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Four Participants. Thoughtfully Selected. Creative & Talented. This is the MARGE & TALL GUIDES Magazine #SewTallAndCreative2017 Design Challenge.

Our 4 designers were gifted identical boxes of luxurious MARGE fabrics and given two months to design and/or sew a dress in the spirit of the Summer/Resort Season. You’ve met the Designers and seen their ideas in the early Inspiration & Intention phase. We checked in with them again during the Concept & Initial Design phase and showed you what they’d been up to during the Construction Phase.

After two months of creativity, hard work and dedication from Janet, Beth, Tiffany and Allison, we are genuinely blown away by their creations. This is one tall and talented group of women and it’s finally time for The Big Reveal.

Janet : DIY Wardrobe, UK

It’s finished! Two months after a beautiful box of fabrics arrived in the post from MARGE, it’s time to reveal my silk and crepe dress. I’m so grateful to have been involved in this challenge; it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve learnt a whole sackful of new skills.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesI used view B from B6169, part of Liesl Gibson’s line for Butterick. I love pretty much everything Liesl does, and although this dress didn’t scream my name when it first came out, the pattern has everything I like in a relaxed summer dress.

The belt gives it shape – although you could leave this off for an easier life and use a RTW belt instead; it takes full advantage of any drape; and the gathered shape with no closures makes it fairly simple to construct. Princess seams make fitting easier (other than a swayback adjustment…) and the instructions are clear & straightforward for a Big 4 pattern. Plus it also includes a great-looking moto jacket that’s going on my list for the autumn.

I picked the rough side of the coral crepe and the pale pink spotted silk from the four fabrics we were given. The colours are in my comfort zone, and I was fairly confident they’d combine well. Both were a little trickier to work with than I’d anticipated – the crepe creases like mad and doesn’t drape quite as much as I would like, and the spots on the silk drove me to distraction! However…

I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and especially because I was trying so many of the techniques for the first time. Cutting out was awkward – I sandwiched everything between two layers of tissue and cut with shears, which worked pretty well.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesTo sew up, I used the walking foot throughout. The crepe went through the machine without any problems, and I used my overlocker (serger) to finish the seams. The silk was tougher to sew – I switched to fine cotton thread and went down to a size 60 needle. Even so, I still needed tissue under the fabric to stop it being dragged into the feed dogs, and each time I hit one of the spots my seam line wobbled a bit. I used French seams on the yokes to seam and finish in one go. Both fabrics were tricky to press though: the silk wouldn’t press cleanly over the spots and the crepe didn’t stay pressed for long. But I got there in the end.

Overall, I love the relaxed feel of this dress and I think it works dressed up or down. I opted for down for these pictures, but I reckon a pair of heels and some bling would glam it up enough for a summer wedding or you could toughen it up with boots and that moto jacket.

*Content and imagery compliments of DIY Wardrobe

Beth : Sew DIY, USA

It’s finally time to reveal the dress I made for the #SewTallAndCreative2017 Design Challenge. Doing any sort of challenge can be a little stressful but this one was really fun AND I’m really, really happy with my dress.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesWhen I first opened the box of fabric that I was challenged to use, I felt a little apprehensive because I probably would not have chosen any of the fabrics AND I had to use two in my dress. Thank goodness that I had almost two months to work on this dress because it was a genuine challenge.

I spent a lot of time thinking about patterns and my limited fabric options, settling on the tropical print lace and a vintage pattern, Simplicity 5850. I can’t remember the last time I used a vintage pattern or lace. It was so far removed from what I usually sew and I’m so glad that I went for it because I LOVE this dress. Warning! There are a LOT of photos.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesSimplicity 5850 was pretty straightforward to sew and I only had to make a few adjustments to get a really good fit. I had to lengthen the bodice a few inches and the skirt was actually long enough as is. I incorporated the second fabric by applying flat piping to the neckline, armholes and waistline. It’s pretty subtle but adds a nice additional dimension to the dress. The dark purple fabric is really, really lightweight and was challenging to use.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesPart of the reason I chose the maxi dress pattern and this fabric is that I thought it would be the most dramatic option and this is a competition after all. I actually don’t make many maxi dresses. Maybe because being tall, I’m just not used to something super long? Well, this one is very, very long. I used as much of the fabric as I could and made a very narrow hem. In these photos I’m wearing about a 1.5 inch heel but I think I could wear something higher. I actually almost tripped over the hem because it’s so long.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesI’m really excited to see what everyone else has made. This was a good challenge and I’m so curious to see how they’ve used the fabric. Most of all, I really hope that this challenge will inspire more people to take up sewing, especially those of us who have an extra hard time finding clothes in shops. Being able to make one’s own clothes is so empowering. Plus, it’s really fun. Instead of spending hours trying on dresses that don’t fit you can spend a few hours sewing and have something that fits your body perfectly.

*Content and imagery compliments of SEW DIY

Tiffany : Pretty Tall Sew ‘n’ Sew, USA

First and foremost, I must say that I am truly thankful for this opportunity. When I began sewing 3 years ago, I never imagined being part of anything related to sewing. There was also a point where I never imagined wearing the clothes that I made outside of the house! As I continued to learn more, I created more and slowly but surely, I improved. Every little step that I make towards becoming better at this gift is a personal reward.

It’s been two months since this challenge began and now it’s time to reveal my dress.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesAfter the sewing and construction process ended, the real fun began! It was time to strut my stuff – this has always been the fun part to me! I love to dress up and style clothing and I wanted to create several looks for the bottom of the dress.

For my first look, I’ve created a figure flattering semi-pencil skirt which I added to one of the bodices. This is a shorter skirt because I wanted something that had a party feel to it. I also wanted to be able to move around in it comfortably so I made it a little bigger! sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesBy using the sheer purple fabric, I was also able to style a very pretty belted look that I love so much! This fabric can be used in so many ways and can be worn long or short depending on your preference.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesFor the second look, I have used the light pink, sheer, polka dot fabric with a lining to create a gathered skirt. I’ve also added a belt to create more interest. I love the versatility of accessorising with different belts to give this outfit a totally different vibe.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesI pulled together many unlikely combinations to create these looks along with several pairs of shoes that I wanted to wear but I’ve managed to exercise restraint and kept it to just a few!

*Content and imagery compliments of Pretty Tall Saw ‘n’ Sew

Allison : The Tall Mama, Australia

It’s time for the big reveal… Here it is!  My dress entry for the #SewTallandCreative2017 Design Challenge.

Before we talk about the dress, I’d just like to say that I truly feel honoured to be selected to take part. Yes, that sounds a bit like an Academy Awards speech, but I really mean it. Being part of this challenge tested my design and sewing skills. It encouraged me to work with fabrics I wasn’t as comfortable sewing and to make and design a dress which made the most of the quantity of fabric provided. Even though I had periods of indecision, worry and second guessing myself; I loved the entire experience. More importantly I LOVE my dress!

I love the weight of the fabrics, I love the way it swishes when I walk (you can’t help but add a little swagger!!) and I love how I feel wearing it. And isn’t that what Tall Guides and MARGE is all about? Feeling confident and beautiful in our tall bodies?!

So without further ado, here is my dress! sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesThe challenge required we use 2 fabrics generously gifted by MARGE Clothing.  All MARGE fabrics are ethically made in Europe & USA. To make the most of the divine fabrics I made my dress reversible. Two dresses in one!  The dress pulls on over my head and doesn’t have a zip or buttons. sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesI based my design on the Sweet Summertime Dress by Sew To Grow. I’ve made this dress before, so knew the bodice fit. I did modify the skirt of the dress by making it fuller and longer and making the front pleats bigger.sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesI added pleats to the back of the skirt for extra fullness & swish. I made the hem of the skirt longer in the back so you could see the fabric underneath better, this also gives more swish when you walk.

With the gorgeous drape of these fabrics, I was all about the swish factor! sewtallandcreative2017 sewing tall sew design challenge competition marge tallguidesSo there it is! My entry for #SewTallandCreative2017 and I’m very proud of it. Thank you to all of you who were following my progress.

*Content and imagery compliments of The Tall Mama website.

Stay tuned to see who gets named as the #SewTallAndCreative2017 Design Challenge winner/s

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