WINNERS CROWNED AT MAKE IT WITH WOOL NATIONAL FINALS

It was a night to remember as the Make It With Wool National Finals celebrated 70 Years of Making Wool the Star on Feb. 3 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter.

State winners in the junior (ages 13 to 16) and senior (ages 17 to 24) divisions gathered in the 300-year-old city to compete for prizes and honors at the 70th annual national finals. Contestants’ outfits showcased the wide variety of wool fabrics available to the home sewer and dazzled a full house in the hotel’s grand ballroom.

Top honors went to new Junior Ambassador Holley Schwartz of Wisconsin with a stunning silver grey knit dress trimmed with beading and companion knit blue coat. Using Plymouth’s Homestead 100 percent wool yarn, Holly knit a single breasted trench coat with matching belt. Her dress was knit from the top down with Knit Picks Capretta fingering weight yarn and 1500 silver lined clear glass beads in the lace yoke and hem. Holley completed her outfit with a crocheted hat felted from the same coat yarn and beaded lace knit gloves from the dress yarn.

The Junior Exemplary Construction Award was presented to Charlotte Waldron of Ohio who created a dress from a blush pink and tan wool brocade fabric. She was the runner-up to Schwartz in the junior division.

Indiana’s Claire Lee earned the Senior Ambassador title while modeling her peacock blue wool melton knee-length trench coat over a Liberty of London wool floral print dress that perfectly set off her personal coloring. With inspiration from her J Crew coat, Claire used a Burda Style pattern to construct her detailed wool coat. The Liberty wool was purchased during her study abroad trip to London. Claire added decorative waist tabs on the Burda Style dress pattern.

The senior runner-up is Kelsey Clear of Michigan with her dark green hand knit split cable sweater and lined green plaid sleeveless dress. Touches of machine embroidery accent bound buttonholes and contrasting navy collar of her shirtwaist dress created from a McCall’s pattern.

Rachel Siegel of Pennsylvania was crowned the national adult winner. She began competing in the Make It With Wool program in the youth divisions and has continued her involvement through the years. Her winning ensemble was a comfortable, yet professional two-piece outfit made from wool jersey knits. Her dress featured a crisscross waist and creative use of the fabric stripes that awed the judges. Rachel topped her outfit with a cardigan sewn from a wool sweater knit fabric.

This year’s Fashion/Apparel Design Winner is Jason Gagnon, who is attending Central Michigan University and working on his master’s in apparel product development and merchandising technology. Gagnon combined a navy wool crepe fabric with custom printed cashmere/silk fabric for a stunning Balenciaga inspired coat dress. With permission from the creator of a photograph, Jason manipulated that image to print the design on the fabric. The digital files were sent to London and three days later the fabric arrived ready to be incorporated in the dress design. The coat dress features a full front jacket style zipper, sleeves with gathered bells and a wide portrait collar. Interior pockets allow the wearer to carry the necessary phone and car keys.

Saturday morning workshops included sessions by Andrea Nisley (Nebraska MIWW State Director) on What Color is Your Personality, Brenda Seidensticker (Texas MIWW State Director) about the mohair fiber, and a make-it/take-it session where participants stitched a workable simple electrical circuit with conductivity thread to light up a wool bracelet.

Make It With Wool is honored to receive financial and product donations from a variety of sheep and sewing industry organizations, as well as many generous individuals. This year, contestants took home Madeira burmilana embroidery thread; copies of Vogue Patterns magazine; buttons, trims and patterns from CSS; Pendleton and Woolrich woolen fabrics; gifts from the American Sheep Industry Association; sewing resource books; and tape measures from The Fabric Place Basement.

The 71st Make It With Wool National Finals is set for Jan. 24-26, 2019 in New Orleans.