Saturday, May 03, 2014

Seeing the future of sewing!

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by one of the Sewing Instructors at Fabricland in North Plainfield, NJ.  Every year they host a "Project Fabricland" contest for their students ages 12-18.  This is the 8th year of the program and they wanted to know if I was interested in being a judge for the competition.

Was I?!  I think I jumped up and down and screamed a little before saying yes! *LOL*  You know how much I love encouraging people to enjoy this obsession of mine.  The fact that I would be encouraging the future of our art form was an added bonus to me!

So hear are the deets...
  • The students take either a 12 or 20 week course at Fabricland.
  • They work on this garment during that time.
  • They are given an inspiration idea - this year it was an animal.
  • The garment made had to symbolize the inspirational animal.
  • A mood/inspiration board had to be prepared to show the idea for the garment and include the cost of the garment as well as the patterns used.
  • For some this was their first year participating.  For others they had been involved from the beginning and others were on there second or third time.
  • There were 21 students involved.
  • The judging was Wednesday, the fashion show is Sunday at 2pm at North Plainfield High.

First can I say that It.Was.Amazing!  I know that even though I loved to sew at that age, I wouldn't have had the confidence to enter a contest like this one. Most of the girls were a little shy but some were so confident, perky and amazing. The garments they made were so well thought out and quite a few of them awesomely constructed.

There were three judges, Tom - who is a costume designer who has designed and sewn for Broadway shows, as well local high school productions.  Jeanie - who runs her own sewing business doing anything from alterations to bridal and prom dresses and me.

We judged on the following criteria:
  • Fit
  • How well did the garment fit the inspiration
  • How successful was the Mood Board
  • How well the garment was sewn/constructed
  • The design idea

The scoring was from 0 - 10 with 10 being the highest point you could give.

Each girl came out and discussed her garment, it's inspiration and the construction technique. Some were very eloquent...some needed the assistance of their teacher.  All had been sewing at least 2 years, most more than that!  

The garments ran the gamut from casual to prom like.  Most were made from patterns...but there was a self-drafted skirt...and a gown where the young lady had painted the fabric.  

Inspiration boards were diverse with a hand painted background, ribbons added, raffia, loads of wonderful details. Most were as well thought out as the garments.

It was the perfect way to spend an evening. It was also a glimpse into the future of sewing! It reassured me that sewing is going to live on and as an sewist who loves this art form, it makes my heart skip a beat with joy!

I took loads of pics ~

                  Erika - her blog is: Erika Made It              Nancy and Chris the sewing instructors 
                                                                                      along with one of the contestants

Judging area

Pictures of previous contestants in "Project Fabricland" 
and students work...

Finally, there is a fashion show where all of the girls get to show their designs/creations to their friends and family.  It's tomorrow at 2pm at North Plainfield High School at 34 Wilson Avenue in North Plainfield.  The cost of the fashion show is $12 at the door and the fee is being donated to the Plainfield Area Humane Society.  All of the information regarding the fashion show can be found here.

I hope if you live in the area and have an opportunity to come by that you will. I plan on being there and hope to see you there too!

Finally ~ here are my three favorite pieces of the 21 that were presented. If you come tomorrow, please tell me what your three favorite pieces are...

Her inspiration was a butterfly!

Her inspiration was a lion!

Her inspiration was a salmon! always more later!


  1. How exciting! The three you picked are fabulous. I love lion inspired garment the best,

  2. How exciting for you to be a judge of this wonderful project. I love all three of your choices and it is hard to pick a favourite.

  3. Yay! Great article Carolyn, we loved having you as a judge! It was so fun to meet you and can't wait to see you tomorrow! I have to finish my hat for the special occasion!

  4. Congratulations to all the sewers! They did their inspirations proud. What an honor to be able to judge the competition.

  5. Whatman awesome opportunity and good luck to all the contestants.

    1. Ooops.. meant what an awesome opportunity. ..

  6. Sounds like a great time! I love the three that you chose--and all three nailed their fit, as well.

  7. This is a wonderful challenge, and you showcased such great talent. I like the salmon dress! Gorgeous!

  8. What a great event! The future of sewing is indeed in good hands.

  9. Wow, what an interesting contest and a great inspiration for the future. All the participants should be proud of their initiative and creativity.

  10. Very nice! I love the salmon inspired garment the most.

  11. That is pretty cool, Carolyn! How nice of you to spend some time encouraging the next generation.

  12. What a cool project, and you couldn't be a better judge! I'm sure your love of sewing encouraged them as much as your informed judging. I hope somewhere the entire group will be posted, after the show. Bravo! K

  13. What a great post! The sewing future is looking very promising lately. These young ladies are so impressive in their skills as well as their confidence. I can't wait to hear about the fashion show and the winners. They are all winners, IMO.

    I have been blessed to be made a member of a closed FB page for new and not so new sewists. Most of them are very young so I am honored they put me on their roster. I have become so excited about their work, it's quality and design. They sew with No Fear but great eyes and skill. I am re evaluation the state of "young" sewing because of them and must say it is in good hands. This art is continuing and it is so wonderful to see it be re invented by those who care.

  14. That is so exciting. It gave me chills reading about these young people using their imaginations and talents. It was wonderful of you give your time and encouragement to them. I love our sewing community!

  15. Wow!!!!! I am so impressed by their work! That is so amazing!

  16. Don't you just love doing this -and like you I feel it's such an honor. But I'm so careful about my comments cause I always want them to be instructive, and not confusing or negative! But at the same time they need to know whether they are on the right track or not! Wow! Another feather in your cap!!!!

  17. What a great opportunity! Fun!

  18. Very detailed! Thx for sharing. I was what they call a judge for an annual 4-H fashion venue about 6 weeks ago, and did it for the same county in 2011, 2012. Really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, wasn't able to take pics and judge (write comments on their scoring sheets). Plus, 4-H is kinda strict with pics so I didn't want to take any chances.

    Also learned that you never know how much you know. Had a guy judge (2 of us) this time. After they left, their brought their outfits back (unworn) for further examination. I could immediately tell that one teen serged her entire outfit (cute dress)-even though she didn't say it when she described the outfit. :-). Amazing how I could tell. :-)

  19. this is so wonderful! i know you hit the roof in excitement!!!

  20. How cool was that!!! I am so glad that you posted about this. Like you I wonder if sewing will survive with the next generations. I think that it will and fashion shows like this will keep this going. Wish we had a Fabricland to bring this to our area. I really enjoyed seeing the three you selected and can see how they may have interpreted the garment based on the specific animal.

  21. Sounds like a blast! You should have loads of fun today.

  22. Congratulations two times! One for judging and one for being able to encourage these ladies to design, create and sew. I simply love this type of news!

  23. How wonderful is it to see teen sewists?! I can't get over their creativity and craftsmanship. Thanks for posting this... and I forgive you for not picking me to win Looking Good :)


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