We ask our contestants a question about their sewing in each round of the Super Online Sewing Match II. We asked how they learned to sew and why our challengers sew. We even got a glimpse into their sewing spaces! This week we want to learn about the best thing our challengers have ever sewn…

What about you? What’s the best thing you’ve ever sewn?
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Barbara from Zibergirl Sews

    “Without any hesitation I’m going to say that the dress I made to meet Tim Gunn is definitely the “Best.” I attended a discussion and book signing of the well-know television personality and author Tim Gunn at the Castro Theatre in San Francisco earlier this year. You can imagine how excited I was to meet Tim and listen to him speak so personally about his life, his experiences on Project Runway, and about his new book, Tim Gunn: the Natty Professor.

    In case you didn’t already know, Tim Gunn is the mentor and advisor to the designers on Project Runway. These designers go through grueling fashion design challenges each week. The outcome of the show is to see who will go to Fashion Week and who will earn some very awesome prizes to help them jump-start their career. Tim explained that it isn’t easy to complete the challenges in the time frame of the show. The judges can be pretty hard on any puckers, bad stitching and finishes. He says that his role is to listen very clearly to the designers, then advise and motivate them to “Make it Work!”
    I had to make a new dress for this special event, so I chose Gertie’s vintage-inspired Butterick 6094. It has a close-fitting, lined bodice and contrasting facings. Version A has a full circle skirt cut on the bias, and a petticoat. It has the cutest back detail, with the contrasting fabric opened out above the zipper and decorated with buttons. I made a muslin of the bodice first, tweaked the pattern to fit me, and then cut and sewed it together. I wasn’t going to add the petticoat, but at the last minute I decided that I should just go for it and make the dress as directed. I drove to the nearest fabric store, 40 miles round trip, and bought three yards of lining and three yards of crisp, veil-like fabric for the ruffle. I sewed French seams on the petticoat and machine gathered the 8″ ruffle that attaches to it. I was able to roll hem the ruffle, the petticoat and the skirt bottom on my serger. I used wooly nylon on the upper looper and it worked like a dream! I covered two buttons with the dress fabric, and inserted an invisible zipper. The lining was turned and hand-sewn inside the bodice and along the zipper tape.

    At the reception, my daughter, who works for the Commonwealth Club, introduced me to Tim and we posed for pictures. I told Tim that I had made my dress and he was very impressed! I wore my RTW faster pin proudly and was delighted to explain that all of us fasters had pledged not to buy ready-to-wear clothing. Our goal is to make everything. This is definitely my best and favorite dress of all time. It is so lovely that I have planned to make another one to wear to my daughter’s wedding in October. It will be made of silk chiffon and taffeta. It might be the next best thing I make! For more pictures, visit my blog.”

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Leah from Sew Spoiled

    “There are many handmade items that are my favorites and it is hard to pick only one. But if I had to pick one piece from my entire sewing collection, above all others, it would be the Christmas Carol dresses I made for my daughters. My family received tickets to see the Christmas Carol live show and I wanted the girls to dress up nice. Since, my youngest was a size 5 and the oldest was a size 8 it was hard to find dresses that match in the department stores. Finally, I gave up shopping and decided to make them myself. I found two yards of red and green plaid taffeta in my stash. I bought black fabric for $15, so the price of these dresses were $7.50 a piece! I used the Precious Dresses pattern from Carla Crim, the Scientific Seamstress. The girls loved them because they could twirl and play with them on. We had a wonderful time at the theater and the girls looked adorable.

    I learned many new techniques sewing these dresses: gathering, making a placket to incase the buttons and a lining. Handmade dresses seem to last longer too. Even though my two girls are too big now to wear their Christmas Carol dresses, we have saved them because of the memories they bring back.”

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Shannon from Adventures of a Young Seamstress

    “This one’s easy! The best thing I’ve ever sewn is the dress for my high school graduation, which I’ve mentioned before in this contest. I made it from a 1956 pattern in silk dupioni, underlined with silk organza, and hemmed by hand with horsehair braid. It was definitely a challenging project; it was my first time sewing underlining, an underarm gusset, or a waist stay, and it had the most awkward zipper insertion ever! I wore it with two crinolines, vintage heels, a purse I borrowed from my mom and pearl jewelry that belonged to my grandma. I got so many compliments on it, and I felt completely ‘me’ wearing it!
    Something a little more recent that I’m also really proud of is a two-piece set that I made from a modified dress pattern, the Miz Mozelle dress by Jamie Christina. I split the dress into a blouse and a skirt, added an elastic waist and pockets to the skirt and shirring to the blouse, and I used French seams everywhere (a first for me). Before this contest, it was the most modification I’d ever done to a pattern!

    Having said that, the things that I’ve made in this competition are also up there with some of the best things I’ve made, especially my Marianne dress and my Caravan tote. Being a part of this has really motivated me to make some of my favorite pieces ever!”

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Teresa Behr from Dandelion Drift

    “The best things I have ever sewn are probably my most memorable sews, and that would have to be the quilts on my kids’ beds. These quilts are more than pieces of fabric sewn together. They are hours of love and thought poured into a very usable thing that comforts and warms my kids, and provides something that they need! These are the only quilts that I have ever sewn on my own (I have sewn quilts with my mom and grandma). The pink one on the far right, that was my first quilt. Ever. I jumped right into quilting with a pattern that took me many, many hours. I sewed that one for my daughter when she was two. The quilt in the middle was sewn for my son when he was two. And it was pieced from fabrics my great grandmother had picked up at the flea market in Hawaii (when she came to visit my family way back in the early 90’s). She never got to piece the fabrics together, and I remember when we were cleaning out her house after she passed away, I quickly asked if I could claim this fabric to sew with one day. (I was a teenager at the time.) The quilt on the far left I just finished this past year, and it’s a new quilt for my daughter who has outgrown her love of pink! These quilts are my best sews because they bring my family great joy!”

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Sew ModernOur Round Four sponsor is Sew Modern, a hip fabric and sewing haven in Los Angeles featuring the latest designer fabricsclasses for kids & adults and a Gammil Vision 18-8 longarm quilting machine available for rent.  The online shop features all of the great fabrics they carry in store.  Be sure to check out the SALE section! They also carry every color of Robert Kaufman’s Kona cotton solids.