IN MY CONTEST CRAZE days (link), I even entered sewing competitions in my younger days, and surprisingly won some prizes too!
My first attempt was back in 1989 when I was a varsity student. I entered the 1989 National Sewing Competition organised by Urusetia Hal Ehwal Wanita (HAWA), JPM, Bahagian Kemajuan Masyarakat (KEMAS) and Berita Harian Sdn Bhd.
Mind you, one had to go through the preliminary round (by sending in entries to the organiser in May) and semi-finals (held at Jaya Supermarket, Petaling Jaya, on 18th June 1989 for the Central Zone) to reach the finals.
The final round was held at The Weld, Kuala Lumpur on 9th July 1989. I received a Telekom Malaysia telex (yes, a TELEX) on 7th July that requested me to turn up for the registration the next day at the Grand Continental Hotel, where all the finalists put up for the night as well.
The competition was divided into two categories: schoolchildren and the public; and for each category there were embroidery or appliqué; in total there were 60 finalists.
I entered the public category and did appliqué. For the finals, we were required to sew a ”chair back” within three hours. Much to my surprise, I got third place and won myself a Singer sewing machine. My parents were there to see me receive the prize from (then) Prime Minister’s wife, Datuk Seri Paduka Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd. Ali.
My beloved Singer served me well for over 20 years and travelled with me to Moscow and Hong Kong, before finally calling it a day last year, sob sob (link)
My subsequent attempt at the National Sewing Competition was in 1992, shortly after I joined The Star. Once again, I managed to thread my way into the finals, doing appliqué in the public category.
The final round was held at Nagaria, Kuala Lumpur on 29th September 1992. I have no records (nor recollection) of which hotel we were put in but I recall sharing a room with one of the finalists, Chantha who went on to emerge the winner in our category, in which I didn’t make it to the top three but won consolation prize. Chantha sent me a Christmas card that year but we lost touch after that. I just googled her and learnt that she’s now a dressmaking shop owner Down Under!