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Project Runway, Episode 11: “Finally On My Own”

Nina Garcia, left, and Tim Gunn present the Marie Claire magazine challenge. The winner's design will be featured on the May cover, worn by actress Jordana Brewster.

An alternate title for last night’s episode of Project Runway could have been “Blast From the Past” (except I’m pretty sure they’ve already used that one). Five eliminated designers came back to be sewing helpers for the remainining five competing designers. So the episode fulfilled the team for every challenge requirement, even though  the returning designers had no stake in the competition, and no say in the designs.

This was the Marie Claire challenge, in which Nina Garcia gets a free look for the cover and a chance to talk about the magazine. The challenge was for the designers to make a cover look for actress Jordana Brewster, the May issue cover girl.

Jordana has been in the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise, and on the television reboot of “Dallas” on TNT. Jordana was also the guest judge for the episode.  

Note: Next week’s episode is a two-hour double!

The teams were:

Michelle Franklin and Amanda Valentine.

Stanley Hudson and Tu Nakchat.

Daniel Esquivel and Samantha Black.

Layana Aguilar and Katelyn Pankoke.

Patricial Michaels and Richard Hallmarq.

 Only Michelle, as the last episode winner, got her pick of partner. Poor Patricia got saddled with Richard again. In the course of this episode we discovered he does not know what a French seam is.

On to the designs! In the course of her instructions to the designers, Nina expressed that she did “not want to see any T-shirts and pants.” That was important later on…

The winner

Stanley Hudson won. Stanley created a leather jacket, graphic-print tank, and high-waisted, voluminous culottes with flange pockets. It looked fab on the model and the colors were a good pick for Jordana.

Stanley Hudson's design.

The loser (?)

Michelle Franklin created… a T-SHIRT AND PANTS! They were well-made, asymmetrical and interesting, but exactly what Nina said NOT to do. The thing is, and I have been wondering about this ever since they bumped both Katelyn and Tu on the same episode, we’re due for a designer take-back. Before Michelle left the runway, Heidi told her she would have a second chance, but did not specify what it would entail. Michelle has been so interesting all season, don’t you hope she’ll get to stick around?

Michelle Franklin's design. 

The other designs

Daniel Esquivel created a bright yellow jacket with big shoulder fins/wings. Poor Daniel did exactly what Nina asked for. It was colorful, fitted, interesting, editorial, and also kind of goofy. Daniel just doesn’t seem to have the eye for bright colors that also look expensive and enticing (Oscar de la Renta, now, he knows how to do just that). There were some snarky allusions to Big Bird.

 Daniel Esquivel's design.

Layana Aguilar created a sort of leather and chainmail tunic over a short organza dress with a full, gored skirt. It was a close second to Stanley’s design. The judges liked the workmanship, color, technique, and the cut.

 Layana Aguilar's look.

Patricia Michaels created a silk chiffon layered tent dress, with one shoulder and a fringed leather strip embellishment. Patricia was hampered by Richard’s lack of sewing knowledge. Instead of being able to focus on the embellishment while Richard constructed the dress, Patricia had to teach him how to sew silk. Patricia herself thought she was going home. She was shocked when Heidi told her she was still “In.”

Patricia Michael's design. 

What did you think?

Can you believe a designer made it to Project Runway without knowing how to sew a French seam?!

Do you think Patricia should have been voted out instead of Michelle?

What was Michelle thinking?

What do you think Michelle will have to do to come back?

Which three designers do you think will show at Fashion Week? I know I have my picks!


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  1. MeMarge | | #1

    MICHELLE??!! WTF? Patricia makes this 'schmatah' that looks like a 4H project and stays in and Michelle make an awesome kicky outfit she called a 't-shirt' and pants and is out, but I've never seen a t-shirt like that. I'd wear her designs ANYtime!. Beautiful, wearable and marketable. Stanley's designs are good, but not for me. Don't even get me started on the banana starship uniform…. oh puleeeeeze, Nina, what is your problem?

  2. MeMarge | | #2

    MICHELLE??!! WTF? Patricia makes this 'schmatah' that looks like a 4H project and stays in and Michelle make an awesome kicky outfit she called a 't-shirt' and pants and is out, but I've never seen a t-shirt like that. I'd wear her designs ANYtime!. Beautiful, wearable and marketable. Stanley's designs are good, but not for me. Don't even get me started on the banana starship uniform…. oh puleeeeeze, Nina, what is your problem?

  3. MeMarge | | #3

    sorry about the reposts---computer glitch :/

  4. user-1118825 | | #4

    Michelle's look was chic beyond belief. I would purchase the magazine with that cover. Many of the other designs look so impractical that they verge on the weird. Layana sure has an immature attitude. Is that how she would run a studio? She could be a nightmare for whom to work, or use as a designer. Egads!

  5. frenchseams | | #5

    The whole concept of teams was silly from the beginning. Patricia might make wonderful fabric designs, but her garments would have knocked her out earlier if she weren't carried along by the team concept. I agree, Layana sure has an immature attitude.
    Stanley's leather garment didn't really say May to me and all that white cotton? The Big Yellow Easter Bunny guy is a great tailor, but not a designer. Michelle's outfit is something I would purchase and wear. If hers is the losing garment because it isn't editorial, maybe I'm beginning to understand why I don't buy fashion magazines.
    Final three, Michelle and Stanley. They lost the third earlier in those stupid team challenges.
    This season has been a disappointment.

  6. Moonbeams | | #6

    Well, Michelle may be better at some designs but everyone knows that following directions is the name of the game in any business.

    I cannot believe they paired Patricia with Richard. Come on. I know it was "random" but he should've been paired with Stanley. And Richard can't sew a French seam? I told my hubby I could teach him how to do it in less time than it took Richard to "get it." I do think he was less than enthusiastic because he did believe he should have been kept. However, he doesn't get along with anyone. It's his way or the highway or he pouts.

    Nina doesn't really know a lot of times what she asks of people. Although the yellow was what was expected, I think it was cruel to negatively criticize it. The winners were plain old outfits. I make them for my dolls. LOL


  7. GMterrie | | #7

    Welllllll...I agree that this season of "Project Runway" has been a major disappointment. The team thing didn't challenge anyone to try to stand out the best they could. They only needed to be passable to move on to the next level. Patricia, Patricia...you with your googly eyes. You are in the wrong department of the store. You belong in the fabric department, not the clothing. Richard needed to be cut much earlier, and certainly not brought back for anything. In fact, if it were not for the "team," he would have been sent packing right away. Poor Stanley, he would get lost in a closet, yet he has had some interesting ideas. Layana's time will come. Remember Wendy Pepper? Abrasive, manipulative, and mean-spirited people always get exposed.
    I watched the rerun tonight of all 2006 episodes of "Project Runway" with Christian, Chris, and Rami. Now THERE was a season. The clothes were terrific, as well as the different personalities. Loved it!

  8. Ikebana152 | | #8

    I agree with the comments below, what an awful season! Designers that can't sew, can't fit anyone other than a "perfect" body, have limited creativity and bitch, moan, groan and complain.

    Look beyond the bad sewing and Patiricia's dress is a sad chiffon sack with leather feathers. I wouldn't allow my niece to wear it a costume party. Why is this fiber artist still here?

    I can forgive, but never wear, Daniel's yellow wings. It makes sense in the context of a photo shoot and the high drama that is the stuff of fashion magazines and fantasy. Not for the real world, but at least is was well made.

    Michelle's look was hip and cool, etc, etc, but if you ordered a lace wedding dress and a pair of white leather jeans with a halter top were delivered to you, you would reject it. Creativity and edgy design is no excuse for completlely ignoring your client's wishes. Unfortunately, It meant that Patricia was in.

    Whine, whine, whine, but Layana's look was well done.

    Stanley's look was commercial, a lot of people could wear it, not too tight, not too short. You might see it at a sping wedding. Oh my goodness- real clothing for real people on Project Runway! (sarcasm seriously intended).

    Project Runway has gotten worse since the move to Lifetime. It's been downhill since Gretchen won over Mondo. I wonder if Lifetime has imposed some judging constraints about women winning or making it to the end, no matter what. The show needs better skills, better designs and a lot less snark. Perhaps someone should also coach Heiidi and Nina that not everyone want's clothes that are " tighter, shorter, younger".

  9. User avater
    Soli | | #9

    My husband said that they probably kept Patricia in because they couldn't penalize her for getting lumbered with incompetent Richard again, and that because of that, they couldn't justify getting rid of Michelle either. Makes sense to me. As someone pointed out on Facebook, Daniel got a lot of criticism for his little booty shorts and jacket combo on the show, yet the very next day, some young film actress was photographed on a red carpet wearing a brocade ensemble very like the one Daniel designed. To me, it looked more Lady Gaga than anything else, and at least he took a risk instead of t-shirt and pants. I've never forgotten the sign in my 7th grade sewing classroom - "When all else fails, read the directions." Or in Michelle's case, listen to the directions. Why is anyone surprised that Richard made it that far, when Anya, Queen of the Glue Gun, ended up winning two seasons ago. Talk about not deserving the win. I think they just go for drama and personalities, and seems to me that most talented newcomers/unknowns aren't really being cast because they're not interesting or telegenic enough. Pity. There have to be more talented people than this bunch out there, although the damn team concept meant that good people got cut before their time and bad people got carried along too long. This season has been infuriating.

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