Choose the Winner of the SewStylish Spring Fashion Contest

comments (57) June 15th, 2009     

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_nikki_ Nicole Smith, contributor
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My dress was inspired by one of my favorite designers, Betsey Johnson. I love her fun use of prints and retro details, and I tried to incorporate some of that into this project.
I wanted to create a dress that loves the sun as much as I do. I made the pattern as is because it provided the perfect canvas for my embroidery work. I altered a black-work design originally intended for linens. I filled it in with color change thread. I then used the scalloped border to create a matching hem line.
I was inspired by this ‘Origami’ dress designed by Francisco Costa, senior designer with the Calvin Klein Co. for the Spring 2009 collection.
My dress was inspired by one of my favorite designers, Betsey Johnson. I love her fun use of prints and retro details, and I tried to incorporate some of that into this project.

My dress was inspired by one of my favorite designers, Betsey Johnson. I love her fun use of prints and retro details, and I tried to incorporate some of that into this project.

Photo: GertieT

Update: Voting has ended. Check out the winner here.

The finalists for the SewStylish Spring Fashion Challenge have been chosen! 

You pick the winner! There is only one vote per person and voting closes on June 16th, 11:59 pm. Winner will be announced on June 17th.

To cast your vote to choose the winner, click on the poll below. To learn more about the winners and their creations, scroll down to see their images and descriptions from the designers themselves.

The winner will receive a Singer Esteem II sewing machine, Pattern Master Boutique pattern-drafting software from Wild Ginger, and Threads Industry Insider Techniques, Volumes I and II DVDs.

Butterfly Garden Dress by Little Rachel

Butterfly Dress Indoors  

I wanted to create a dress that loves the sun as much as I do.  I made the pattern "as is" because it provided the perfect canvas for my embroidery work. I altered a black-work design originally intended for linens. I filled it in with color change thread. I then used the scalloped border to create a matching hem line. Lastly, I added a flurry of butterflies, also in color change thread. Inside, it is a dramatic black and white creation. But, outside, it really comes to life!

Sassy Stripes by Gertie T


My dress was inspired by one of my favorite designers, Betsey Johnson. I love her fun use of prints and retro details, and I tried to incorporate some of that into this project.

I used the short sundress version of the pattern, made up in a striped stretch twill. I implemented a special layout to make the chevron design with the stripes. I made the front bodice one piece (instead of the overlapping wrap look), and made  collar-like bodice flaps in white. Three white buttons adorn the front. The straps are white elastic with a tricot edge, and they cross in the back to give great support. I also changed the length, shortening the pattern by a few inches for a summery look.

I used some special finishing techniques, including Hong Kong seams, a twin-needle stitched hem, and a built-in bra.

I hope my design incorporates all the things I love about Sew Stylish magazine DIY designer sewing, special techniques, and a fun spirit. I would love to win the contest, particularly because I have been coveting the Wild Ginger software for well over a year!


Origami Dress by AthenaWaves


I was inspired by this ‘Origami’ dress designed by Francisco Costa, senior designer with the Calvin Klein Co. for the Spring 2009 collection.




posted in: sewstylish feature, contests

Comments (57)

11holala11 writes: I am VERY interested in getting a copy of this dress (Butterfly Garden Dress by Little Rachel), if at all possible.

Please email me at [email protected] :)
Posted: 1:18 am on May 24th
sewslow67 writes: Message to Gertie T: My dear Gertie; don’t you even give those nasty comments (and the people who made them) a second thought. Every generation is different, and we each owe it to ourselves to live our own lives and march to our own drummer. It takes some of us far too long to figure that out, so good for you that you "got it" while you are young!

Your dress is the result of someone having an eye for exquisite design and running with it, as well as the skills to execute it beautifully; and that, dear one, IS YOU!! And Gertie; you look absolute lovely in it. Wear it with pride and joy.

Posted: 8:17 pm on June 18th
sewitall writes: All the dresses are fantastic; anyone who will take the time and energy to create and make is a winner. Sassy Stripes I really liked and would look fantastic with a pair of platform peep toe slings, and I have always loved Betsey Johnson as I was in high school in the 70's when she caught my interest. She influenced my love of being original in what I make to wear. Every one is a winner.
Posted: 3:19 pm on June 17th
MamaLaputa writes: WOW! These dresses are ALL great! Nice work! I'm inspired!
Posted: 8:15 am on June 17th
GertieT writes: Also, thanks to the editors for removing some of the nastier comments!
Posted: 6:19 pm on June 16th
HighFiberContent writes: GertieT your dress is so well done, and I think it goes just great with your tats. A very summery flirty look. It reminds me of something Veronica in the Archie comics would wear. I could see this dress looking good on most body shapes with the flattering chevron stripes. And a built-in bra for summer wear is a super idea. The less layers to wear the better.
The other two dresses are great too, it was hard to choose!
Posted: 6:07 pm on June 16th
ThreadKoe writes: The Origami Dress, although intricate, just did not grab me. The artful use of the stripes, and the superb fit of the Blue Dress is a showpiece of technical mastery. I think I would have preferred regular straps to lingerie straps myself. A stunning dress.
I have to admit that I am a fan of feminine dresses. The creative use of the embroidery and the edging on the fabric just blew me away. It takes a lot of planning and careful placement to put motifs together in such a unified, balanced way. The use of varigated thread was inspiring. The dress was well crafted, and well finished. It was a hard decision.
I had to go with the butterflies.
Posted: 3:36 pm on June 16th
GertieT writes: Thanks again for your kind comments, everyone! Sewing2enjoying, I did learn the basics from my mom at a young age. She's a very accomplished quilter. (Thanks, Mom!) But I've only really committed myself to learning fashion sewing in the last year. I've taken classes in construction and patternmaking, but I've really learned the most from reading back issues of Threads magazine. I can't recommend it enough, especially if you're interested in couture and garment sewing. You can buy back issues for cheap on ebay. One article that really helped me with this dress was "Strategies for Stripes" from issue #114. Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!
Posted: 11:14 am on June 16th
hoofmaiden writes: I was picking the dress and not the model wearing the dress. Negative comments about the model have no place here.

All dresses were very cool but I had to pick the Sassy Stripes even though the machine embroidery was very appealing on the Butterfly dress.

Both the Butterfly and the Sassy Stripe dress had a lot of interesting details I found inspiring.
Posted: 10:33 am on June 16th
hollypoe writes: Three such different dresses! Love the origami- deceptively simple looking, probably very complex to figure out. Very chic entry.
Posted: 9:50 am on June 16th
clearlysewcrazy writes: I had a very hard time choosing on which dress to pic. I do wish the oragami dress was more visible in the photo. They are all absolutely beautiful and well made. The creativity that went in to all three dress is inspiring. All I have to say is if any of you ladies would like to make a dress for me, I will DEFINITELY NOT complain. I'm here! Tell me when and where! Fantastic job everybody. Someday maybe I will be able to sew this well.
Posted: 9:24 am on June 16th
dolittlesmom writes: All three dresses are amazing. The thought, details and techniques are inspring. I am an machine embroiderer and really am drawn to the embroidery work style dress (so beautiful), but GertieT's dress is truly a work of great talent and art. The origami dress is very retro in in it's look and pleasing to look at. I must admit, tho, GertieT's dress got my vote. She's done a fantastic job and deserves the vote. Thanks for sharing GertieT!
Posted: 8:13 am on June 16th
annieg2582 writes: I have been sewing for about 50 years, and I am very impresses with the creativity of these dresses. However embroidery has always been my passion and its very beautiful. Good Luck to all of the girls.
Posted: 7:04 am on June 16th
SkyBlueBunny writes: All beautiful :) Good work and good luck!
Posted: 12:03 am on June 16th
Sewing2enjoying writes: I have been sewing for 60 years and I honestly did not see the tattoos, only the absolutely terrific dress with all the stripes in just the right places! I was truly impressed! I have to admit that I did not see the tattoos until I began to read the previous (naughty) comments about them. I then scrolled back up and looked at the photo again. My, they sure are colorful. Anyway, Gertie, you are truly a great and artistic seamstress. Good for you! I would like to know how you came to learn so much about sewing. Did you take special courses somewhere? Did your mother teach you? Just wondering.
Posted: 11:42 pm on June 15th
catspajamas writes: Regardless of what you think of tattoos ... good or bad ... they do detract from that particular dress. She would look better in the all white dress ... in fact the tats would compliment the simplicity of it.
My vote goes to the butterfly dress. It is summery and feminine. For me ... no offense intended ... the origami dress looks as though it had been folded in a drawer for too long, and needs an ironing.
Posted: 10:35 pm on June 15th
toodles511 writes: All are beautiful! Gertie you will love the Wild Ginger program, if you win. I use it to copy vintage patterns all the time.
Posted: 10:26 pm on June 15th
PolishGM writes: Three gorgeous dresses made with real talent and creativity. And the beautiful artists modeling 2/3 of them (wish we could see Rachel, too.) were also lovely to see.

As far as tattoos go....I have beautiful daughters with beautiful skin art and am thinking of adding some to my own sagging, 58 year old body. Those critical, cruel comments just reveal a mean spirit; no reason for them at all.

Congratulations to you all for your talents and eyes for beauty.
Posted: 7:40 pm on June 15th
sewslow67 writes: I really like all three dresses for different reasons. Each is creative, and with beautifully executed details. Frankly, I'd like one of each in my closet! Congratulations to each of you lovely young women, and all the best for continued success with your sewing. Good job!!

And to those of you who have made mean-spirited remarks: Please ...try to control yourselves and be nice! Manners are free, but rudeness eventually corrodes the soul
Posted: 6:18 pm on June 15th
HeyRed writes: Wow! I "suppose" it's a good thing the models weren't differently abled or amputees or something! Imagine the squawk! I, too, looked at the DRESSES. So hard to choose as each artist chose a different angle to work from - delicate piecework, beautiful surface embellishment, and bold reconstruction... too hard to choose! I did choose, though :) You are all three winners to me and beautiful as you are!
Posted: 5:36 pm on June 15th
kfajardo writes: The dresses are beautiful. Each one is so unique and lovely.

I think for some it's easy to forget that there are actual people involved when writing online. It shouldn't matter if the designer(s) have any kind of body art....this forum is about the dresses/sewing. The old adage still holds true: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything".
Posted: 5:23 pm on June 15th
LittleRachel writes: All three dresses are works of art. Having sewn all of my life (including sewing with origami), I speak with experience when I say that alot of work went into each of these designs...and I have every intention of incorporating their ideas into my own we all do with artists that we respect. By the way...I have a tattoo also. Alot of people hate it...don't care. I wasn't thinking about them when I did it...and I don't give any thought to their opinions now... Gertie, you are very talented and I am honored to have had this experience with you and Athena! Good luck!....I still hope I win...but I have a lot of respect for your talent all the same~ :)
Posted: 5:01 pm on June 15th
sew slow writes: I meant the fabric pattern, as her use of the strips really make this dress stylish. Also, I'm sorry if I got carried away in my anger.
Posted: 4:47 pm on June 15th
sew slow writes: I love the navy and white dress. She changed the style and really used her ingenuity to use the pattern to accent such a stylish dress. I cannot even believe that adults are so petty to even mention the tattoos with any kind of negativity. Who are you to judge anything but the dress? The dress is beautiful and THAT is what we are judging here. I cannot even tell you how upset I am to read such immature prattle about someone's individuality. I myself do not have tattoos nor anyone in my family, but to judge someone's skin when the contest is about the person's sewing ability is so immature! Grow up!!
Posted: 4:43 pm on June 15th
DeslynnW writes: All of these are beautiful. BUT, lately I have a thing for butterflies. Good luck all three.
Posted: 4:37 pm on June 15th
angella writes: The origami dress is just beautiful. It reminds me of an undergarment from the early 1900s -- simple and elegant - like a girl who's flung off her petticoat to go swim in the ocean.
Posted: 4:30 pm on June 15th
Col_Linda writes: While I think the tats clash with the dress, GertieT's Sassy Stripes is awesome. I'm thoroughly impressed and intimidated by the skill and work(wo)manship that went into it!
Posted: 4:10 pm on June 15th
caroleleah writes: (Someone has tattoos? Huh. I'll have to look again - I was looking at the DRESSES!)
Gertie, you ALWAYS have the most incredibly beautiful detail in your work! All 3 dresses are lovely, but you took a simple design & personalized it completely. The careful planning of your layout to achieve the chevron effect, the change to the bodice to enable use of the built-in bra - no small matter to install, BTW! - EVERYthing is stellar! The other two dresses are lovely works of "art on a blank canvas", to my eye, but yours is a work of art in ADDITION to your having totally personalized the pattern to suit your taste and apparent personality. Bravo, Gertie! You get my vote!
Posted: 3:54 pm on June 15th
MsKirko writes: When was this contest open for entering?
Posted: 3:24 pm on June 15th
angella writes: I really love the origami dress! It's so simple yet intricate. Because it's white, it reminds me of an under garment from the early 1900s. I like that. Simple and stunning at the same time.
Posted: 3:11 pm on June 15th
yellowgeekgirl writes: You've all made really great dresses. I love the idea of the origami dress, though I think it's more of an art piece. Gertie's dress is lovely and retro, I can totally see people wearing that on the beach! My vote has to go to the butterfly dress, thoughl it's so pretty and feminine, and I love the colour-change thread. I just wish I could see closer detailing of it!
Posted: 2:55 pm on June 15th
NancySews writes: GertieT has my vote. If you read her description of techniques, she really put thought and time into this darling sundress. Changing the bodice to accomodate a built in bra was no simple task and of course the matching chevrons took a lot of thought and time and are perfect. She professionally finished her garment with Hong Kong seams and double needle work for a sundress. She's an accomplished and creative sewer. I thought her tatoos added to the summery look of the garment and set a fun and flirty tone to the dress. Keep up the beautiful work. You should be very proud of your accomplishments.

From A 61 year old grandmother who loves to sew and appreciates other sewers true talents, including the other two dresses and the work that went into them. Congrats to all three ladies.
Posted: 2:54 pm on June 15th
quiltgal writes: Butterfly Garden Dress by Little Rachel is my favorite. The embroidery was excellently placed on the dress. You did a wonderful job sewing this number!
Posted: 2:48 pm on June 15th
sissym writes: the first dress with embroidered flowers,butterflies beautiful!!.. the work that went into this.
i dont care for the origami dress..there is no design or color. a person light skinned wouldnt look good in it an would look washed out as the model does. there is nothing to see but squares an white white white.
the blue dress is very pretty but the design isnt made for all figure types an the tattoes just made it look worse. it is cute but the best is the white with embroiddery detailing. very nice!!
Posted: 2:43 pm on June 15th
Martha_Moser writes: I would have liked the stripe dress except for the hideous tatoos. What are you thinking?
Posted: 1:42 pm on June 15th
hellomary writes: Gertie T. What a beautiful dress and so much thought that went into making of this dress. Good luck in all you do. Just a little note to say all the entries were beautiful thank you all for showing the public each of creation.
Posted: 1:32 pm on June 15th
Lulumama writes: I would have liked to know more about the origami dress. I can't really see, from the photos, what makes it like origami (an art form that I love). From the photos, I think it looks like a wrinkled slip--I am sure it looks fabulous in real life, though. Any more description you can give us? Thanks!
I also want to add my voice to those saying this is not a forum to critique the body art or lack of same!!!
Posted: 1:26 pm on June 15th
Lizzies_Handmade writes: I really like the striped dress it has style. I have seen too many embroidered clothes lately especially with the new home embroidery machine. The Origami dress just seems wrinkled I can see the pattern but....
Posted: 1:13 pm on June 15th
GertieT writes: Oh, wow. Thanks so much to those who came to my defense. Please remember that when you post something hurtful on the internet, a real person will read it! I love my tattoos, but I understand that not everyone will. Differing views are what make the world an interesting place, right?

Anyway, let's talk about dresses! xo
Posted: 1:07 pm on June 15th
samsstuff writes: Maybe it's the pretty butterflies (I'm a sucker for shiny, pretty things), but I think that I like Little Rachel's dress the best. I like the retro feel of Gertie's dress & admire the construction work of AthenaWaves dress, but my vote goes to Little Rachel. All of the entries are lovely.
Posted: 1:07 pm on June 15th
lainey_h writes: I loved GertieT's dress. A beautifully styled dress, one I would definitely wear.
A note to those who have made personal comments about the models. Should be ashamed of themselves. The contest is about the cloths and nothing else!!!
Posted: 12:51 pm on June 15th
deborahc writes: Wonderful job of patching points on the chevrons Gertie! It is absolutely striking and total eye candy!
Posted: 12:43 pm on June 15th
Tatsy writes: The striped dress has it hands-down. It's so classic and clean-lined. Looks very 50's, modest and chic.
Posted: 12:29 pm on June 15th
Jen Murphy writes: All three dresses are beautifully done and used some very interesting techniques. Nice work.
Posted: 12:27 pm on June 15th
gferris writes: Although tattoos are not my cup of tea, I cannot believe some of the comments made about GertieT's choice to decorate her body as she wants. Both of my parents have tattoos - my mother is Japanese, and in Japan it is viewed as an art form. (She is not a young woman, either - almost 80 yrs old!) This contest should be about the dresses, not the people wearing them! All three dresses are very attractive, by the way!
Posted: 12:24 pm on June 15th
ssanmarco0522 writes: Loved Gertie's dress but the "body art" conflicts with the beauty of the dress design. Too overpowering, the eye doesn't know where to look!
Posted: 12:20 pm on June 15th
sewrun writes: Loved the stripes, Gertie - loved the way you incorporated actual design work into the dress and altered the pattern. I didn't really see as much of that in the other two - especially the one with the embroidery. I think your tattoos are wonderful - but NO-ONE should be making remarks about them or basing their vote on design on the fact that you have tatoos. Where are the moderators on this list anyway????
Posted: 12:15 pm on June 15th
tereed writes: I am in awe of your dress- It is so simple yet elegant. Since I love paper, it is only natural that I would love a dress based on a paper technique. How beautiful! Thank you for showing it. Needless to say I picked yours for the contest. What tattoos are people referring to?
Posted: 12:11 pm on June 15th
boomerkid writes: I just don't get someone could possibly see these tattoos as attractive..& especially with a dress????..c'mon!...

Oh well!...just no accounting for taste...too bad!!! coz the dress is lovely!!!
Posted: 11:58 am on June 15th
shawndra writes: Side note to Gertie

I think your Tats are awesome.
Posted: 11:25 am on June 15th
shawndra writes: I thought all 3 where beautiful However had to choose only 1 so The embroidery butterflies got my vote
Posted: 11:20 am on June 15th
Sweet_Dee writes: LOVE THE ORIGAMI!

Posted: 1:55 am on June 12th
JoyParrella writes: Need a model for your dress, Rachel? Cara would be honored to wear it. Flying directly from San Diego just for you. :)

Posted: 12:31 am on June 12th
kittyg04 writes: I really LOVE this dress! I would definitely wear it!
Posted: 7:18 pm on June 11th
LittleRachel writes: This is so incredible! Thank you for this challenge. I have had a blast! Gertie! You have me on the run! Ha! Ha! You guys are very talented. I have really enjoyed checking out everyone's sense of style and creativity. AthenaWeaves...I love the origami... I use that in quilts that I make. Very creative. I think we should exchange emails...and ideas! Good luck guys!
Posted: 10:58 am on June 11th
AthenaWeaves writes: Thank you to the editors for having this contest. I am so honored to be a finalist! I think the dresses designed by Little Rachel and Gertie T are so beautiful. I am honored to be at this point with them.
Posted: 10:44 am on June 11th
GertieT writes: So exciting! Thanks for picking my dress. Every entry was so inspiring!
Posted: 11:02 pm on June 10th
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