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Welcome to Sewing Stadium! Home of the Top Stitcher sewing challenge, and the jaw-dropping creations of the most imaginative minds in the sew-blogging world. You're in for a real treat. Go get inspired!

{pioneer} Thick as Thieves

The Pioneer challenge is near and dear to my heart. It's evolved along with me, over the last year, as I went from a seamstress who happened to blog... to a blogger, who sews. Why the switch?? Well - I realized that the only way to have my sewing projects seen reliably, was to learn to blog effectively! And learning to collaborate and network with other free, creative spirits was a huge part of the be-a-better-sew-blogger mission. So, that's exactly how I challenged my talented friends Katy and RaeAnna in this week's Pioneer sew-down!

They say "two heads are better than one" - which is why you and your partner will be flexing your collaborative muscle for this project! Together, you'll pick a famous duo - real or fictitious - to inspire an outfit for your sons. Be the Starksy to your partner's Hutch, the Batman to their Robin, the Louis to their Clark. The choice is yours to make together. Good luck!
Judges will rate you equally on the individual creativity of each entry, and the cohesiveness between them both. 

Katy's Entry

RaeAnna and I were challenged to pick a famous duo for our sons to represent.  We chatted and it didn't take long to decide on pretty much the world's coolest twosome.  DROIDS.  C-3PO and R2-D2 have been around for almost 40 years now and are still as popular as ever.  I am stoked that we decided upon these two.

Have you heard about that little universe called Star Wars?  My family is obsessed with Star Wars, to the extreme.  So much so that my husband, Bennett, is rocking a Rebel Alliance tattoo on his arm.  We don't take Mr. Lucas' creations lightly.

The brilliance of choosing R2 and 3PO is that these droids have literally seen it all.  They were in the original trilogy, the prequels, the Clone Wars, Rebels and are going to be featured in The Force Awakens (which comes out in DECEMBER, woot!).  Other characters come and go, yet these droids remain a constant.

It's probably because they're so stinking cool.  I mean.
These ARE the droids you're looking for.

C-3PO can come across as super annoying sometimes.  But that's part of his charm.  He reminds me a lot of having a 5-year old in the house.  3PO is very matter-of-fact and fails to realize what he's saying might not exactly want to be heard.  

To create this look, I stepped a little outside of my comfort zone...with both materials and detailing.  While I was sketching out this outfit, I had pictured using a woven material in an old gold color.  Without shimmer.  Louis had another plan.  He picked out all of the fabrics, in a swimsuit knit with all the shimmer.  All of it.  Sewing with such a slippery fabric was different, to say the least.

Because of the busy level of the fabric, I was worried about getting the details to stand out.  What I ended up doing was a reverse applique.  Or at least something like it.  The bodice was double layered and I top-stitched two parallel lines where I wanted the details.  Then I simply clipped the gold top layer away, so the black knit layer would show through.  I thought it created kind of a raw look, with piecing like C-3PO has with his metal body plates.

For those of you who are wondering what's up with the color differences in one leg and arm: With the red arm, well, I don't know quite yet.  The teasers for The Force Awakens has C-3PO with a red arm but they haven't disclosed exactly why yet.  It's a fun bit of speculation for us SW nerds.  His lower right leg is also silver because it was disassembled during Episode 4 and when reattached, they didn't have a gold leg or the ability to dip his leg back to gold.  The slight changes in this character's appearance just goes to show more of a weathered look.  His "scars" perhaps.  He's been around and seen it all.  Yet his annoyingly sweet/loyal charm still remains.

The stomach is probably  my favorite detail.  I took ribbons and twisted them in varying directions, then stitched the tops and bottoms down to secure them.  So when you actually take a peek at them, they are really like loose wires.  I totally dig.

I used all Patterns for Pirates patterns to achieve this look.  The top is a soon-to-be-released henley shirt that I just used the base and hood for, no henley obviously.  And the pants are the Pirate Playground Pants.  Super simple, great fit and easy to build from.  You work with what you know, right?  

[Full blown confession, my kiddo has been super insanely sick all week and I had to substitute in a friend's gorgeous son for these photos.  Thank you so much Nikki for letting me borrow Donovan!]  For more photos and the outtakes of my son's Tatooine-inspired shoot, head over to my blog: Wild & Wanderful.


When I heard that our challenge prompt was to pick a "duo" to show off our sewing inspiration, I was so glad that Katy was on board for Star Wars!!!!  Who isn't totally psyched about the new movie coming out in December?!  The hard part was deciding which droid we wanted - I went with R2-D2 since I am all about the color scheme on this friendly little droid!
 

I didn't want to go "costume" on this look (although I did go costume with the droids  you can see on my blog!!!)  and decided that Christian needed an every day look inspired by R2-D2.  We go to Disney in February and I want him to have something comfortable to wear while we walk around the park. 

As I thought about what sewing skills I could show off in the look, I decided to focus on three!  The first is a layered reverse applique.  Free motion applique is hot right now and if you use reverse applique on your look you can add an extra dimension of texture.  See the tutorial over on my blog with more pictures if you are curious on how to use this technique! 

The second skill/technique is something that I think is really fun for boys (especially as they get older!) Finishing seams with a raw edge isn't a mistake on this look - it is my cheesy way to give a nod to a "rebellion!" No "right sides together" on some of the seams here - leaving the raw edge exposed creates a cool feature! The first time I saw this technique was in the book Sewing for Boys by Karen LePage and Shelly Figuerola *affiliate link* and I made the raglan pattern with raw edges and loved the look!

Since I was going to be making a t-shirt with a lot of piecing and reverse applique, I felt like the raw edges would compliment the look of the applique around the shirt!  The t-shirt pattern I used was the Quadrilateral T by AddieK that I had sewn for Christian's birthday. Since it was already printed and ready to cut out, I modified it to have a curved color blocking section along the front.

For the pants, I went with the W Pants by Blank Slate Patterns.  I knew that I wanted to keep playing with the color blocking to show the R2-D2 inspiration!  I just love blue, white, gray and red together! I went with a gray bottom weight for the pants and pulled in the blue by using denim on the back yoke of the pants!  

The third sewing technique I'm showing off in the look is the satin piping on the pockets!  I didn't use real piping cord for this detail, I simply took a small 1/2" folded satin trim when I constructed the pocket and pocket lining so you would see that shiny pop of red!

I love how the shirt and pants fit on my silly boy!  I bought a baseball hat with embroidered R2D2 designs to finish off the look and when we went to our photoshoot location I asked him to do a robot dance for me.  He is all about busting a move!

And since little sister can't be left out on this challenge, we had to make a matching outfit for her!  I present...... "R2-DTuTu!"

Yes, the tutu is definitely "costume" since I have been working on the droid look and if you go to my blog you can see how Christian has transformed into C-3PO for Halloween!  Instead of using applique for Eva Mae, I used heat transfer vinyl on her R2-D2 designs.  Christian's name on his t-shirt is also made with HTV and my Silhouette Cameo!  Thanks so much for reading and I can't wait to see what Katy has come up with for her C-3PO look!  May the Force be with you!


Before you give your ratings, here's a quick refresher of the rules!

  • You will rate rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here) New to Season 2 - 50% of the vote will come from 3 Top Stitcher Alumnae who volunteered to judge this season's creations!
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PICK A FAVORITE! Any week, any sew-down, you are welcome to reward both sewists with the highest scores. Or one sewist higher than another in different categories. This is a contest against each contestant's personal best, not against one another.
Rate Katy's Technique *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate RaeAnna's Technique: *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate Katy's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate RaeAnna's Creativity *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate Katy's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate RaeAnna's Presentation *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate Katy's Degree of Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Rate RaeAnna's Degree of Difficulty *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Leave Some Love! *
Let this week's challengers know what you liked best from each look! Tell them in the comments below.