My Material Life

My Very Own Project Runway


Did you catch the premier of Project Runway on Lifetime last Thursday night? I just love that show. Love, love, love it! And it’s funny, but it only occurred to me long after I started watching it that I had my own little “sewing under pressure” experience when I was a teenager way back in the summer of 1978. That August I participated in something called The Greatest Sew on Earth at the Los Angeles Convention Center. There were about 400 of us who had eight hours to sew a complete outfit. Unlike Project Runway, we didn’t have to design the outfit and we cut our fabric before we arrived at the competition. The local paper actually sent a reporter to my house about a week before the event. He put every awkward thing I said word-for-word in the story (the creep), but at least I have some record of the experience and a cool newspaper photo of me at 15 sewing on my maternal grandmother’s Singer Featherweight sewing machine.

I loved it when guest judge Selma Blair referred to one of the contestant’s garments as “unfortunate” on last week’s episode. That very word is what I think of when I look at the outfit below, but it did get me into the semifinals.


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