How Do You Feel About Sewing Contests?

Butterick designer Gertie with a fan at the 2015 Sewing & Stitchery Expo.
Butterick designer Gertie with a fan at the 2015 Sewing & Stitchery Expo.

Let’s talk about sewing contests, shall we? We just finished up a Butterick sewing contest, where entrants had to submit a photo of a garment they made with a Gertie pattern. It was co-sponsored with our friends at Fabric Traditions, the fabric company behind Gertie’s new line of fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. Response was great, and now we’re thinking about other contest ideas.

We’d actually love to hear your thoughts about sewing contests. Have you ever entered one? Would you ever enter one? Take this brief survey and let us know what you think. Also, feel free to leave a comment on this post if you have more thoughts or observations about sewing contests. Thanks!

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Wrap Dress Sewalong: How’s everyone doing? Did you check out my co-host’s post this week? I’m still actively working on my dress, though I’ve hit a little roadblock with my fabric, specifically the print. It has a strong horizontal flamestitch pattern. I can lay out the bodice in V8379 so the print runs horizontally, but the skirt is full and there isn’t a way to avoid the flamestitch pattern tilting and going wonky. Fortunately Tatyana, our head of dressmaking, thinks there might be some creative ways to work with my fabric, and she’s going to help me with it early next week. I know, how lucky am I to have someone like Tatyana to help me out with sewing problems!

In the meantime, here’s a photo of another one of my WIPs (work-in-progress). This is Butterick B6169, the Lisette moto jacket. Just have to insert the lining and it’s done! Don’t you love this cotton print? I think it’s Alexander Wang.
Butterick B6169 Lisette moto jacket, work-in-progress
See you next week!

We’ve been sewing since 1863.

  1. The moto jacket is looking mighty fine…I wouldn’t have though to make it in a floral, but it’s very feminine.

  2. I love that moto jacket and the idea of the floral is wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I pretty much think sewing contests are lame, it’s an excuse for the most vain to believe they have some sort of talent and pose in hideous outfits while achieving false praise. Sewing isn’t a competition, it’s a love. Competition is meant for the runway and thus far, not one homemade outfit could be sent down an 8 year old’s runway.

    1. Goodness. That’s a rather ugly outlook. I hope you have a better day soon.

    2. I detect a bit of sour grapes here. I’ve seen some gorgeous things entered in contests that I wouldn’t have ordinarily seen made by other sewists. Not all sewists have blogs or websites to see there work and it is a great opportunity for those sewists to get recognition.

      That was quite a negative response!

  4. I’m not into competitions either.
    I still have not selected my fabric. (I’m not officially part of the sew along, but planning to make the dress soon.) I always find that hard as I think the selection/price of fabric is not that great, unless one lives in a big city.
    You are so very lucky to have Tatyana to consult!
    Your jacket looks fantastic!!! I love the fabric you chose!

      1. That wasn’t for you, Kati lol

  5. I look forward to a time when I have enough time to participate! Outstanding, excellent, good or not so good … I love seeing how others envision things.

  6. Wow…someone has pissy Cheerios…

    Sewing competitions are super fun and I could see lots of participation from the sewing community, the only challenge may be how to use social media effectively. So many people not on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest (which makes me, personally, want to poke my eyeballs out…)

    Very cute jacket. I just cut my pattern pieces out last night. Hope to get my sewn over the weekend!

  7. In my day it wasn’t a contest…it was a grade in Home Economics class. A fully line knit suit. B+ in construction and A in fit.

  8. The new Moto Jacket is looking awesome!

  9. Wonderful jacket, the fabric choice makes it one of a kind!

  10. Wow….some really negative comments about competitions. I personally enter contests, not so much to showcase my skills, but to pay homage to the fabulous pattern designers who continually pump out amazing garments that we all can create. If not for their talent, we would all be required to take pattern drafting and draping classes to achieve these results. This is realistic for only the most passionate sewists. The average sewist should be able to love her craft, along with a busy life.

  11. Wow – I never would have thought of choosing a floral fabric for a moto jacket but it is fabulous!

    About contests, I have entered a couple of them but I don’t really feel too good about online contests. I believe there are many factors with online sewing competitions that come into play that have nothing to do with sewing. Some people have sophisticated cameras that take fantastic photos. Others have an eye for choosing just the right backdrop for the photo. Is that person a popular blogger with lots of fans? Is the garment taped or pinned together in certain spots you don’t see in the photo? Did they use Photoshop software to improve the look of the garment?

    The ideal competition would be one where the garment is submitted to a panel of judges for review. The judges should not know the names of the participants until after they have selected the winning garment. I know this is not as quick and takes a lot of work to organize but it would be fairer, just my opinion.

    However, I know online competitions are quick and many people enjoy them. They are quick to organize and put together. Despite my reservations, I do enjoy seeing what people have come up with – the fabrics chosen, the colors.

  12. I enjoy the sewing contests on the Pattern Review website. There are few fabulous prizes, but the conversations and community that they build make them highly addictive. The Activewear contest showed off a lot of patterns others might not have seen, demonstrated some new techniques and materials, and illustrated a few gaps in sewing patterns and potential uses. When you can generate a conversation among the participants, it’s wonderful. And isn’t that what the internet is good for?

  13. I adore contests that are run properly! I do prefer a panel of judges instead of likes. But it’s something fun to do, new people to meet and you make venture onto something that without a contest you may never have given a second thought! It’s my way of sharing my love of sewing and if that seems lame then call me Mrs. Lame! It’s all good!

  14. I think sewing contests are like running races–you could could run by yourself everyday, but a race motivates you and gives you a goal or target to work towards. The same can be said about sewing contests. You can sew everyday, but a contest may give you that motivation and deadline to work towards achieving.

  15. I’ve entered only one online sewing competition and although I was selected as one of the finalists I felt the final garments were quite varied in skill level. The garment we made was an extremely simple tube dress but I opted to make mine reversible for two very different looks, while the others made the dress as is with no embellishments of any sort. I agree with one of the responders above that the photography can make a big difference – and also if the seamstress has other online connections such as possibly selling her handmade items online.

  16. I would rather design my own …… Thanks !

  17. I really like sewing contests and some day I will enter one myself. I really love looking at all of the entries; it’s always so inspiring to see how dozens of people interpreted the same pattern. Yesterday my MIL and I browsed through the Gertie Giveaway entries and we were blown away by the creativity. More contests please! 🙂

  18. I think they are fun and if I like the pattern they are a way for me to get creative and think outside the box. I just did one through Create Kids Couture and regularly do county and state fair contests. I enjoy seeing how different people interpret the same pattern. Even if I don’t win I still learn things particularly if it is a sew along contest. I just learned a great method for gathering in the one I just did.

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