Friday, January 14, 2011

Fashion Feud 2011

me, Rose, and Georgene

It's rare that you find Shams in a night club gripping a cocktail that is both too delicious for words and too complicated to remember its name, but that is exactly where I was a few nights ago. One of my sewing friends, Georgene of the Sewing Divas, had learned about an event in San Francisco (and also Seattle and Portland), called Fashion Feud 2011. This is the third year of Fashion Feud, but the first time I'd heard of it.

This event, hosted in a local club, is held over four evenings from January to March. The first three evenings pit two designers head to head. Each designer is given identical fabric from Mood, New York and 60 minutes to create a garment on a live model. Meanwhile, a small team of hair and makeup folks prepare the models (clad in black slips) while onstage.

Models being prepped.

This is a very "young" event, with most attendees and the designers in their twenties, I would guess. (When they were carding folks at the entrance, I just balefully looked at the young man.) So there were Georgene, Masouma Rose, and myself, decidedly not twenty-somethings, with our cocktails, in the prime location at the end of the short runway, observing the interesting process.

The two designers were given very little fabric, and it was an unfortunate fuchsia-colored cotton (cotton/poly broadcloth, I think, or maybe cotton sateen) with a coordinating print. Not something that would inspire my mojo, but the designers attacked it with enthusiasm and each had such a different approach.

Designer #1 ironed her fabric and started creating what looked to be a pillowcase. It was a shapeless, sleeveless Grecian-style garment and, for most of the hour, it promised to be a disappointment. She had an enthusiastic cheering section who had great faith in her, however.

Designer #2 (with a much less vocal cheering section) brought a dressform and immediately started draping a very complex piece on it, using plenty of steam from her iron to set the horizontal pleating on top of the sleeve and to form other details.

Designer #2 definitely gave a better show. She draped, she cut interesting shapes on the dressform - it was fun to watch her process. When I would look at Designer #1, I pretty much saw a pillowcase on her table. Since she did not use a dressform, it was much harder to see exactly what she was up to.

At thirty minutes in they "stopped the clock" to briefly interview the designers and #1 said she was making a "draped back dress." Ten minutes to go and #1 finally picked up her coordinating print and started cutting into it. She quickly whipped up a gathered bandeau top that tied in the back. When they announced the one-minute mark, she still hadn't put anything on her model, though #2's model was almost completely ready and #2 was mostly tweaking and cutting threads.

Designer #2. You can see a bit of her interesting design, towards the beginning of the process, on her dressform.

Finally, #1 got the bandeau top on her model and tied in the back. She popped on the pillowcase and did some magic - I think there were some ties in the back underneath the drape to pull the garment in to the body. I then noticed that there was a big triangular cutout in front and, yes, a deep drape in the back, exposing the gathered bandeau top both front and back. The hem dipped to a point at CB.

It was SO DARNED CUTE. And something I had not seen before. My allegiance immediately switched from #2, who was perhaps a little overly ambitious, to #1.

I wonder if #1 always works this way. :)

Time was called, and both designers stepped away from their models for a short modeling/photo op session. The two judges were introduced and attendees were encouraged to vote on their mobile device using the Fashism app available online. I do not own a smart phone, so I did not vote, but the attendees votes were accumulated to a single vote, and the winner was the designer with two or more votes.

Designer #1 won. I was very happy for her. There are two more evenings, similar to this one, and then the winner from the first three events will go head-to-head-to-head at the final event in March.

And that's why I was in a club on a Tuesday night drinking a very delicious $8 drink that I can't remember the name of, (but it was basically a Mimosa with some fancy and tasty addition), and very much enjoying Georgene's and Rose's company. :)

I did not bring a camera and waited to post this, hoping some pics would be posted online, perhaps on the Fashion Feud website, but I have not been able to find any. This surprises me since there were many people there taking pictures, one or two even balanced a camera on my head - I kid you not. Masouma Rose took a few with her mobile device and has kindly allowed me to share them. It was a dark room, and moving models, so forgive the quality of the images.

Designer #1 and her model, wearing the winning design.

The back, with the drape exposing the tied bandeau top. You can see a bit of the back of Designer #2's garment to the right.

Pattern Review Winter Wear Contest

The votes are in and my needle felted coat took 2nd place. Thanks to those of you who voted! You can see the gallery here.

Black Cowl

I have recently realized that I needed a black, warm scarf-like thing to go with three of the coats I've made in the last year. I have a "fashion" (meaning 'not warm') scarf I've been wearing, but it's been too cold! I have a healthy queue of projects I'd like to make over on Ravelry, so I decided to pick one and make it up in some warm black yarn.

I ended up choosing a long cowl that you can wear as a giant loop or doubled, bunched up around your neck. This free pattern is a knock-off of a scarf that Gap was selling last fall. I made mine narrower than designed; since I do not have a long neck, my narrower version was plenty big when worn doubled. I knitted it mostly in one night, using a nice chunky Malabrigo yarn and size 13 needles, though it took me three attempts to cast off, since I kept underestimating how much yarn to leave for my loose cast-off.

This cowl is knitted in a seed stitch. I really love the texture of seed stitch, but would never want an entire garment from it, since it adds a lot of bulk and bulk, I don't need.

Though I hadn't woven in the ends, I wore it to Fashion Feud and just tucked in the loose pieces. I was so warm! Mission accomplished. And I've already ordered yarn to make this again in two other colors. :)

If you want look the pattern up on Ravelry, it is called the Gap-tastic Cowl. I will eventually post my review there, but I've been busy with work and kids this week.

There's been very little sewing here, which makes Shams sad. I do have a jacket mostly finished that I started over holiday break, but am having problems with the binding and may have to put it into timeout for awhile. I am child free next week and it's a 3-day weekend, so I hope to get something done soon, as I have so many plans!


  1. But didn't you win because Janal was not eligible?


  2. Hi Hatty! No, that comment is posted automatically as soon as the winner is announced. JanaL can't win for the next four months. It is a bit confusing.

  3. I didn't know there were going to
    COCKTAILS! When is the next one?
    Lisa from BABEs

  4. I so enjoyed your review of the fashion contest. Thanks for taking the time and sharing so much detail. It really sounds like a fun night out!