At 7pm on Wednesday 27 July, the winner of the Green Heart Collective Transformation Challenge was announced. Louise had made a fabulous two piece of a feather lined bustier and trousers out of a damaged dress and feather bolero and thoroughly deserved the first prize of a £50 Hobbycraft Voucher. Congratulations, Louise!
Let's unpack how we got to that point.
The Green Heart Collective Transformation Challenge
How it came about
The idea came from the Great British Sewing Bee, of course, and the mounting pile of damaged clothes in the Green Heart Collective warehouse. Having recently enrolled on a dressmaking college locally, Helen realised how many people love sewing and also love a challenge!
Choosing the items
Two weeks earlier, the contestants visited Green Heart to choose their garments. The table was laden with a wide variety of damaged clothing and it was fascinating to see what each individual was drawn to - for some, it was as natural fabrics as possible, others the sparkle of sequins, others the feel of fabrics such as satin and chiffon....
The challenge was to create a two piece outfit from two damaged garments and any accessories such as buttons and ribbons selected on the initial day. The contestants could use their own threads, dyes, zips, interfacing, patterns etc but no extra embellishments. They could spend as long as they wanted on the creation of their outfit as long as their entry was returned by the closing date.
Helen and Liz from Green Heart Collective both entered the challenge and soon discovered what a huge challenge it really was! Deconstructing a garment to use the fabrics in a different way is super tricky compared to using a large, flat piece of fabric. Coming up with an idea that combines elements from both garments in the finished piece takes a lot of reflection too. Neither chose easy fabrics to work with either - satin and chiffon may look great but are very slippery materials!
The finished garments
Excitement began to mount as the finished garments started to appear at Green Heart Collective. It was amazing to see the amount of time and work and creativity that had gone into each piece. The contestants seemed pleased with what they had created, sometimes frustrated that they hadn't had time to finish or that it hadn't worked out quite how they intended, but overall proud.
The judges arrived an hour before the contestants to consider the outfits and reach a decision. Lyn Davison is a sewing tutor at Bensham Grove Community Centre and was focussed on the sewing skills that had been demonstrated, the neatness of the finish and how the individual had handled the fabric. Sam Barker is the Vegan Haberdasher with an eye for embellishments and overall wow factor!
The announcementMost of the contestants gathered together for the winner to be announced. The judges went through each outfit one by one, picking out what they had loved about it. The runner up was announced as Mairi Kennedy, who received a £15 voucher to spend at Green Heart Collective. She was super pleased, especially as this was the first garment she had ever sewn! We all then celebrated with the worthy winner Louise with a glass of fizz and lots of photos.
There was a great vibe, with comments such as 'I enjoyed making something using skills I've not used for some time' and 'I enjoyed designing something within a brief and transforming garments radically which I haven't really done before'.
Winner Louise commented, 'I loved the challenge of using pre-existing garments and being careful to use the fabric. It was a challenge but great fun!'
Following on from the success of this first Transformation Challenge, the team here at Green Heart Collective are planning another similar Transformation Challenge in the Autumn. There'll also be a different challenge during Great Big Green Week at the end of September that will potentially be open to people all over the country - watch this space!
Green Heart Collective Transformation Challenge: Exhibition Photos
We've rounded up some great shots from the brilliant night we had and put them together in a short video below...