Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Morning Inspiration

Good Morning, or afternoon to my friends on the other side of the world! I've been missing in action for a few days.
Back in July, I decided to throw my name in the pot as a potential contestant for the Passion For Fashion Contest that is sponsored by The American Sewing Expo. At the very last minute, July 2nd (the deadline for entry was July 2nd) I pulled a garment from my wardrobe, boxed it up and put it in the mail. Within a couple of weeks, I received a call that I had been chosen out of over 50 entries as a contestant. Wow, did I ever vacillate about my decision. Did I really want to put myself through this again? At one point I had talked myself into pulling out of the contest, but a friend of mine convinced me to give it a try. You've probably noticed many of my recent Sunday Night Reflection pieces had to do with fear, like this piece,  "Whenever  you are faced with a difficult decision, ask yourself: what would I do if I weren't afraid of making a mistake, feeling rejected, looking foolish, or being alone? Remove the fear, and the answer comes into focus." Over the last weeks, I've searched my heart about what I want and how I want to spend my time as well as standing up to whatever it is that scares me and those horrible memories from so long ago that still want to play an important role in the decisions I make. I am learning that each time I take a stand, face a fear, those memories have less power.
The time finally arrived and off I went to Novi, Michigan. On Thursday evening we chose our models and  had a few minutes to take their measurements. Friday morning we arrived at 7:30 to prepare our work stations and at 8 o'clock we found out what our challenge would be. We walked into the room and saw a series of bug pictures, beautiful pictures, but still....bugs. The theme of the contest was "Fashion Bugs Me." The twist came into play with the scenario. We were to create an outfit that would be worn to a cocktail event (not a gala or evening gown event) at a museum that was having the opening of a new bug installation. And finally, the garment was to be fashion forward.
My bug was the Thread Wasted Wasp. A rather interesting bug. I loved the deep blue/black and the little pop of color in his tail, but what was I going to make?????  
What I decided to do was find fabric first and let that help to inspire me. As it turned out, there was only one piece of fabric in the entire expo that really worked. I grabbed it and came back to my work station and gave the bug a good look. As I focused more on the bug, I saw his long skinny legs and I thought they looked like pants, long skinny cigarette pants. But his legs are broken by the segments, so I thought of doing a little skinny skirt over the pants. And then there is the issue of the big chest. I initially thought of doing a jacket with some volume with a large collar. Thankfully, I drafted the pants first and cut them out and then I draped the skirt and cut that out. Had I done the jacket first, I would not have had enough fabric for the pants, so I'm glad that I decided to start at the bottom and build up.   
Sadly, my pictures of the garment are horrible, but at least you can get an idea of the outfit.   
This is my beautiful model Gabrielle. I need to brag on her for just a moment. She's a high school senior and a real brain, valedictorian of her class!! I've only had a bit of time with her, but I am so impressed. I hope to stay in contact and watch as her life unfolds. She is such a beautiful person, inside and out and I think she has an incredible future in front of her.
As I said, my pictures do not do Gabrielle justice. This young woman has legs that just don't stop so the pants looked incredible on her. The little over skirt was lined with a coral fabric to pick up the coral in the tail of the wasp. It is difficult to see in the picture, but there is a hint of the lining showing around the neckline as well.
Since I did not have enough fabric to make a jacket, I ended up doing a top and having the collar cinch in at the waste. I think it was a better choice than the jacket would have been.
To give a hint of the wings of the wasp, the back of the top has points that lay over the top of the skirt.  
The garment on display. The reason that you see the lining of the top is because it will not fit over the dress form. This particular dress form does not have shoulders that will collapse, so for something so fitted, it makes it impossible to put on the form. In this picture you get a better idea of how long the legs are on the pants.   
In the end, I did not win. Oh well. I did win the Audience Choice Award. Nice and a BIG, BIG thank you to everyone who voted for me.
What I loved most about the experience though was the opportunity that I had to meet a few of you who visit my blog. A lovely lady named Ruth came by and told me that she loves my blog and said that when she sees that I have a new post it feels to her that a good friend has stopped in to chat. Lovely. I also met Patty of http://www.sewmuchknitting.blogspot.com/. What fun it was to have a few moments with her. Another lovely lady made a point of stopping by. She had called before I went to Novi and she had told me that whether I won or not, I was a winner in her eyes. So very sweet. Chris from Indianapolis stopped by to say hi. It was wonderful to see her again. At the moment I'm having a bit of a brain freeze and I can't put my finger on all of you who stopped by, but please believe me when I say that each of you touched my heart in such a special way. The fact that you come by and take time to read my blog is an incredible honor. I'm going to sound like a Southwest Airlines pilot when I say this, (they usually say, "We know you have many options and we would just like to thank you for choosing Southwest) but there are so many blogs, so many places that are vying for your time and the fact that you take a few moments out of your day and spend them with me is as I said, an incredible honor. So today I have no pretty pictures of incredible garments to share with you, but I want you all to know that you are my inspiration.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

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  1. What an interesting and beautiful ensemble. Who won?

  2. Stunning! So exciting to be in your own little Project Runway. I think you outfit is stunning, it gets first prize in my book.
    I have missed your 'chats' lately, and find you very inspirational.

  3. What a pleasure to meet you on Saturday at the Expo! I think your outfit met the Challenge.....love the vest/jacket and those pants :-)!
    I hope you had fun with it, and it was worth the time you invested in coming to Michigan for the weekend.

  4. Wow- congrats on the audience choice award. You deserve it! I love what you came up with under the time pressure of the challenge (like Project Runway!)

  5. Very cool pieces- I wish they'd let her live model it- the form doesn't do it justice- gorgeous!

  6. Wow. This is a wonderful piece. You are so inspirational!

  7. Beautiful and dramatic, Rhonda! Congratulations.

  8. What a fun thing to do!! The outfit is wonderful.

  9. THAT is such a beautiful outfit! Congrats on getting chosen for for winning with the audience. Well deserved!

  10. Congratulations on the Audience Choice Award - it looks like it was well deserved :) It's a stunning outfit, indeed!

  11. Stunning design and the color and fabric are amazing.

  12. Outstanding! Okay Ms. Rhonda, what about project runaway? I know you would win. This outfit is definitely a designer's original. It's spectacular.