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The 2020 Competition is now over.
The 2021 Theme will be chosen by our Members in April!

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Caledonian Forest StaysCaledonian Forest StaysCaledonian Forest StaysCaledonian Forest StaysCaledonian Forest Stays

 

 

Caledonian Forest Stays

Joy R, Texas, USA

 

Inspiration and Mood Board: Pinterest

Photography/Videography: The Husband Who Wishes to be Anonymous

 

The Design

Scotland used to be coated in a primeval forest as thick and ecologically rich as the Amazonian rainforest. It was in the Caledonian forest that Merlin was rumoured to retreat to, Arthur fought important battles in, and strange beasts lurked about. Recently conservators at Trees for Life have been working to renew the forest by encouraging local trees and wildlife to return and regrow their populations. I found out about this story around the same time I found the Foundations Revealed contest. It fit with the theme so perfectly. When I realized I had some stained jeans that probably won't fit for a while, I decided to try making a pair of stays out of them. Because, well, I want the Caledonian forest to be here to stay.

 

The Construction

My biggest challenge was that my ambitions did not match my sewing skill level. This is the fifth sewing project I've attempted and my first foundation layer garment. Despite its many flaws, I really enjoyed the act of sewing and like what I've created.

As homage for the theme I decided not to buy anything for the project, but try to reduce, reuse, and recycle things I already had*. As a result I used bamboo skewers for the busk and boning. This was surprisingly awesome as the bamboo was fairly bendy (though not as bendy as a zip tie) and seemed to bend more with body heat. The front "fashion fabric" was supplied by cutting apart some old jeans.

Since I didn't already own a short stays pattern, I made my own using the Foundations Revealed bra making tutorial and Foundations Revealed gore tutorial as a base, then altering it based on references on Pinterest. I even made a mock-up! Which I promptly turned into a tailor's ham because the mock up fell apart before I could fit it on me. Rather than make a second mock up I charged ahead. In retrospect, I should have made the mock-up again if only to practice sewing straight seams. The fashion fabric was roll pinned to a layer of the lining fabric using the aforementioned tailor's ham before continuing with the rest of the stays construction.

Another notable thing is that I learned to love hand sewing. A friend received a thimble in her Christmas cracker and gave it to me. Suddenly the thimble made hand sewing a pain free and quiet way to spend an evening. As a result much of the lining and finishing work is hand stitched.

*I am compelled to say, I actually did buy things. I broke a lot of needles and had to buy replacements.

 

Materials Used

Old green jeans (fabric content: 98% cotton, 2% spandex ), broken pearl drop necklace, cream (cotton?) mystery fabric from stash, bamboo skewers, various Christmas ribbon, brass grommets, polyester thread, polyester embroidery floss, and cotton embroidery floss.

 

What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

This contest pushed me to turn someday into today. I was going to sit this competition out because I didn’t think my skills were up to snuff, but I read the brief, browsed the inspiration board and found myself whisked away by an idea for a project. If you’re on the fence, go look at the boards and see what happens! (Also read grommet instructions and practice sewing straight seams.)

 

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kitty mortensen
I love your pun (wanting the forest to *stay*) and your stays. The fit is amazing as well, love the detailing on the top edge.
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Joy R.
Thank-you! (I enjoy being punny :) )
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mollyc
I love the use of old denim for your fabric, and that pop of tartan is perfect. You got a really great fit to it as well.
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Joy R.
Thank you! I was really excited to get the tartan ribbon at Christmas because it's similar to my family's tartan.
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I really enjoy your creativity and willingness to try something new! The little ruffle at the top and bit of tartan compliment your denim. Way to go!
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Joy R.
Thank you! Also, I clicked through your user name link, and the hats you make are gorgeous!
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rebecca_robinson
I think it's great that you plowed ahead into things you've not done before, like drafting combined patterns and leaving mockups unfitted! Sometimes the best things are made when you don't follow all the rules and just have a go- I've found it's usually more fun that way too!
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Joy R.
Indeed! There's a grace in both ways of doing things whether it's a creative frenzy or careful work of love.
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kirstymitchell
I love how you've really gone all in with the zero waste ethos Joy, lovely outcome.
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Joy R.
Thankyou! It's really thanks to this theme and a few other encounters with similar ideas like permaculture design and organic gardening that I've been able to start living more sustainably in very small ways.
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Olive
This is great! I love your theme and I learned something new from it! Also I'm a newbie and I've never seen short stays like that before: they look super intriguing! Brava!
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Joy R.
Hooray fellow newbie! We can trailblaze this hobby together! Pinterest is my greatest inspirational friend. These stays were inspired by a mismash of a few different stays I found there.
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bernadettebanner
I love your dedication to upcycling! A most worthy creation—I’m glad to see these garments living such an extraordinary second life.
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Joy R.
Thank-you! It's amazing how flexible textiles can be. Up next is making a rag rug from some other things that don't fit anymore and are too grungy for the thrift store! (Also thank you for your thimble tutorial. It was very useful)
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arianabauer
Such a cute little undergarment and great use of materials!
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Joy R.
Thank you!
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lyrisdesign
Well done, I love your creativity in materials!!
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Joy R.
Thank you! It was great fun trying to find something that would work. My first attempt was trying to make boning out of fused plastic bags, but the (non-toxic!) fumes and general floppiness of the resulting material were enough for me to call it quits.
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Lenora
I am gobsmacked! This is your 5th sewing project?! You are going to be an amazing sewist in no time at all. Your concept is really cool and I also love the pun. laugh Your upcycling and commitment to finding materials you already had is great and led to a neat discovery in the bamboo skewers! I have found those to be useful in many ways as well. Mostly in ways that have naught to do with their intended purpose!
Adapting and combining patterns is no mean feat, and you did a great job there as well. All in all, a lot of experience you have gained. And I can't wait to see what you do next!

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Joy R.
Thank you! I have been blessed by good teachers for my first two projects and incredibly useful YouTube tutorials for everything else. Also, I'd love to hear what uses you discovered for bamboo skewers! I have so many and cannot possibly make enough kebobs to use them up.
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jema
What a great learning curve, you've been so innovative with your repurposing!
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Joy R.
Thank you! Truly, the greatest part of participating in this project was having a deadline to push me past my perfectionism. It made that learning curve possible and I'm so grateful to have people celebrate with me!
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Jennifer Stone
Beautiful, how creative and wonderful you are!
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Joy R.
Thank you!
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klarahall
It's realy inspiring what you made from those jeans! Great work.
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Joy R.
Thank you!
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AD
What a beautiful piece! I love the links with the outdoors as your inspiration and the dedication to re-using materials. It's unique and quite delightful really. Your skills are so good for being so new at this; I'm inspired. Thank you for sharing this with us.
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Joy R.
Thank you! I'm so grateful for having a positive online space to try this out in. Reading last year's comments on other entries helped give me the courage to enter. It's also nice to have a place with knowledgeable criticism, where you can find out how to get better instead of just stumbling in the dark.
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sauve piecemaker
Howdy fellow Texan! I think that your stays made by recycling is a wonderful habit to practice. It is very nice looking and the extra color plaid is a great what to tribute Scottish heritage.
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Joy R.
Howdy! Thank you! I am often struck by the overwhelming amount of plaid in both Texas and Scotland :)
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Gallagher Green
I love that you used such readily available materials, and it looks incredible! Great job.
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royalblack
It's hard to believe that this is the first foundation garment you made - well done!
I also was impressed by your dedication to upcycling. It's not only using materials from the stash, but actually repurposing something existing into a lovely new design. Very inspiring and perfect for the theme!

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lcostigliolo
Nice fit, I especilly love the shape of the bust! Well done for using old jeans, they really worked well! I have never tried bamboo sticks, now I want to! Thank you for the inspiration!
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carolinewoollin
I love to hear how enthusiastic makers are when trying out projects for this competition - this really comes across in your summary! Very innovative use of bamboo for rigidity as well - fab!
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AV
such a wonderful simple idea in the spirit of the theme! love how these stays turned out and that the project allowed you to tackle a new challenge!
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paulay71
Upcycling the jeans has turned out great, lovely pattern and fit too.
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klarahall
This is only your fifth sewing project? That is crazy! It looks amazing! Well done.
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vanyanis
Well done Joy! I'm thrilled to read that you discovered a love for hand sewing and using a thimble :D Excellent use of upcycling with your project <3
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marloes dadswell
What a wonderfully fun entry and what a great use of materials!
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saule_myrthe
I love the idea! I also have a tendency to go do the things I have no idea how to do, and truly, those are the projects where you learn and grow the most. You did a great job!
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