Frequently-Asked Questions

Q1: Is the Golden Seamstress judging like the Middle Kingdom arts and sciences competition judging?
Q2: What kind of questions will the judges ask our team when they speak with us?
Q3: What happens if we don't finish our outfit?
Q4: Will we be graded down if we don't have paper documentation or books on hand?
Q5: Can I enter armour as an outfit for the Golden Seamstress competition?
Q6: Will we get marked down for asking for help?
Q7: Wait! Do I have to be judged? What if I just want an excuse to really work on an outfit with my friends?

Q1: Is the Golden Seamstress judging like the Middle Kingdom arts and sciences competition judging?

A: No. Although based in part on a point system like the MK A&S competitions, the Golden Seamstress judging is much more organic. All judges talk to each other and debate, conversing about various information they've gleaned from the teams concerning the entries. Because of the depth we go to in ensuring we have as much information as possible from team members, not all judges get to talk at length with all teams. As a result, much more conversation goes on behind closed doors about a team's entry than what would normally happen at a regional or kingdom event using our Kingdom's A&S criteria.

One major difference between a kingdom arts and sciences competition and the Golden Seamstress competition is the personal nature of the discussion. One of the things judges frequently consider is the team's experience with the subject matter and each individual's experience with the subject matter. Because of the time constraints imposed by the format, many teams are composed of members already skilled in various techniques that are being combined in new and exciting ways. We look to see if the team has attempted something like this before. We want to know if any member of the team is trying out a new technique. We look to see if this is the ultimate expression of the team's skill to date and how much can be accomplished in such a short time period at the event.

Quite often we are in complete awe of what people try. That's why we have an entirely separate WOW category for things we're particularly impressed by. If a team has done an outfit similar in the past, but suddenly reached a zenith of understanding, we consider that. If a team has NEVER done an outfit similar and did a credible job, that too is considered. All of this is discussed among the judges.

 

Q2: What kind of questions will the judges ask our team when they speak with us?

A: The questions vary considerably as the situation warrants, but there are some general themes about which you can expect every judge to request information. In general, all the judges wish to know who your team members are and which team member plays which role(s). They also will want to know what role your model plays on the team. Are they one of the team members? Or are they merely a consultant for the final product? Judges always wish to know who did which research on the outfit being produced. Was it a team leader who did everything and then planned activities accordingly? Or did each team member research some aspect of the outfit and pool their knowledge with everyone else's? No particular method is inherently better than any other. Who put pieces together? Who put the outfit together? Has anyone done this before?

In addition to information about job responsibilities, judges want to know about the outfit itself. You can expect to have a variety of questions concerning the time period of the outfit and the source of your inspiration for it. All judges will be especially interested in the research you did to support your final work and construction and many will ask you about the choices you made? Why was a sleeve cut a particular way? Why did you choose X author over Y? Why did you use a particular fabric, thread, fitting, or fastener?

Also see Judging Explained

 

Q3: What happens if we don't finish our outfit?

A: Points are NOT removed if an outfit is not complete. We've designed the discussion format of the judging and the point distribution to account for the fact that we simply don't expect ANY team to finish their entire planned outfit. When an outfit is completed, we rejoice with the team. But the lack of a complete outfit will never disqualify you and doesn't necessarily preclude you from winning an award in the category in which you were entered.

 

Q4: Will we be graded down if we don't have paper documentation or books on hand?

A: Only in the Master Class category. Written material is not required in the Novice or Advanced Categories. Because of the way we discuss projects with team members, we rely more on what you can tell us than what you can show us. However, if what you can show us does a better job of explaining what your team is ultimately after, then by all means bring that documentation along! We're ultimately looking for what you do with the sources you have available and how you make the choices you make. Past winning teams have brought as little documentation as a color photocopy of a manuscript on which an outfit was based. Some winning teams brought dissertation-level discussions about their choices. And for each of these teams, those choices were personal, comprehensive, and appropriate. What works best for you? What are you most comfortable with? Bring those things and be prepared to show them to us or simply discuss them with us.

 

Q5: Can I enter armour as an outfit for the Golden Seamstress competition?

A: Yes, though with certain caveats. Armour in certain classes of our researched time periods were perfectly acceptable "outfits" and can be very credibly documented and reconstructed. A complete outfit of "armour" may include more than metal bits strung together or leather pieces artfully arranged. The entire kit is up for critique and consideration. Did you include undergarments? Shoes? Head covering? Why or why not? Depending on site restrictions, the construction of anything that requires forging or melting metal may be prohibited. If your armour includes these things, you will need to have them constructed prior to the event and bring them along with the knowledge of how and why they were made the way they were. Your armour maker or your smith MUST be considered part of your team and they must be on site for the event!

 

Q6: Will we get marked down for asking for help?

A: Absolutely not. We expect this event to serve as much as a learning experience as a competition and we will never penalize any team for asking for advice or help with their outfit.

7. Wait! Do I have to be judged? What if I just want an excuse to really work on an outfit with my friends?

No. There is no requirement that your outfit be judged. We do ask that you join the fashion show so that everybody can see what you were working on. We will also be happy to help you along throughout the evening if you have any questions regarding your outfit.

last updated 3/23/2017
by Baroness Gwynnyd

Sixteenth Annual Quest for the Golden Seamstress