Things are never quite what you think, and while that makes like terribly fascinating, it can often make things that you sign on for, well, not quite what you thought you were signing on for. Given the two folks that left voluntarily from "Project Runway" this season, it seems there is some confusion. On the one hand, one imagines that much like the you should sell that stuff compliment that the non-crafty folks are often saying to the crafty folks in their lives, everyone who has ever operated a sewing machine (or in some cases has not) is being pushed to go on "Project Runway". But, it seems in addition to the various screenings and such that the show puts you through, some people are still confused. So, here are my cannot operate a sewing machine but can and have watched every episode bits of advice.
1. You cannot sew. Seriously. Hasn't been one of these folks in a while, but learn to sew. Learn to sew by hand, on machines, probably on multiple machines. Ideally watch a recent episode and figure out what machine they had there and try one of those. Also, learn how to fix it when stuff happens. I'm not saying take sewing machine repair (although that's not a terrible idea) but know what to do when the thread gets tangled or the thingy snaps, or all the typical things that happen when people are rushing and racing for time.
2. You hate working with non-fabric. There has never been a season where they didn't have an unconventional materials challenge. Never. Food features a lot, but there's been pet stores, flowers stores, car parts, recyclables, etc. And seriously, never assume you can just be safe for that one challenge.
3. You don't like making [insert type of clothing here]. Now, maybe you don't make pants a lot, or dresses a lot, but invariably, whatever that one thing is (unless it's a hat, you can probably make it through a whole season without making a hat) you will be called upon to make it. So, get ready, or don't go.
4. You hate working under pressure. There is all sorts of things that I imagine one discovers they fudge for the cameras, but I'm pretty sure the stress and the time are not. So, if you once, kinda sorta finished something in a day, but it was really something you started three weeks ago, practice now.
5. You hate working with other people. There has never been a season where there was not some sort of team or pairs challenge. In fact some seasons had more of those than singular ones (or so it seemed). If you are not ready or willing to work with someone else, you will be unhappy and again, you cannot count on loving the person you work with or even that getting along with them will create the design synergy you desired and you cannot count (again) on being safe or the judges understanding that you are a genius and clearly the whole problem was your partner. Much like group projects in college, it's not done but it's the other person's fault rarely flies.
Also 5b. is you like a controlled environment to work in. If other people talking or hammering things or generally being while you work stresses you out, again I refer you to the show. You will be in a room with other designers. In the early days you will share a table. If that stresses you out, not the show for you.
6. You hate feedback. If your design process has you disappearing into a cocoon and emerging with a fully finished garment before anyone ever comments, this will be a shock. People will comment. Many viewers favorite parts are the Tim critiques, and again, you cannot count on them all being glowing. And if people coming up and commenting on your work in progress (to say nothing of the finished piece) stresses you out, then this is not the show for you.
7. You hate working with clients. Yeah, so there has also never been a season without clients. (And yeah, I know, I've covered this before.) Clients that are often not models. They have been relatives, former contestants, kids of all ages, drag queens, wrestling divas and many other things. It has never not happened. Clients, in addition to having thoughts, desires and feelings about your work in progress, also may not be model sized. They will likely be a different size than the form you've been given. (In fact, some designers have gotten models larger or smaller than their form, most of them have simply worked with that.) If the mere thought of that sends you into a tailspin, then, again, not the show for you. Certainly people have whined through this challenge and survived, but if your goal in coming on this show was exposure, trust me, whining about designing for people with imperfect bodies will not get you the type of exposure you were looking for.