concept to life. I’m particularly proud of using vintage lace trim when the zippered lining tutorial I was following called for twill tape. When you live 40 miles from the nearest JoAnn’s, you sometimes improvise.


And sometimes improvising means buying extra zippers in case one breaks…. or in case you change your mind…. and extra bag hardware because you’re afraid you’ll mess up. So, I also learned that the ladies at JoAnn’s don’t always appreciate it when you return $40 of zippers and hardware that you ultimately didn’t use…. But I apologized profusely and explained why I did it and they were very nice about it.

Inspiration from Zulily

I learned that I can find inspiration on Pinterest…. and make it my own.


I also learned when I was making this top that it is TOTALLY possible to keep sewing without the lid of your bobbin case on…. but it’s still not recommended. #askmehowiknow.


I also learned how to cut felt out on my Cricut. This has been a skill on my “to do” list for two years now. I have enjoyed making simple felt crafts since then with my daughters.



Finally, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s worth it to get one more shot. The above picture was taken at the very end of my PR+P shoot with my oldest daughter and I just love it. It was her idea and I feel it captures the beauty of where we live so well, and is different than my usual photography style.



  1. Felicia | 24th Oct 16

    I loved watching every project, every skill, every technique and every photo. It has really made me feel like I know all of you like you are real-life friends and neighbors. Great job!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *