We’d like to introduce you to Sheila Martin who won the Repurpose the Dress Category in the Goodwill ReDesign Contest. It’s hard to believe that she used a formal dress to create this one-of-a-kind jacket! The judges couldn’t stop gushing over the quality and technique of her stitching.
What is the ReDesign Contest?
The Goodwill ReDesign Contest required interested participants to buy items at Goodwill and transform the pieces. There were 4 winning categories:
- Avant Garde – Create an innovative look that is experimental and pushes the boundaries.
- Repurpose the Dress – Transform a dress (wedding, prom, formal) into another article of clothing.
- Accessories – Construct an accessory (i.e. handbag, hat, jewelry or shoes) using a variety of items.
- Social Media Favorites – Finalist with the most likes on Facebook won this category.
They submitted an entry form, receipts from Goodwill, and before and after photos of a redesign to Goodwill Keystone Area. Entries were judged on the use of Goodwill items, originality, overall appearance, and technical ability. Selected finalists walked the catwalk in their designs at the fundraiser Goodwill Runway Show in April 2015. Each category winner received a $75 Goodwill gift card and will be featured in an upcoming issue of Berks County Living.
Sheila Martin won the RePurpose the Dress Category.
How did you get started in redesigning clothing?
I love the redesign sewing experience! It is cheaper than buying yard goods and I like working from existing Goodwill pieces. In redesigning, I like the thrill, anxiety and terror of not knowing if I will have enough fabric to work through my inspiration.
Why do you shop at Goodwill?
It’s all about the hunt, chase and win! And we ALL win when we score a fabulous find at Goodwill. When a day is “giving me lemons,” there’s no better way to “make lemonade” than by strolling through a Goodwill store and letting my creative sewing juices flow. I’m back-to-happy in about 30 minutes!
What is your favorite Goodwill store?
I especially like the Goodwill store in Morgantown, PA. They seem to shine in their formal section, which is where I found the lion’s share of my winning garment’s fabric. They colorize the racks and prepare the apparel with noticeable care.
What items do you look for when redesigning?
I go right to the formal section and look at the full-length dresses. A redesigning seamstress is assured of optimizing YARDAGE.
Describe your redesign creative process.
Redesign sewing takes time, problem-solving, engineering and tactile skills, and just plain LOVE of the endeavor. I redesign clothes that I can wear. I start by asking myself, ”What does my wardrobe NEED this season?” and “Do I have the necessary time and skill to execute something that I will wear?”
When dealing with formal dresses (wedding, mother-of-the-bride, prom, bridesmaid), where the yardage is best, I never cut out and sew something that might be a dead giveaway that it once was “bridal.” Best way to achieve this is to shop by examining the underside of the fabric, which will usually have a much more matte, daytime look and feel. Sure, you will still probably end up with a “Dry Clean Only” garment, but it will be something you’ll be proud to wear any day of the week.
What was your experience like at the Goodwill Runway Show?
This was my first year at the Runway Show, and I was utterly blown-away by the entire event – the array of quality food, the sophisticated party atmosphere, the sheer NUMBER of attendees, and the technical merit of the show set-up. Plus, it was wonderful hearing the positive stories from people who have been helped by Goodwill. There was definitely a feel-good vibe during the whole evening!
And as a contestant, I was very appreciative of the chance to meet privately with the four judges and discuss my redesign.
What advice do you have for aspiring redesign artists?
My advice is to get excited about it and commit to it. Stay focused and let the creative passion build as you shop and assess the possibilities. Be flexible, but don’t give up on your intended finished (especially when the going gets tough, which it will). Keep looking at your options for a 100% successful outcome.