March 29, 2013

I am so glad that sewing has made such a comeback in the last ten years.  As a teenager I was very shy, and often apologetic about the fact that I sewed.  It just seemed so 1950’s housewife – not what I was going for at all.  So it’s been interesting for me to watch this huge shift happen in the past decade as it has become cool to DIY, make your own clothes, knit, craft, and want to be a designer.  I think there are probably many reasons why this has happened, but I give a huge amount of the credit to TV shows such as Project Runway for making it cool again to be crafty.

I watch both Project Runway and Fashion Star religiously.  Both have pluses and minuses, but here is my overall take:

Maybe it’s because it has so many seasons under it’s belt, but I am able to take Project Runway a little more seriously than the other show.  I like that a greater amount of the focus is spent on the creative process and less on the judging portion of the show.  I just love watching them shop and sketch and “make it work.”  It’s very inspirational to me.  I find myself trying to figure out what I would do in the challenge and sizing myself up against the competition.
Another big plus for me is Tim Gunn.  He’s just the best.
All that being said I am sick of some of the crazy challenges that they have like the chip n dale one a few weeks back.  It seems like over the years the show has become more about reality tv drama and less about talent.  Those who make the most noise seem to stay around a longer.

Fashion Star is just in it’s second season and I really hope it sticks around.  This season is already much better than the last (which included a lot of 1980’s style colored smoke and dancers in the background). The focus is much more about ready to wear looks than high fashion.  It has to be sellable – really the whole point of the show.  The designers don’t actually have to make their clothing they just design it.  That is a minus to me although some may argue that it is actually more realistic.  They also have released some great patterns for home sewing through this show which I give them major props for.
The biggest let down of the show to me is the cheese factor.  Jessica Simpson is one of the judges – enough said right?

Negatives aside, I am a big fan of all fashion design focused television.  And so I wonder…

Are you guys watching these shows too?

What do you think about them?  

Do you prefer one to the other?

Are there other sewing shows out there that I don’t know about?  If so, do tell.

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  • Reply sallie oleta barbee March 29, 2013 at 8:54 AM

    I used to watch Project Runway in its early days and really enjoyed. I loved some of the crazy characters on the show (anyone remember Santino?) and I LOVED Tim Gunn! But I think since I no longer own a TV I’ve just really stopped tuning in to all reality TV (I know I could watch online, but I’d have to REALLY want to…) I feel so out of touch! But I also don’t really miss it.
    When I first started sewing a bunch of people I knew were like “Ooohh you should try out for Project Runway!” and the thought always made my skin crawl! I have about as much competitive spirit as an earthworm!! Haha! So I’m always awed at the thought of those young designers throwing themselves out there like that!

    • Reply Heather Lou March 29, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Santino is now a judge on RuPaul’s drag race and I love him.

  • Reply Heather Lou March 29, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    I love PR. I kinda even loved the stripper challenge, if only to see Nina lose her shit. I think they need to throw one crazy challenge at them every once and a while, just to keep them on their toes. What they sent down the runway was embarrassing – I’m pretty shocked by how an ability to make women’s clothing does not translate to menswear at all (velcro closures notwithstanding). If I knew I was going to be on that show, I would be boning up on my menswear skills stat.

    But unlike Sallie, I actually am crazy competitive.

    Never seen the other show – have you been watching Drag Race? It’s like a bitchier PR but with A LOT more make up and sequins.

    • Reply gingermakes March 29, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      The menswear thing is crazy to me– there’s ALWAYS some sort of menswear challenge! Figure out how to put together a collar stand or a placket or something before you get on the show! The Thunder Down Under challenge was embarrassing!

  • Reply gingermakes March 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Ooh, I’ve never seen Fashion Star. I heard it was cheesy, so I didn’t pay much attention to it, but I do like the McCall’s line they inspired! I’ll have to check out this most recent season.

    And I do think that Project Runway has really contributed to the renewed popularity of sewing and design. Although the DIY movement seems to be taking off like crazy– who knew that the cooooooolest people in Brooklyn would get into home canning and pickle-making?! Sometimes I wonder if the DIY movement is a direct response to most people having jobs where they sit in front of a computer all day. Many of my friends have expressed feeling like they don’t have a tangible skill set that they use at work, so it seems like sewing/knitting/woodworking/brewing beer would scratch that itch a bit.

  • Reply Lipstick Momma March 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I watch Project Runway, mostly because I just LOVE Tim Gunn and his classy style. I’m not a huge fan of Heidi Klum or any of the judge’s opinions; they are all over the place. I will admit that I haven’t seen Fashion Star because I don’t watch much television, and so if I don’t make an effort to sit down at a particular time & place, I don’t watch. I am curious about the show though, and maybe someday I’ll tune in. Its hard enough to remember to watch on Thursday nights! haha I do LOVE LOVE LOVE that the “DIY movement” is “cool” these days… I’ve been doing it practically forever, and it sure wasn’t cool at all 20 years ago! When something was “homemade”, it was NOT necessarily desirable. Now you label something with “homemade”, and people are all over it.

  • Reply Meg @ Mood Fabrics March 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I prefer Project Runway, but maybe I’m biased?

  • Reply lisa g. March 29, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    i’m definitely a fan of project runway! i can forgive them of the crazy challenges as long as there is enough real sewing/designing going on somewhere. although, the thunder down under challenge… c’mon. there is always some menswear featured on PR. maybe brush up on that just a touch before coming on the show? yowza that was bad! i watched the first few episodes of fashion star’s first season but it was so ridiculous i couldn’t take it seriously. however, if things have shaped up in the second season i might give it another chance!

  • Reply Kelly March 29, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I watch Project Runway (online the weekend after), and have been enjoying this team season more than expected. I lost some respect for everyone, judges included, with the menswear debacle, though. Ugh.

  • Reply Mie@Sewing Like Mad March 29, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    Ohhh, I have so much to say about this – which is kind of scary since we are talking TV-programs 😉 But I totally prefer Fashion Star. It is not perfect – and I agree that especially the female judges are totally wrong but I LOVE that it is so much more realistic than Project Runway. I used to watch PR but got so sick of watching designers (with no sewing educations) spending too much energy on the sewing part and still often come up with embarrassing results (can you tell by now that I have a sewing education, ha ha 😉
    In Fashion Star the designers can focus on what designers should: clothes that people want to wear/stores want to buy. LOVE IT! I now that means more restricted creativity but to me (and I know that is a VERY personal opinion) perfect fit and wearable clothes is MORE important than crazy new types of clothes that is more art than clothes. But again that is just MY opinion and we need both type of designers in the world for sure!!!

  • Reply Suzanne March 30, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    Project Runway is to New York as Fashion Star is to L.A.!

  • Reply Donna March 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Sadly I haven’t seen an episode of either show! But I feel like I’ve absorbed some of Project Runway’s influence from the blogosphere. 🙂

    P.S. I passed a Liebster blog award on to you. No obligation!

  • Reply Whitney Hardie March 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Love Project Runway! Even though I don’t sew garments, I just love to work on all kinds of projects while I watch that show. It gets my creative juices flowing.

  • Reply Clio April 1, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I haven’t been watching either lately, but I have made a few Fashion Star patterns (good results!). Honestly, I’d rather be sewing than watch others sewing/designing….

  • Reply TooManyHobbies April 1, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I love them both, but for different reasons. PR is interesting to see the design perspective. FS is more about making SELLABLE clothes.

  • Reply laurabehindthehedgerow April 3, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    I don’t know if you can access it in the US but try to have a look at The Great British Sewing Bee which started last night on the BBC. x

  • Reply Ally D April 17, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    I prefer Project Runway myself, as I feel like knowing how to sew is important in knowing how to design. Understanding how fabric choice + garment engineering, etc. all play together is, I think, soo important when designing clothes. Plus as much as Fashion Star is more realistic for designers making clothes in large companies, it is not realistic for independent designers, or those trying to launch their own collections. For me Project Runway is a little more organic, but totally agreed about all the cheesy boring “special contests”

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