Welcome to Sewing Stadium! Home of the Top Stitcher sewing challenge, and the jaw-dropping creations of the most imaginative minds in the sew-blogging world. You're in for a real treat. Go get inspired!

{hacker} Word Play

Today's contestants probably had the most challenging prompt, but you'd never know it by looking at what they sewed!

Homonyms are words that sound the same, but have different meanings. And while their popularity among students of the English language is only so-SEW, it SEAMS that sewing bloggers can’t get enough! Which gave me the NOTION to craft this wordplay prompt! Design an outfit around the homophone pair of your choice, and then incorporate as many of them as possible.
— Word Play Prompt

As a hacker, judges will pay special attention to your use of patterns. Find a way to marry two patterns by the same name, or whose designers share the same name.

Ajaire's Entry:

Hi!  I'm Ajaire from Call Ajaire and I'm excited to be around for another season of Top Stitchers.  My favorite part of this competition is the prompts.  Becca comes up with so many amazing ideas and you never know what direction your inspiration prompt will take you.  For this Hackers challenge, the prompt of using a homonym pair to inspire a look was super fun.  I picked peek/peak right away and ran away with it!

As sewing bloggers, we are all used to posting "sneak peeks" of an outfit on social media.  I swear every time I type sneak peek I want to write sneak peak so it was the perfect homonym pair for me to choose (yes I know technically they are homophones, but for the sake of this challenge it's all under the same umbrella).

For the "peak" portion of the pairing I was inspired by autumn leaves at their peak color.  All those deep reds, purples, yellows, and oranges make me so happy and are the reason that fall is by far my favorite season.

Call Ajaire Top Stitchers Word Play 1 knee highs inspiration.png

I've had this knit print from JoAnn Fabrics in my stash for ages and it was the first thing I grabbed once I had my inspiration words.  The trees and leaves in the design are the perfect colors to represent the peak of color.  I made a pair of The Wolf and Tree's brand new Abby's Trailblazing (*affiliate link) socks pattern in the thigh high length and am completely in love with them.  I added a bit of elastic at the yoga cuff and these stay up even after hours of play.

Once those thigh highs gave me a color story to stick to, the rest of the outfit came right together.  I hacked and hacked in my head until I had three more pieces to make up the complete look.  I made sure there were names that were part of a homonym pair involved in all three, but the vest might be my favorite.  I spent time in France during college and one of my favorite phrases I picked up was "ca pique!"  This means it's spicy and any time I ordered a kabab and asked for the spicy sauce, the guy would say "ca pique!" as a warning and it cracked me up.  So as a tribute I used "pique" as a third homonym to the peek/peak pair by hacking the All Spice Dress from Paisley Roots.  Get it?  All SPICE?  hehe.  Anyway, ages ago I saw a cool vest hack of the pattern and I'd been dying to try it for my girl.  It's hard to see the tiny pleat details going down the front of the vest in the pics, but in person they along with the square neckline really make the vest stand out.  I used purple linen and a red plaid that I've had in my stash for ages and I love how they look together.  I'm not used to using so much red, but by adding some purple in for my purple loving girl it's mixes things up a bit.

The hoodie is a mashUp of the Peek A Boo Hoodie by Lil Luxe Collection and the Hyde Park Hoodie by Peek a Boo Patterns.  So Peek a Boo mashed with Peek a Boo, but the key to the peak portion of the hoodie is the snap placket I added.  I used the idea of the asymmetrical Hyde Park zipper to make a snap placket on the peek a boo hoodie.  The original pattern has a neck that is wide enough that it doesn't need any closures, but I really wanted a functioning snap placket detail on this hoodie.  I angled the placket from the kangaroo pocket in toward the center of the neckline resembling the side of a mountain peak.  This meant adding placket pieces and redoing the hood to fit a different (open) neckline, but it turned out just right.  The fabric is a french terry with quilted jersey lining.  I quilted the jersey myself since I didn't have any on hand and didn't want to purchase anything new for this project.

The shorts are from the Kids Clothes Sewing Lesson (*affiliate link) Japanese pattern book, view E-2.  I love the look of the original shorts and they are called the Balloon Shorts once translated.  Since balloon can mean both the object itself AND to puff up I thought it was the perfect excuse to finally make these shorts.  I used the Right Off The Cuff project from Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me (*affiliate link) book to change up the cuffs of the shorts.  Though her project is intended to be a wrist cuff, I thought it'd be cute mashed with the balloon shorts and since right/write fulfills the homonym requirement I went with it.  I'm so in love with how this eclectic outfit came together and can't wait to use the separate pieces as part of Bean's regular wardrobe.  And now if I've piqued your interest, head on over to Call Ajaire to see all the rest of the outfit details.  (see what I did there?  piqued?  hehe)

Starly's Entry:

"Wordplay you say? Homophones? That's like puns right? Oh my, I am terrible at that!! " These were the things going through my mind when Ajaire and I got our prompts. I like reading wordplay. Puns are funny, they are just not obvious to me so my brain rarely goes that direction when I am being funny. This is sad considering I live in the home of the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships. I signed up for a challenge though and I needed to get inspired by a pair of homophones so research was in order. 

I lived, 8, and breathed homophones for an entire week. I knew I had to get this nailed down to get my inspiration so I could plan a look. First I refreshed myself on the rules Next, I went to Pinterest for some visual inspiration. That was a bust, lots of lists there, not very visual. I hopped over to youtube where I found possibly the most amazing video of all time, about homophones,  Between the Lions -Brian McKnight and Cleo the Lion present "Homophones Sadly, that did not contain a lot of ideas either. I bought the book 200 HOMOPHONE JOKES FOR WORDPLAY LOVERS containing such awesome as "“What happens to famous drum players when they die? They become cymbals." thinking some jokes would help. I loved reading it, but was no closer to my inspiration. Finally, I took a massive list and starting crossing out things I was definitely -not- inspired by. This got me down to a short list.

  • Petal/peddle - Combine bicycles and flowers
  • Flour/Flower - Coat or Overalls made from a flour sack over flowers
  • Plains/Planes - Photo realistic grass fabric something and airplanes
  • Rain/Reign - A Queen in rain gear
  • Blue/Blew - Blue Wool Coat, Clothes with bubble elements, bubble fabric
  • Lamb/Lam - Lamb bandit

Lamb on the Lam inspired me the most. Lamb Bandit just felt so much fun. I knew I wanted to mix prison stripes, some pink sheep, and some curly lamb fur. I wanted to make pieces I could mix into other outfits. I knew the perfect sheep fabric could be found at Mabel Madison, so I started there and built the outfit around the pink and grey versions. 

Since this was a hacker competition I needed to do some hacking. We had to use two patterns with the same name, or two patterns from designers that share the same name. I decided to use patterns from designers named Kate because I had patterns from both See Kate Sew and Pattern Emporium on my wishlist, and both share the name of my daughter =)  I created a tunic using the See Kate Sew Manhattan Blouse and the Little Miss Sweetie Pie Dress from Pattern Emporium.  I loved the angles in both of these patterns, the bodice of the Manhattan, the pockets and pieced front skirt of the Little Miss Sweetie Pie. They are fabulous on their own and both have iconic elements of the designer so I thought they would make a great mash. 

For the jacket I used the FREE cropped fur jacket from See Kate Sew.  I altered it a bit by enlarging the 3T 25% to fit my 5 year old and I lined it using this baby faux fur vest pattern/tutorial.  I used this super soft amazing Curly faux lamb fur from Stylish Fabric.

The leggings are the Made for Mermaids Bonny Leggings I love these leggings, they have two different waistband options and even an option for an overskirt! 

The beret is the the FREE Blue Beret pattern from Lil Blue Boo.  I made 4 of these pink hats using different textured pink knit fabric until I settled on this crushed panne and ribbing version that I think is pretty perfect =) This pattern comes in adult size too and it's so quick to whip up so one for myself will be done in short order. 


Every lamb bandit needs a fancy money bag to haul her loot so I winged one out of the crushed panne and some random shiny gold I got from the remnant bin at Hancock's. I used my Silhouette to make the vinyl dollar sign. My daughter loves this bag so hard. She has been carrying it around everywhere. I plan to remove the vinyl and give it some Free Motion Applique love with StitchART's Bella the Dancer so she can use it as her ballet bag. 

With her spoils of jewels and big money, the lamb bandit is on the run, by the lake. A Lamb on the lam. On the way to the shoot she was so worried about what the cops were going to think if they saw her "being a robber" by the lake. Traumatize Kid with challenge, Check! 

This challenge was sew much fun! Have you had enough homophones yet?  I hope not because believe it or not I found another amazing video about homophones that you must check out. I leave you with Homophones the Musical by Andrew Pollak.

Before you give your ratings, here's a quick refresher of the rules!

  • You will rate rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here) New to Season 2 - 50% of the vote will come from 3 Top Stitcher Alumnae who volunteered to judge this season's creations!
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PICK A FAVORITE! Any week, any sew-down, you are welcome to reward both sewists with the highest scores. Or one sewist higher than another in different categories. This is a contest against each contestant's personal best, not against one another.
Ajaire's Technique *
(Technique) Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Starly's Technique *
(Technique) Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Ajaire's Creativity *
(Creativity) Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Starly's Creativity *
(Creativity) Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Ajaire's Presentation *
(Presentation) Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Starly's Presentation *
(Presentation) Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Ajaire's Degree of Difficulty *
(Degree of Difficulty) Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Starly's Degree of Difficulty *
(Degree of Difficulty) Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Leave Some Feedback? *
(Leave some love!) Let this week's challengers know what you liked best from each look!