It’s time for a challenge…a design challenge! If you follow me on social media, then you know that I paired up with Dawn from Duelling Designs last month for a design challenge. If you don’t follow me on social media, go follow me (FB, IG, Pinterest) then read on to learn about this collaboration and get links to all the fun content on Dawn’s site!

Dawn is a multi-talented woman with a background in the fashion industry and she has used that background as a foundation for her fun fashion design blog: Duelling Designs. On her blog, she issues herself monthly challenges to design and create different garments based on some kind of inspiration. Plus, you can get even more content through her videos on Periscope, Crowd Cast, or YouTube!

Voting options for the Design Challenge


Duelling Designs Monthly Design Challenges

So what are these monthly design challenges about? Dawn lays her challenges out as a four step process. The challenge inspiration, the design and voting stage, the construction stage, and the final reveal. What is awesome about these challenges it that ANYONE can vote for what she should make in a given month! So you, the readers, get to interact and influence the challenges.

Keep reading more a more in-depth look at the challenges and our collaboration.

Design Challenge - Denim

Stage One: Design Challenge Brief

Dawn starts off every design challenge by sharing what theme she has chosen for the month and why. Our collaboration was for her “second chance” challenge where she chose two designs from previous challenges for the chance to be created. The inspiration varies each month from a denim challenge to a no-waste fabric challenge (my favourite so far), and even a tacky Christmas sweater challenge!

Design Challenge Winning Design

Stage Two: Designs and Voting

After announcing the theme, Dawn gets to work on drawing up some design ideas. She shares two designs in a blog post and has her readers vote on which they would like to see her make. To vote, you just need to share which design you are voting for on social media. Be sure to sign up to her email list so you can vote for the next one.

Since we were collaborating last month, there were actually two votes! One for a garment design to be created by Dawn and one for an accessory design to be created by me. The chosen garment was a black and grey jacket with a swirled look (above). And the accessory chosen to go with it was a pair of tail light earrings reminiscent of my previous tail light jewellery (below) which I was so happy to return to!

DIY Jewelry from Tail Lights from a Car - Now that is different

Stage Three: Testing

After the voters have spoken and the winning design is picked, Dawn gets to work. From designing the pattern to testing the fit on a mini mannequin to testing again on a large one, until she has a finished piece! One great thing about her process is that she shares her progress weekly on Periscope in addition to her more educational scopes about things like pattern making and proper fitting techniques. She makes great videos and gets lots of engagement, so tune in to join the fun!

This is about the stage that my own contribution to the design challenge started to fall apart. I started on the tail light earrings, but with my previous experiences using taillights I did not really time myself. I started to realize there was no way I could finish the earrings for the challenge. Stress started. Then panic since this was a collaboration. And finally…defeat. To save my mental health I reached out to Dawn and told her I had to back out. So my confession: I am not finishing the tail light earrings and I did not complete the design challenge.


The sanding problem

Stage Four: Finished Garment!

And that moves us into the final stage of the Duelling Designs – design challenge: the reveal! Dawn reveals the final design around the end of each month with a nice photo shoot and wrap-up post. You get to see the design come to life, which is amazing since it was created in such a short amount of time (good on you Dawn). Plus, Dawn will sometimes share lessons learned from the process – great for other creative types or people interested in creating similar pieces. I mean we are all able to learn when someone shares their experience.

I would say that Dawn made up for my failure to finish many-fold with her final garment reveal last month! Her husband (who makes a great cameraman) found this awesome spot for photos that highlighted the black and grey jacket perfectly! Click here to see the final reveal and the amazing photos.

Hint: it is about to get bright.

Finished Swirled Jacket Design by Dawn of Duelling Designs

The Creative Process

In the end, I still had to give Dawn SOMETHING as part of this collaboration. So I figured I should share the steps that I would normally take to create something from scratch. Processes like she uses through these design challenges and like I do for my recipes and crafts. So, I wrote a blog post on The Creative Process.

In the post, I explain the steps (below) as I understand them and link them to my unfinished work on the tail light earrings. I figure someone may be able to learn from this and not repeat my mistake. Finally, I plan to take my own advice a bit more seriously moving forward.


Design Challenge with Dawn from Duelling Designs
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