Sewing for Competitions | Episode 13Episode 13: Daryl Lancaster offers in-depth guidance for creating garments for competition, getting your work accepted by a jury, and enjoying the process, whether you win or not.
In the Sewing with Threads Episode 13 video podcast, guest Daryl Lancaster shares her experiences with designing, weaving, and constructing garments and fiber arts pieces for sewing contests.
Daryl has contributed numerous articles to Threads and maintains her own website at DarylLancaster.com. She travels extensively to teach hand weaving and garment construction.
We asked Daryl what her favorite sewing term was, and her answer was “grainline.” She traces her obsession with a fabric’s grain to her decades of work as a weaver and sewer, who understands that a fabric’s structure is the key to how it behaves. In her article “Essential Techniques: Prep fabric properly,” in Threads #184 (April/May 2016), Daryl explains how to straighten the grain on a woven fabric. You can view a video of this process at “How to Straighten Fabric Grain.”
Daryl has written about creating custom trims and constructing hand-woven garments. Find out more in these online articles:
“Learn to Braid a Japanese Cord for Unique Sewing Accents,” Threads #194 (Dec. 2017/Jan. 2018)
“Crocheted Edges on Garments” Threads #200 (Dec. 2018/Jan.2019)
Threads Insider members can also visit these pages:
“Sewing with Handwoven Fabrics,” Threads #163 (Oct./Nov. 2012)
“How to Weave Custom Trims,” in Threads #175 (Oct./Nov. 2014)
A hot topic in this podcast episode was how to promote your fiber arts and sewn garments through competitions and contests. Daryl has entered and won many contests, and exhibited her work at dozens of juried exhibitions. Her latest big win was at the Handweavers Guild of America, Inc. Her advice is to keep entering competitions and applying to shows, and not to be discouraged by rejections. According to her, a ratio of six rejections to one acceptance or win is excellent. The best way to handle a rejection is to learn from it by visiting the show to see what kind of pieces did get accepted.
When entering a juried contest, it’s important to present your work in its best light—literally. High-quality photography is essential, and Daryl and the Threads staff discuss what makes a good garment photo. In addition to the photo tips we talk about, take a look at “See Your Creations on the Pages of Threads Magazine” for more pointers on lighting, backgrounds, and styling. These tips apply to any opportunity you have to show off your work, including in Threads‘ online Gallery. (Daryl mentions looking at the “Reader’s Closet” department in past issues of Threads for sewing inspiration; that department has been replaced with the Gallery.)
To hear more about what our authors and guests love about sewing, tune in to previous episodes of the Sewing with Threads podcast.