You’re all winners!
I could end this post there. But I won’t! It is quite a lengthy one, so stick the kettle on or, y’know, pour yourself a glass of wine!
At any rate, any of the 400+ completed shirtdresses are totally deserving of a prize, or a gift. As you’re probably aware, the recipients of the sponsored #sewtogetherforsummer gifts were entirely chosen at random in order to ensure that everyone who entered had a fair chance of receiving something irrespective of sewing skill – this Challenge was always about inclusivity and participation; about upping your own sewing game, meeting new sewists, sharing knowledge and encouraging others. To put it simply, it was about being part of our wonderful online sewing community. And you all stepped up and proved without a doubt the power of that community – what a vibrant, talented and supportive group of people you all are – thank you all so much!
On Saturday 24th June, I (@sewsarahsmith on Insta) met up with my co-hosts Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) and Monika (@rocco.sienna) in Bristol to spend the day and to select the giftees. We’d talked online via Instagram for over a year and almost daily since January when the idea for #sewtogetherforsummer was born. I admit it, I was a bit nervous. The relationship we’d developed online felt incredibly special but meeting face to face was fantastic! They were both exactly as delightful as I thought they would be! From the very first second they burst out of the car to greet me outside Bristol train station, it was like a meeting between old friends. A reunion rather than a first meet. Sewing people really are the best and I feel incredibly fortunate – what a team!
First things first, we hit FabricLand – that place is great for a bargain – followed by a fabulous guided tour of Bristol before stopping off for lunch at the River Station, a great restaurant, err, stationed down by the river! Prosecco was poured (or Appletizer in Monika’s case!) and three fabulous courses eaten. The conversation and the laughter never faulted – I think we were probably more exuberant than a Hen Party taking place on a table behind us!
Then down to the business of selecting the winners!!
Once we’d established internet connection, we began to pick the winners! Using an online number generator, we checked off each of the randomly generated numbers against our list of entrants. Then after checking their Instagram feed to ensure compliance, we wrote down each picked name on pink card, folded them and put them in a hat with pictures of the gifts and selected the final combinations. Amid much laughter … it felt such a joyous thing to do. I think the waiters in the restaurant were rather bemused!
I talk a little about #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 and the potential for a #sewtogetherforwinter challenge together with a personal message from each of us at the end of this post but now, without any further ado, here is the list of the 17 amazing sewists and the gifts they will receive:-
* T H E G I F T E E S *
CONGRATULATIONS to all of you!!!! We’ve also announced the winners across our Instagram feeds – can you please direct message myself, Suzy or Monika over on Instagram with your contact details (postal address and email) if you haven’t already done so so we can arrange to get your gifts sent to you!
Thanks again to all our generous sponsors for supporting this event!!!
So what happens next?! There have been lots of enquiries on our Instagram feeds as to whether #sewtogetherforsummer will be back next year. Yes it will! We’ve got a pretty good idea of the garment of choice but we’re keeping schtum for now! We’ve also been asked whether there will be a #sewtogetherforwinter challenge too – all I can say for at the moment is … watch this space!
And on that note, I’ll leave you with a personal message about what the Challenge has meant personally from each of us:-
Sarah “Sewing has always been, for me, a way of connecting both with myself and, thanks to the power of social media, others. It is so (sew?!) much more than stitching together pieces of fabric – it’s self-care, it’s about learning to accept failure and allowing yourself to accept compliments. I’m still learning. #sewtogetherforsummer was my way of trying to put back in to our community, and to each individual sewist, at least some of all that I have gained. As a woman, a working class northern lass, I grew up with the sense of women competing against each other – but not here. Amongst our sewing community I feel I have found my tribe. I’ve made friends for life. Sewing is not about being the best, of trying to better others, but only ever about besting yourself. These were the sentiments upon which the #sewtogether Challenge(s) are built and, given your response, I know this resonated with so many of you! The uniqueness and originality you all showed in your Makes really showcased and highlighted the importance of diversity in any community. It has proved any experience, sewing included, really is ‘Better Together’.
Suzy – “Personally, #sewtogetherforsummer has been an amazing experience. I live quite far from most of the sewing action, and Instagram has allowed me to feel a part of the sewing community, so I saw that this challenge was a way of giving something back and having fun along the way. However, I think I´ve probably got more out of the challenge than I put in! Working with Monika and Sarah has been a joy, and I think we made a great team. Seeing all the gorgeous shirtdresses was hugely enjoyable, and I particularly loved the diversity and how sewists stamp their personality on their makes…so inspiring. I´ve also found talented people to follow and made more sewing friends. It´s impossible to describe the satisfaction at seeing less experienced sewists blossom, challenge themselves and then feel so happy with what they achieved. But, above all, the most important aspect for me has been the sheer energy given off by all these amazing people sewing together, supporting and encouraging each other. In a time of uncertainty, what could be better?”
Monika “I’m so glad we decided to run #sewtogetherforsummer. I was genuinely overjoyed to see people from different parts of the world not just making their own shirtdresses but also encouraging and advising others. I often feel that we are defined by our jobs, marital status and nationality so I’m always encouraging everyone to have a hobby they feel passionate about (get sewing people!!!). To see beginners and experienced sewists challenging themselves felt pretty epic!
I loved working with Sarah and Suzy; having 3 different outlooks made for a friendlier challenge and we had such a good laugh along the way!
The internet and social media often gets a bad reputation but our friendly sewing community has proved that you can find genuine friendship and encouragement along the way, here’s to #sewtogetherforsummer2018!”
Until next time, sewing friends x
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