There have been quite a few questions popping up about the contest rules and sew-along.  If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please post it in the comments.

Q: Can I use a commercial (Burda, Simplicity, etc.) pattern for the garment I make to enter the contest?
A:  Yes.

Q:  Can I submit photos of something I made for my child?
A:  Sure.

Q:  Does the photo I submit for the Make It, Wear It! Challenge have to be sewn in June 2010?
A:  Yes, it does.  Of course we can’t really know–we count on your honesty (and the dates on your Flickr photos.)

Q: Some people are adding more than one photo of a garment in the pools. Will this up their chances of winning?
A: No.  If, however, you submit more than one garment, that does increase your chances.

Q:  Are you judging the contest entries?
A:  No.  We’ll randomly select the winners from among all the qualified entries.

Q:  Why were some of your daily inspiration images sewn before June?
A:  We plan our theme months in advance.  The daily inspiration garments aren’t contest entries– Just clothes we love.

Q: Is it possible to participate in the Skirt Sew-Along without access to a serger? What do you suggest as an alternative?
A: Yes, just finish the seams how you normally would, either by pinking raw edges, or finishing with a zig zag.

Q: Can I make the skirt less “puffy”?
A: Yup, just lessen the amount of gathering. (See below for more details.)

Q: If you add curve to your front waistband it’s no longer 4 inches tall. Won’t you have problems aligning seams with the back?
A: I left the back waistband at 4″ because after you’ve done your shirring, sometimes that shrinks up the width of the waistband a bit. You may still end up with a back waistband that is wider than the front. if that is so, then just trim the back to match the front, which should only be 1/4″ or maybe 1/2″ max.

Q: Does the skirt pictured fall under the category of less poofy, medium poof, or extra poofy? I want to adjust my skirt accordingly.
A: Pretty poofy. I tripled the length of the waistband when I cut my skirt panel.

Q: I’m wondering about the purpose of the underskirt. Is it a lining or is it something more? If it’s a lining, can it be made in a lining fabric (not cotton)?
A: When you have a poofy skirt, it’s great to have an underskirt because it keeps all that extra fabric from doing annoying things like gathering up between your legs when you walk. And if your ballerinaesque skirt happens to get all Marilyn Monroe on you and catches an uplifting breeze, your underskirt will allow you to maintain some amount of dignity.

Q: I’m trying to shirr some fabric, but it’s not gathering up enough. Advice? I hand wound my bobbin very loosely and am using a basting stitch.
A: Play with your top tension… Lower it and see what happens. Tighten it and see what happens. If it’s still an issue check your machine manual to see if they address bobbin tension and see if you can tweak that a bit as well.

Q: About the smocking bit… When you sew the second row, do you have to stretch the fabric first, or just sew it with the gathered fabric? And does the stitch length need to be wide? How wide?
A: Yes, you stretch out the fabric when you sew the other lines.

Q: I’ve got “junk in the trunk.” Is 4″ going to be enough to add to the back waistband?
A: Not necessarily. If you have more than a 4″ difference between your hip measurement and your waist measurement, then you’ll need to add more to your back waistband, accordingly.

Q: Do you have suggestions for making the gathering look even and nice? I like poof at the bottom, but I don’t want it to poof at the waistband seam (on my belly).
A: One important tip: IRON!! iron and steam the gathering down at the waistband and you’ll be amazed how it changes the look. especially if you use a nice, lightweight fabric.