Dear ASDP Board

Judging the Threads Challenge

12/04/2015 7:39 PM | Anonymous

My first step in the judging process was to review the submitted materials sent to me by the challenge coordinator. The materials included the submission number and title, photographs of the garments and required written material. I went through each submission with the challenge parameters in mind; is there a relationship between the artwork and the finished garment? Is it a sheath dress? Does it look well designed and made? On the second pass through the submissions I gave the garments a yes, maybe, or no and made written notes reflecting my impressions. Some garments were difficult to see because of the quality of photographs. In some the lighting was poor or uneven and in others the background was busy and distracting. In this phase I tried to judge each dress individually, not in comparison with the others. I tried to understand what the creator was attempting with the particular garment.

The second step is the conference call with the other judges to discuss the submissions. Together we reviewed the submitted materials and made a case for our favorites. Threads likes to have about twenty finalists for the in-person judging. During the discussion questions and observations were made that called attention to things I hadn’t noticed or considered in my review. It was a judging panel of three and consensus had to be reached: the hardest stage because we knew there would be wonderful dresses that we somehow overlooked. We did the best we could. As the ASDP member judge (having won last year’s challenge) I knew and appreciated the effort put forth by each person who stepped up and took the challenge.

At conference on Friday we got together for the in-person judging. The able and organized Challenge Coordinator, Terri Tipps, had put together a booklet with all the submissions bound together for us to refer to during the judging. The garments were presented in order, by number as they were in the booklet. We looked at the dresses on the dress form and then up close, inside and out. The Threads editor Judy Neukam was looking at the garments as magazine content. She was looking at them not just in the context of the Challenge but as inspiration for an article or as a potential magazine cover. Susan Khalje examined every seam, seam finish, the stitching, the bottom of the invisible zipper with her meticulous eye for detail. We looked at everything and looked again and again. There were so many considerations. One fabulous dress just wasn’t a sheath (undone by the godets in the skirt). In some the idea and inspiration were great but the execution was lacking. In some the relationship between the inspiration and the garment just wasn’t there. Overall the submissions were very impressive, and I am in awe of the work.

I hope this review will demystify the Challenge and encourage members to participate in future challenges. If you have further questions about the judging or the process, I welcome inquiries and feedback.

Written by Patty Robison

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