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Sewing with Threads Podcast

Variations on a Theme with Becky Fulgoni | Episode 50

Video: Threads magazine

Longtime Threads contributor Becky Fulgoni is challenging herself to design and sew variations on a theme based on a single pattern. She’s detailing her journey in the upcoming series Riffs on a Trusted Pattern. She chats about her self challenge with Editorial Director Sarah McFarland and Senior Technical Editor Carol Fresia. Plus, she gives a sneak peek of garments she’s already made.

Starting with a blank slate

Becky has begun posting about the yearlong project she has set for herself: starting with a tried-and-true pattern (TNT), and creating a whole range of garments from it. She’ll work with the Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern, by Rae Cumbie, from FitForArtPatterns.com. This style has a unique shoulder and square armscye seam that are easy for her to fit and sew. The panels in this pattern make it ideal for embellishment and surface design.

In her previous experience with this pattern, Becky says she learned how to adapt and adjust the fit depending on whether she is making a jacket or blouse. For outerwear, she may add width across the back of the shoulders. The side panels come in two shapes: straight and flared. Becky also uses these panels to fine-tune the fit when needed.

Additional examples of Becky’s creations with this pattern can be found on her page at ThreadsMagazine.com.

Constraints lead to creativity

Becky Fulgoni white shirt challenge: Four finished tops on hangers in a tropical setting
Becky Fulgoni’s 2021 garment-sewing self challenge resulted in a collection of white tops. Here are just four from her yearlong project.

This is not the first time Becky has taken on a one-year challenge. In 2021, she decided to make one white shirt every month, each different from all the others. In that iteration, she began with a bit of planning or imagining what she might make. Over the course of the year, she found that her location (Key West, Florida, in the winter and Michigan in the summer), and upcoming events, influenced the final designs. Each month, she updated or adjusted her plans.

Becky says she feels that anyone could do a challenge that doesn’t require a monthly commitment for a full year, and get some of the same creative benefits. She enjoys the limitations set by the challenge. This gives her a problem to solve, and that motivates her design mind. For her, she likes when a challenge pushes her to learn.

When Becky was a design mentor during an in-person fashion challenge at the American Sewing Expo in Novi, Michigan, she guided a group of designers as they worked through a set of constraints in a single weekend. She likes to see how the same set of parameters look different to every individual.

The mindset of wonderment

Becky Fulgoni series: Riffs on a Trusted Pattern

Becky hopes that followers of her Riffs on a Trusted Pattern series learn to find excitement in solving sewing challenges.

Becky Fulgoni lounging in her beach cover-up, a riff on a trusted pattern
Becky’s first riff on a trusted pattern is a beach cover-up.


Becky Fulgoni wearing her bowling shirt, a riff on a trusted pattern
Her second version is a dramatically different bowling shirt.

She talks, too, about how she has learned to manage her inner critic, so each exploration is fun, rather than stressful. Perspective is essential to enjoying the process.

Photos: courtesy of Becky Fulgoni.

ECreate Stitches is an online pattern shop dedicated to  dressmakers. Choose from a growing selection of patterns and styles that are easy to sew and amazing to wear. Look your best every day. Each pattern comes in multiple sizes and includes step-by-step instructions, so you can sew with confidence and be ready for any special occasion. They’re designed to give you a better fit. Your next project is waiting. Go to www.eCreateStitches.com, and get started today.

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