The Stitch Festival Dressmaking Competition 2022

This year’s Competition invited contemporary dressmakers of all abilities to share their creations. The judging panel composed of four dressmaking and textile experts including designer and dressmaking legend, Esme Young; Sew Over It’s Lisa Comfort, Nerrisa Pratt and Mark Francis.

There are five categories to choose from, including a new Childrenswear category. We encouraged entrants to be as innovative as possible and our judges looked for personal flair as well as beautifully executed techniques, stitching and finish. 

We received so many fantastic garments, some created from commercial patterns others from original designs.

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Best in Competition

The Best in Competition winner has been selected as the most outstanding piece from all the winners and won an Adjustoform Dress Form.

This year’s Best in Competition winner was Bahar Esmarlpoor.


“I created fitted bodies, which used Origami techniques, the Origami made from two fabric colours. jewel neckline. The back of the bodies is plain and the invisible zip for closure. The sleeves are fitted with Origami techniques. The shape of lower part of the dress is spacious, symmetrical hem, including five panels combined with two shades of blue colour. The word ‘PERFECT’ created by cutting organza in a bias, made a yarn from that by crochet and stitched by hand on the dress. Used horsehair to give a shape, fullness, and stabiles the shape between the outer layer and lining.  It has lining all around the dress.”


The judges loved the wow factor of this amazing dress. The origami panel made from two fabric colours on both the bodice and the sleeves is a tricky combination which is very well executed. The crocheted ‘perfect’ wording adds a new dimension. It’s just an amazing piece of work and the judges all agreed it was a very well deserved Best in Competition winner.

Best in Competition Winner, Bahar Esmarlpoor.

The judging process took a long time and the panell found it hard to come to a decision given the high standard of entries. Commendation must go to everybody that entered; all those shortlisted should feel very proud of their work because the judges thought they were all superb. Read more about the winners below and click on the images to take a closer look at the garments.

Eveningwear (teens)

The winner of the teens Eveningwear category and a filled Groves Sewing box was John Oswald Crichton. 

The judges were unanimous in their decision on this short dress. They love the uniqueness of it the design and the execution. This young maker has a great future in fashion.


Hayley Blaber was the the winner of the Eveningwear category with a prize of a £250 Bombay Stores Fabrics voucher plus a £50 Sew Over It voucher.

This glittery gold dress won the attention of the judges because not only is it a difficult fabric to sew, but the maker has used some interesting techniques including lacing at the back and tucked wrap.


Anneke Kuipers was the the winner of the Loungewear category with a prize of a £250 Bombay Stores Fabrics voucher plus a £50 Sew Over It voucher.

With such a diverse range of entries this decision was hard. But the judges all felt that this simple sweatshirt was taken to a new level by the addition of the multi collar as well as the panels in the sleeves and mock piping. All beautifully executed.


Joy Merron was the the winner of the Upcycled/Repurposed category with a prize of a £250 voucher to spend with Bombay Stores plus a £50 Sew Over It voucher.

This piece took the judge’s breath away. It may look a simple design, but it’s been made out of recycled teabags which have been dyed and embroidered and then connected together seamlessly. The result is a stunning piece of wearable art.


Jayne Diggles was the the winner of the Knitwear/Crochetwear category with a prize of a £250 Stylecraft voucher plus a signed copy of Nordic Knits by Monica Russell.

This crocheted dress is gorgeous. The fact that Jayne has created intricate rows of crochet, all very neat and symmetrical shows incredible skill. The result is beautiful.


Roxanne Mulcahy was the the winner of the Childrenswear category with a prize of a £250 voucher to spend with Bombay Stores plus a £50 Sew Over It voucher.

So many amazing and diverse entries made this a very difficult category to judge. However the winner was chosen for not only making a beautiful dress, but because of the perfectly executed stitching and the various dyeing techniques employed. Even the buttons have been covered in a dyed fabric. The result is a really lovely piece.