Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not quite Project Runway, but close enough!

Wow, the last two days have been simply dizzying... in a good way, I assure you!!

On Friday, I packed up my entries for the Montgomery County Fair and headed over to the fairgrounds to register them in the Home Arts category. I had six entries altogether (and I'll write about them in a separate post). I got there right as the registration desk opened at 2pm. It took a while to get my entries written up, and then because I was nervous about it being damaged, I carried the Jafar costume (on a dress form) into the exhibit hall so I could be sure it was set up safely.
While I was getting it all arranged, two of the building volunteers approached me. "Have you heard about Project G Street?" one asked.
Yes, I said, I had heard about it but didn't enter. "Well," she continued, "Audrey here had a team member drop out suddenly and is looking for a replacement. Would you be interested?"
Project G Street was a new event this year at the County Fair. Eight teams of three would spend a day creating outfits using only fabric gleaned from a pile donated by G Street Fabrics. Teams were also given a $25 gift certificate to G Street to purchase things like zippers and buttons. The teams gathered on Thursday evening to pick their fabrics and get the theme: "The Sophisticated Fair-Goer." They were supposed to design their outfits, then choose patterns and notions on Friday. Teams were not permitted to use anything from home other than sewing machines, tools and thread. Sewing would take place on Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. and concluding at 6:00 p.m. with a Runway show in the Home Arts Building.
So here it was, about 3:00 pm Friday, and I was peppering Audrey with questions. Did she have much sewing experience? (Yes, some) Who else was on the team? (Her 12-year-old daughter) Had she already chosen the fabrics and garment design? (Yes, sketches and fabrics were in her car) Would she be the model because I had no desire to do the runway walk? (Sure)
I warned her that I can have a tendency to be bossy and competitive in situations like this, and when she said that wouldn't faze her, I agreed to help.
Yeah, I'm nuts.
We went out to her car and looked over what she had. I told her I have completely forgotten how to alter commercial patterns and said I'd much prefer drafting something with PMB. She was fine with that, so I measured her right there in the parking lot (got some interesting looks from the security guard, too!). Then I headed home to start drafting the patterns and gather my sewing stuff together, as we had to deliver all our supplies to the hall before 8pm.
By about 6pm I was back in the hall with all my gear and eight huge pages of printouts from my plotter, with patterns for a knit top, pants, jacket, purse and hat. Audrey and I put our heads together to figure out what else was needed and I gave her a shopping list for G Street for that evening. Then I headed home to get some sleep and prepare for the coming day's insanity.

This was our designated sewing area. The area draped in white behind the tables was one of two dressing areas for the team models. I brought my Viking 1+ and Rowenta steam generator iron, and Audrey brought her Brother sewing machine and serger. I also had a big cutting board and lots of scissors, pins and marking tools.

The Fair Queen and Prince started us off at 9:00 a.m. with words of encouragement and a rousing "Ready, Set, SEW!"

Audrey cutting out one of the parts of the knit top she would wear. She loved using my scissors and pattern weights!

Our first finished outfit parts: the sun hat and purse in matching fabrics. Audrey made the rosette and leaves. The hat and bag patterns were both from Wild Ginger's free Wild Things program.

I didn't realize until well into the afternoon that the purple fabric had been shedding all over my pants the entire day!!

We only really had one minor crisis: My Viking 1+ was acting up (shredding the needle thread), so we were doing all the sewing on her Brother. But she didn't have a buttonhole foot for her machine! Here we were frantically going through the boxes of machine accessories she had, to no avail. And her machine was just smart enough not to let us sew a buttonhole with the incorrect foot. Dang!! But luckily, by sewing very, very slowly, I was able to do the buttonhole on my machine without incident. Whew!
We finished with just five minutes to spare... the only thing that we just couldn't get to was adding the purple piping to the jacket.

Here's Audrey being dressed and prepped for the Runway.

We all lined up behind the Fair Queen and Prince, who were holding the Project G Street banner, and paraded to the Home Arts building for the runway show.

We got a lot of cheers and applause as we made our way through the tents.

We waited outside until the audience was seated in the hall.

Then it was our turn to go in and start the show!

Here's Audrey taking her turn down the runway.

So who won?
This outfit took third place, with a prize of a $100 G Street gift certificate.

This romper and jacket set took second place ($200) gift certificate). The team consisted of three teenagers, and the quality of the work was really amazing!

To my total lack of amazement, this dress took the top prize ($300). It was simply stunning in every details: the fit, the workmanship and that pop of red in the flounce that was picked up by the shoes.

In the end, we got a fourth-place ribbon, which came with a $25 G Street certificate which I told Audrey to keep. All the teams' outfits will be on display at the fair for the rest of the week, and will then go to G Street Fabrics to be displayed for about a month. After that, Audrey is so excited that she will get to take the outfit home, because she simply loved it! She said the pants were the most comfortable ones she's ever worn, and she plans to make the shirt again too. Her daughter (at right) already has designs on the hat.
As for me, I get the satisfaction of having taught Audrey some sewing tricks, but even more than that, I think I've found a new friend! We got along so well all throughout the day and were always laughing, so it really made the hours just fly by. She's already told me she wants to do it again next year, and she wants to team up with me again. I'm in!


  1. Congrats! How wonderful of you to do this last minute challenge. Thanks for sharing your process and the runway show. Looks like everyone had a terrific time.

  2. What a fun contest! Your entry and the others look great.

  3. Wow, what an adventure! With new friends, too!

  4. Welmoed, you are such a good sport! Looks wonderful! Of course, I love purple.



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