Top Stitchers: "Rebels With A Cause"

Welcome back to another Top Stitcher Tuesday! We're keeping the boy-sews for a third and final week, with some TWEEN styles, courtesy of two Top Stitcher Alums - Melissa and Amy! I crafted this week's prompt especially for this age group, and it's so much fun to see how each sewist (and their handsome young men!) interpreted the prompt! Let's hop right to it, shall we?? And make sure you read all the way through the post, you don't want to miss the SURPRISE GIVEAWAY!

Adolescents are masters of rebellion - but the concept existed well before their rebellious idols were swinging from wrecking balls and defying social norms in deli dresses. This sewing-for-tweens duel will double as a history lesson for the afflicted youth.
Sewists will design a modern outfit around a famed rebel or rebellion of the past. Rebellions may be political, social, philosophical... the possibilities are endless! Incorporate colors, textures, or overall styles of the influential period or person you choose.

Melissa's Entry:

Hi, I am Melissa from Rebel & Malice I cannot believe I am back to compete in season 2 of Top Stitchers. Even more unbelieveable? The prompt. "Masters of Rebellion" Now, in case you didn't notice... I kind of love rebellion. Rebelling isn't about being disrespectful or about defying authority. Rebellion is about standing up for what you believe in! It is about finding your voice! It is about taking no one's crap! Rebellion is simply realizing that we don't all fit in the same peg, and that is ok. 

So with this prompt, I thought long and hard about rebellion in history, against politics, against rules, against society. There are so many monumental people who have stood up for something others were against. but ultimately, music wins! Music always wins for me, and what is more about rebellion than PUNK ROCK! Not just one artist, but the punk rock music and scene as a whole! I chose punk rock because they are the outsiders, the rebels, the menaces to society. Punk rock is about freedom of expression and making sure our voices are heard when things are not fair. To me, punk rock is the biggest F you to everything that isn't right with the world. 

I didn't want a stereotypical punk rock look, because that is not the true essence of punk. If you feel like you have to look, dress or act a certain way, you have completely missed the point. I decided that I wanted to use things that are slightly off kilter. First thing: The Marc shirt from Filles a Maman. The collar and shoulder details were everything to me. because they were not the "norm." I used a gray chambray for the collar, flannel shirting for the shirt, and vegan leather for the shoulder patches. I opted for a metal zipper instead of buttons. My son loves origami, and to me the japanese fashions are very similar to punk fashion: wear what you like because you want to. so with that element, I used the gray chambray with his favorite fabric I have from Cotton + Steel and made this origami pocket. 

I used the Dressage leggings from Jennuine design to make some cool capri joggers. There is also a lot of unisex and blurring of sexual identity lines blurred in the punk community so using a girls patterns seemed like a great fit to get unique lines in some joggers. I created these patches by ironing Southern California punk band logos and some punk quotes on muslin. Then the most punk rock thing I did was safety pin the patches on the outside of the legs. It was my ode to the punk rock vest, which is the ultimate DIY expression of passion for music, beliefs and identity. 

The last item I made was a reversible bucket hat from the free Oliver + S bucket hat pattern. I used a black and white checkered fabric, and this sugar skull fabric for the other side. It had some floral in there, and a bucket hat is more of a trendy fashion, as are joggers, but since punk is not caring whether you are in or out, it works. 

This was so much fun to work on. It really forced me to think outside of the stereotype box, and show my son how to hypothetically put 4 fingers down and your middle finger up. I hope you are moved to find your own inner master of rebellion, because the beauty of rebelling is that you are finding your you. No one elses. You can find out more about my crazy mind and see more photos HERE

I leave you with these words from the great Patti Smith, "To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It's freedom.” 

Amy's Entry:

I am thrilled to be back at Top Stitchers, especially since we've been focusing on boy-sewing the past few weeks! Or, I should say, I was... Until we got our prompts and I realized I was up against Melissa, who kinda oozes talent (and moody rebellion - I mean Rebel and Malice? Come on!) from her pores! I was a little lost in the woods until Gemia internet-smacked me and reminded me that there was a giant rebellion I was overlooking - The Alliance to Restore the Republic. Then she took away my nerd card... But I'm hoping to win it back with this outfit inspired my favorite rebel of them all, and fortunately my 11-year-old nephew, Blaine, was totally on-board! He's being raised right.

  Han Solo  - just in case it's not obvious enough ;)

 Han Solo - just in case it's not obvious enough ;)

Of course, then our second challenge: "Incorporate colors, textures, or overall styles of the influential period or person you choose" also threw me for a loop. How do you incorporate things from a fictional rebellion that's actually in a fictional universe? I talked to the Illustrious Chairman about it and she linked me to this article (which I found absolutely fascinating! Nerd point...). The section about Han Solo's costumes being based on the pirates of the 1600's just made everything fall into place.

Throughout the whole outfit, I used a combination of "older" textures, like linen and leather and "modern" textures, like denim and hardware. I used linen for his Smuggler Vest (yes, this post is literally the reason I drafted and published that pattern! Nerd point #2...) and lined it with a fun Star Wars print. I also used a metallic copper thread to topstitch everything and really highlight all the pockets. I had to add the completely useless pockets on the back - really, what would you put in there anyway? I tried to stay fairly close to Han's original vest - I even added the little circular pocket where he keeps his gloves (point!). Those gloves (highly modified McCalls 6450) - they are spandex on the palm and leather on the back and I added the little cutout and strap to the leather side. They were the fiddliest, most obnoxious, most last-minute-decision thing I made - so naturally they ended up being his favorite part! They may not be pretty on the inside, but I think I'll still call it a win ;) 

The shirt is the Rival Raglan - it's truly my go-to shirt pattern. I forgot until just now that I used it in my last Top Stitcher post, too! I added a placket and collar to the front and a little tool pocket to one sleeve. Every smuggler who flies a bucket of bolts needs a handy place to keep his tools, right? The "holster" is really just a pocket that hangs from his belt - both are made from leather and the Star Wars fabric and have jeans rivets holding everything together. I bought a couple belts from Goodwill and cut out the buckles to re-use. Seriously, if you had seen those purple cheetah printed monstrosities, you'd know that I did the world of fashion a favor! They serve a much better purpose now. The jeans are the Small Fry Skinnies - I added the yellow Corellian Blood Stripe to the side seams. It's slightly modified since I just used gold piping instead of the exact yellow-and-black combo that Han wears on Endor (does that earn me a point, or lose me one...?). Speaking of Endor, I couldn't resist one final "prop":

Cousins make the best  Ewoks !

Cousins make the best Ewoks!

Timmy's hood is a Greenstyle Balaclava, modified using this tutorial from Swoodson Says. It was a super fast, snip-the-last-stitch-while-we're-walking-out-the-door idea, but it made both cousins pretty happy! So, what do you think? Should I quietly set fire to my Star Wars movies and books or do I get to stay in the cool kids club (I'm not kidding - we have a FB group!) with the other nerds? If nothing else, my nephew loves it and has already decided he's going as Han for Halloween. And hey! I've got the start of an Ewok costume, too! Sweet ;) I'd love for you to swing by Friends Stitched Together and check out the rest of our pictures!

Before you give your ratings, here's a quick refresher of the rules!

  • You will rate rate each challenger, and every category. Max of 5 stars, 5 is highest.
  • Challengers will receive an average score for each category, and an average score overall. (You can see an example here) New to Season 2 - 50% of the vote will come from 3 Top Stitcher Alumnae who volunteered to judge this season's creations!
  • Your feedback helps each challenger recognize areas that they can improve their craft, and celebrate those areas that they already excel. 
  • As such, please submit your feedback for each contestant only once. Admittedly, I cannot enforce this, but the objective is for each contestant to receive a thoughtful rating, not skewed scores. 
  • It is SUPER DUPER NERVE-WRACKING to put work on display for others to judge, so let's remember to leave some love and encouragement for our challengers in the comments!

BONUS!! This week, there's an extra field in the ratings form for a GIVEAWAY! We realized this week that HALF of all Season 2 entries have included the Jennuine Designs Dressage Leggings - completely by chance! There must be something extra awesome about the pattern, and if you're like me, you might be curious to give it a whirl yourself. Now's your chance - Top Stitcher Jenn  generously gifted a copy of the pattern to ONE RANDOM WINNER from this week's voters!

One pattern, 3 unique re-imaginings! 

One pattern, 3 unique re-imaginings! 


Rate Melissa's Technique: *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate Melissa's Creativity: *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate Melissa's Presentation: *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate Melissa's Difficulty: *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Rate Amy's Technique: *
Do garment(s) reflect a strong knowledge of the fabrics used, and the methods and tools use to sew them?
Rate Amy's Creativity: *
Do garment(s) relate to the given prompt, and showcase the unique talents of the sewist?
Rate Amy's Presentation: *
Quality photography is key, as is an overall vision for presenting finished work.
Rate Amy's Difficulty: *
Sew many pieces, or very intricate ones? These points reward that challenge.
Leave Some Love! *
Let this week's challengers know what you liked best from each look!
Leave a valid email in the field below!