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SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #11: “THE WAY YOU WEAR YOUR HAT” CHALLENGE WINNERS

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Challenge #11 was fantatic!  Our judges were wowed by all of the entries.  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Erin Schneider, Laura Zentz Proctor and Artemisia Moltabocca!

And here are the winners:

Third Place (TIE!):  ”Volka from How to Train Your Dragon” by Rachel Rand

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Rachel says:  “This is the headdress I made for my Valka costume from How To Train Your Dragon 2. It is entirely handmade. The face portion is leather and the horns are sculpted from tinfoil over a wire armature and covered in paper mâché. The mouth is wired burlap and the eyes are 2 layers of mesh. The leather is hand-dyed and hand painted. It’s held on the armature with a combination of suede lace, wire, and some hidden zip ties. It sits over a set of football shoulder pads so the weight stays off the head/neck.”

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Judges’ comments:

“A lot of thought went into the construction of this piece, from the infrastructure to weight considerations.  The character accuracy was impressive.”

“Great paint job!  Execution perfect to character reference.”

“I love the way you built the framework for fit and balance.  ”

Congratulations, Rachel!

Third Place (TIE!):  ”Fallout” by Prudence Allworthey

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Prudence says:  “This hat is based on the video game Fallout. This was an custom piece created to go with a client’s outfit that will be a Steampunk Style homage to the Fallout game. She’s wearing it at an upcoming anime con.

There were several things to take into consideration for this hat.
#1- Hat style = The client has short hair and did not want a style that fit fully over the crown. She had wanted a top hat to go along with a Steampunk style version of the outfit she’ll be wearing, we settled on a 3/4 version of our top hat.

#2- Theme = The hat was to be an overall homage to the game which is now into it’s 4th installment. She specifically wanted a Victorian Steampunk version. She also wanted to include one of the game’s reacuring characters, Vault Boy, and as many iconic pieces as would be possible. This game is set in different areas of a post-apocalyptic Untited States and has a very deconstructed feel. Things like make-shift high tech weapons and cryogenics are also present.

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#3- Lots of stuff/small space = It was a challenge to put so much into such a  little space, this included running and hiding power for 9ft of El Wire.
#4- Litterally – How you wear the hat = This was also a trick, as it became quite clear that this small piece was going to have a considerable amount of weight, particularly in the front. It was necessary to build two wire pieces, one front and one back, to help hold this piece in place and give her something to anchor to.
In the end I was quite pleased with the look, feel and stability of this small wonder.
In all her iconic pieces included: Vault Boy figure as seen breaking through the front, Nuka Cola caps which are found in several places around the hat and a Stimpack- a medical device used in the game. Both the Stimpack and Vault boy are removable. She can then use the Stimpack as a hand prop , Vault boy is removable to access the battery pack and on /off switch for the electronics.
The hat uses several scenes from the game in the form of “posters” on the hat which were printed onto fabric and applied. The hat needed overall aging and grime to induce the feeling of being in a dirty post apocalyptic world. It needed to look well lived in.”

Judges’ comments:

“I was super impressed by all the references in one hat!”

“I loved the removable pieces!”

“I love this hat!  The details are fabulous.  The thought on weight and wearability was fantastic.”

Congratulations, Prudence!

Second Place:  ”Lolth” by Bethany Padron!

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Bethany says:  “This headdress is based on book cover art by Justin Sweets. It’s probably the most craft technique and materials I’ve ever had to use on one item.

I started with scale drafting the frontice-piece then cut it out of wonderflex and used balsa wood to make the raised fans. All of it was covered in worbla for a finished effect and I used the extra worbla to make the back piece.

The feathers are bleached peacock swords and white ostrich spads I mounted them to two arches of wired fosshape with E6000 and some sewing.

Close up and back

The base was pulled from a black capeline with a wired edge and then I used gutter guard wire to make a triangular support across the crown.

The feather fronds were sewn and glued to the base and the wire. Then the front and back pieces were attached to the cap. I formed a piece of worbla over the cap to fit my forehead and then spent a day sniffing a whole lot of glue as I disassembled Christmas garland and gluing each piece onto the fore-piece. I attached some split weather stripping to the front edge.

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After that it was paint everything gold! I used three different colors of gold and one copper spray paint. I distressed it all a bit with watered down black acrylic and added some red to match the rendering a bit more.

I stitched some of the feathers together and stitched the wig to the back of the cap and after a whole lot of hairspray it was done.”

Judges’ comments:

“Whoa!  That is amazing!  Very cool sculpting and detail work.”

“I’ve seen this in person and is absolutely beautiful and masterful construction!”

“Impressive construction techniques!  Final product is gorgeous.”

Congratulations, Bethany!

First Place:  ”Angel”  by Leah “Lamia” Lloyd!

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Leah says:  “This started as a companion piece to Paige Gardner’s “Abbey”, but quickly ran in a direction farther away than I could have ever imagined. While initially it was to be a stained glass angel, it ended up as a sculptural piece; Over many years, grateful devotees and hopeful petitioners have added offerings to the statue, and items have become embedded in the melting votive candles.

The tiara is layered buckram and wire, covered in polar fleece. Twill ribbons at the corners to tie on behind the head, a comb under the front, and 2 ribbon loops at the back for additionally stabilizing bobby pins. Using a dollar-store tiara, I traced out the pattern on craft foam, spray painted it silver, and created the halo. Floral wire and hot glue created the support.

leah1Toilet paper rolls were trimmed down and spray painted white. Inside were set soda bottle lids, or cardboard bases, if the roll was taller than a tealight. Then came ….. the hot glue.

An assortment grab bag of bridal supplies, containing pearls, flowers, rhinestones, swags, beads, trim, buds, appliques, sequins, ribbons, leaves, clay flowers and who knows what else were all added. Hot glue was used to create “wax dribbles” from the candles, some covering decorative elements to imply age. The opacity of the glue was ideal, and really helped make it look more like candles. Battery-operated flicker tea lights were then placed in the “candles”.

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The mask was built from scratch. Canvas, covered in white muslin, edged with double-fold seam binding. The eyes are a jingle cat toy, split in half and painted silver, with hematite rhinestones added to the spokes. The grill is a reusable coffee filter, painted silver, and with 2 triangles of the mesh cut out in the end to allow for the insertion of a straw. The breathing vents on the side are a pair of lawn twistie holders, lined with 2 layers of organza, sprayed silver and also with hematite rhinestones added.

Then the wiggly eyeballs went on. About 800 googly eyes, each glued individually. The angel is always watching you!
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While not part of the headpiece, the shoulder is the completion of the set. It started life as a brown plastic flower pot. Trimmed and filed down, inside were set foam blocks to raise it up, and D-rings riveted in for placement of the straps. The dollar store tiara was brought back over, and traced onto more craft foam, forming the filigree surface texture, trim and edging. Then more toilet paper rolls, all of which had to be angled particularly for placement on the sharp curves of the shoulder. Dollhouse babies were given FIMO wings, painted silver, and added to the shoulder. More trim, bits and bobs, beads, pearls, rhinestones, flowers, and sequins were added to the shoulder, and then the hot waxing began. The entirety of a bag of wax sticks was used for this project, making dribbles and pools on the tiara and shoulder. The insides of the candles were built up, so that tea lights could fit in them naturally. Loops were added to the shoulder so that multiple strands of pearls could drape, more offerings from grateful worshipers to the angel.

Finally, assorted spikes of varying sizes and shapes were added to the shoulder, around the edges and over the surface, all on removable and replaceable Chicago screws so that it could be safely transported through airport security.
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Interestingly, the mask was a challenge to wear not because of breathing issues (multiple air access holes) or limited vision (just the small bells for sight) but because the eyes were set on the sides, and I felt rather like prey, not being able to look directly forward. I found myself turning my head back and forth to see what was going on.”

Judges’ comments:

“Great googly moogly!  Amazing original design.  Bonus points for using simple items and turning them into beauty.  Creepy elegance!”

“I am terrifed and impressed!  It is very conflicting!  This is such an imaginative project and a tremendous amount of work.”

“I had a visceral reaction to this costume.  And your brain both scares and fascinates me!”

Congratulations, Leah!

The judges decided to award a Judge’s Choice award as well.

Judge’s Choice for Best Recreation:  ”Yuuka” by Maral Agnerian

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Maral says:  “The whole thing was a lot of experimentation and problem solving; I needed the branches to remain flexible and not break even if I hit them on things, which I knew was pretty much inevitable.

I made the coral pieces by wrapping Worbla thermoplastic around artificial flower stems that I had leftover from previous projects. They were then coated with Flexbond, painted (I added shadows and dark imperfections to mimic the look of natural coral) and finished with a gloss coat. The front headdress is mounted on an understructure made of Wonderflex, with elastic securing at the back of the neck.
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The hair is chainette fringe; I bought several fringe curtains on eBay and glued them onto a mesh cap in rows like wefts. I wanted ultra-long hair that wouldn’t tangle, and got the idea from watching this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMW8E-5Ugso
The main wig is separate, but the headdress has some fringe attached to hide the understructure.
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The hair loops are built on a Worbla base, with felt glued on top. I then laid down the ‘hair’ following the directions of the loops and glued them in place with a watered-down mixture of Flexbond, then painted with acrylic to blend the texture better.

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The entire thing is sectional for transport; the main front headdress is one piece, there are two additional side coral branches, and the hair loop section in back attaches with snaps. All told it is fairly comfortable and well-balanced, but incredibly heavy so I can only wear it for short periods of time.
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Judges’ comments:

“Holy Shit, damn girl!  So impressed that words escape me.”

“Amazing from concept to execution.”

“Very creative material sourcing and planning.  Stunning piece.”

Congratulations, Maral!

 

The judges also decided to award the following Honorable Mention awards:

Honorable Mention for Best Recycling of Material for “Victorianish Hat”, by Sherry Greer!

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Honorable Mention for Top Novice for “White Wedding Hat,” by Marilyn!

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“Clean finish, great curve on the brim.  Looks like you’ve been doing this for years!”

Honorable Mention for Excellent Problem Solving to “Frollo”, by Christa Ludwig!

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Honorable Mention for Best Whimsy for “Lily Pad Frog”, by Darcy Lewis!  

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Honorable Mention for Best Historical to “16th Century German”, by Bethany Padron!

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“What a beautiful hat, constructed with close attention to historical accuracy and details!”

 

And here are the rest of our wonderful entries:

“Enterprise Hat,” by Amber Ray!

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“Rapunzel Tiara” by Christa Ludwig!

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“Shipwreck,” by Darcy Lewis!

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“Mini Hats,” by Dorianne Jarchow!

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“Maleficent Dragon,” by Monty Montgomery-Hodorowski!

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Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #11!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #12
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SHEAR MADNESS QUARTERLY CHALLENGE #11: “THE WAY YOU WEAR YOUR HAT”

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The 10th Quarterly Challenge is over, so it is time to start thinking about the next one!

Challenge #11 is “The Way You Wear Your Hat” – The headwear challenge!  

Anything you can put on your head counts, OTHER THAN WIGS (there is a separate challenge for that).  Historical hats, Lolita headbands, Maleficent horns, fairy crowns…you name it!

Running dates: April 2016 – July 2016
The rules of the challenge are:

  1. Challenge #11 starts April 15, 2016 and runs till July 1, 2016. Your submission piece must have been FINISHED within the time period of 4/15/2015 – 7/1/2016.
  2. This challenge focuses on a specific piece, in this case something you wear on your head (other than a wig). It can be part of an outfit, but your submission will be judged by the headpiece, though pictures of how it completes a whole outfit are always nice.
  3. 75% of the headpiece must have been made or majorly modified by you. 25% of the piece can be purchased/sourced/thrifted by you (for example you use a thrift store hat as a base for your creation). We want to see your crafty creativity!
  4.  The piece cannot be a duplicate of a piece that is advertised in a store unless the store outfit was an inspiration and yours is radically different.  No knock-offs of other people’s work, please!  Everyone is entitled to their own ideas, and we want to see yours – not a copy of someone else’s. (Cosplay and historical recreations do not necessarily fall under this guideline if you are trying to reproduce a character/persona.)
  5. Contestants can sign up at any time. Simply send your name, the kind of costume you are creating, and a valid email address to Laura via Email any time prior to July 1st. Please do not enter via Facebook private message, or on the page – too many submissions get lost this way.  You are not required to enter a challenge to join the Facebook Group, but it is encouraged!

How to Submit Your Challenge Entry:

You need to submit 1-5 photos and a description of your creation to Laura at laurapulak@yahoo.com no later than midnight CST on July 1, 2016. Costumes posted in Facebook comment sections will not be counted as part of the challenge—they must be submitted directly to Laura via email to qualify. Along with your photos, include your inspiration for the piece, what outfit/event/etc. you created it for (if any), any problems you had to solve, any new things you tried and any creative solutions that you came up with.  Photos are VERY IMPORTANT and can make or break an entry.  Judges like to see costumes on actual people, if at all possible.  Cute poses are fun, but make sure you have at least one full front shot so all the details can be seen. Include close-ups of specific details you are proud of.

Limit of two (2) entries per person!

Contestants can share the progress of their outfits on their blogs or on the Shear Madness Facebook page, but it is NOT required. However, please do not post entries in their final state on the Facebook page until after judging is complete.

The judges will review the entries and the winners will be announced on July 5th, 2016.  There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd winners, as well as honorable mentions as chosen by the judges.  All winners will be given a Shear Madness logo with their winning placement for display on their blog/website, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will also receive a Shear Madness prize.

International winners will need to contact Laura to arrange shipping to their country and may need to cover the cost of postage if they wish to receive a physical prize (or you can opt out of the physical prize. You will still receive any digital badges or awards free of charge).

All winners (including the Honorable Mention winners) will have their creations featured in the header on the Facebook group page from July 4 to October 4, 2016.

HAVE FUN!  This is not something we want you to agonize over.  This is to be a fun and inspiring challenge for you as a costumer to help you grow and express yourself.  And if the entire thing doesn’t get finished? Oh well!  Share or submit what you have.  We just want to see what you were working on!

If you have a question about an outfit concerning it’s suitability for the challenge, or questions about what qualifies, send Laura an email and she will let you know.

All submissions must be FINISHED within one year of the start of the challenge.  So the “Way You Wear Your Hat” challenge is open to costumes COMPLETED between April 2015 and July 2016.  It doesn’t matter when you STARTED the outfit – the main focus is the FINISHING date!

Upcoming Challenges:

  1.  “The Decade Challenge” – This is for all you historical folks out there!  Any decade can be represented, up until 1970.  Should be a complete look, from the undergarments on out to the accessories.
    Running dates: October 2016 – December 2016
  2.  “The Big Top Challenge” – Calling all clowns, ringmasters, tightrope walkers, sideshow performers, and miscellaneous circus performers!  Whether a historically accurate outfit, or something completely from your imagination, as long as it fits in a circus, it can be entered here.
    Running Dates: January 2017 – April 2017
  3.  “The Underwear Challenge” – Show us your costume undergarments!  Have a frilly underskirt, a fabulous corset, a unique pair of knickers?  This is the challenge for you!  Running dates: May 2017-July 2017
  4.  “The UpDo Challenge” – This is for all you crafty wig wranglers!  Anime, historical, anything goes.  Enter your amazing wig transformation here!
    Running Dates: August 2017 – October 2017
  5.  “The Anything Goes Challenge” – In honor of our 3rd Anniversary of Shear Madness Challenges, you can enter any costume you wish in this challenge.  The only caveat is that it needs to be a complete costume – headwear, wigs, undergarments, outfit, right down to your shoes.
    Running dates: November 2017 – January 2018
Busily recording her adventures.

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #10: THE ADORABLE ALERT WINNERS

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Challenge #10 was the cutest one yet!  Our judges had a blast looking through the adorable entries.  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Caitlin Shinder, Lisa Hansen, and Bethany Padron!

And here are the winners:

Third Place:  ”Baby Willy Wonka” by Amanda Fineran!

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Amanda says:  “One of the first things many people notice about my daughter, Molly, is her platinum blonde and curly hair! So what choice did we have when determining her Halloween costume!? We had to do Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka!

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Ready to give you a golden ticket!

When making costumes for myself, I strive for screen accuracy; but when making a child’s costume, comfort is a major factor. I also needed to make sure the costume was easy to get on and off, because I didn’t want her to get frustrated before the costume was even on.
The shirt in the movie was a cream colored, long-sleeve, dress shirt. I had a hard time finding just the right dress shirt pattern for this; apparently pattern makers know that toddlers don’t like dress shirts. I ended up using Simplicity 1574 (view d) which is short sleeved to keep Molly cooler, and added a zipper to make putting it on faster. This worked out well since the collar is the part that is most often seen. I made the collar extra big, to make sure that the collar stayed tucked into the vest even while Molly was running around picking up candy.
The vest in the movie is rather odd; it is double breasted with a high, scooped collar. The fabric is black with purple and pink flowers on it. I used Simplicity 4762 (view B) which achieved the perfect balance of comfort and style that I was looking for! I couldn’t do all the buttons that were in the movie, because that would simply take too long! I found some great purple and pink cotton fabric to use and it all came together perfectly.
The bow is a lot of fun! It’s shiny, gold, and is rarely tied neatly. I used a gold satin and cut the bow by trial and error; I got it right on the first try! The bow lays and stays in place very well between the collar and vest; even after running around at Zoo Boo!

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Perfectly capturing Willy Wonka.

The jacket. Oh, the jacket! In the movie it’s a beautiful purple velvet with a lighter purple trim and patterned cream lining. The only problem? I’ve never made a suit coat and the only pattern for one in a toddler size was Burda 9443, a pattern brand I’ve never used because it was so difficult in the past! I found a purple fabric that was the perfect color; it wasn’t velvet, but it gave the right look, and truth be told, I don’t even know what the fabric is because it wasn’t labeled. The lining is a cream, paisley cotton and the trim is a light purple doublefold bias tape. I took my time with the jacket and it really paid off!
The pants are Dickies which I hemmed to fit. The shoes are just whatever shoes fit her right now; I decided that she is too picky about what goes on her feet to try and get something specific. The hat was bought but only used for 5 seconds per appearance, as her favorite thing to do with it is throw it. The lollipop is from Candy Land in Minneapolis; it is half prop, half bribe.
I am so pleased with how this costume turned out! Molly looks great in it and best of all, she loves wearing it! .

Judges’ comments:

Instantly recognizable, and very nice sewing. And I know how important it that this costume is comfortable and easy to take off and on. Kudos on getting the model to wear that tie!

“Great recreation! I particularly like what a great match you found for the vest fabric.”

“This is a good recreation and I appreciate the forethought that went into the comfort of the subject vs the accuracy to the source, including candy prop/bribes.”

Congratulations, Amanda!

Second Place:  ”Tiny Totoro” by A.J. Wu!

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A.J. says:  “Totoro is one of my favorite Miyazaki films and I’d always planned to make Totoro costumes for The Brood. When Cation Designs decided to do a “Small Human Being Sew-Along”, I really wanted to participate so I decided on Totoro costumes. Lorelai joined in with a Chibi Totoro costume for her tadpole, so we had a complete set of Totoros.”

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Close-up!

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Hanging with his buddies.

Judges’ comments:

“The nubby texture on the fleece makes this work especially well. It looks comfy and fits well! Bravo!”

“This is so neatly finished and kid friendly. I’m fascinated that the ears stay perky. We MUST know her secret!”

“Beautiful sewing. Comfortable, and happy child. Since Totoro is a classic, this is an instant family heirloom.”

Congratulations, A.J.!

First Place:  ”Jane Porter from Tarzan”  by Tanya Gaspar!

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Tanya says:  “This is actually the 2nd Jane Porter costume I’ve made her inspired by Disney’s Tarzan. I tried to make it both accurate to the cartoon and park face character.

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Side view, action shot!

I drafted the pattern after spending a year of Frankenstein patterning. I had to cut the front apron piece twice to get it lay right. I did a scallop hem on the petticoat using a peanut butter jar lid for the pattern.

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The inspiration photo, copyright Disney.

The puff sleeves were fitted with darts instead of gathering. Her spats were created by out friend Ashley Grono.

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Busily recording her adventures.

I had to cut several prototype collars to get it to both resemble the character’s and to also lay nicely.

Judges’ comments:

“Everything about this is and the process is lovely; from the creative problem solving and methodical working to get the pattern ‘just right’ to pulling all the other accoutrements together.”

“Great fabric, and nice job recreating the silhouette. The attention to detail and accessories really pull the whole package together.”

“Cute, accurate, comfortable looking and great use of accessories. She looks like she’s enjoying herself. The puff and the swags all look excellent. All the hard work paid off!”

Congratulations, Tanya!

The judges decided to award the following Honorable Mention awards:

 

Honorable Mention for Recreation for “Megara from Hercules”, by Tanya Gaspar!

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“Very cute! And how did you get a kid to wear a wig??!! Clever solutions to make the costume wearable for a child (interfacing hip wrap, leotard underneath, side zip). Great fabric choice, rather than having to do tons of pleating! Good color execution and costume was adapted well from a vamp to something for a youngster and nice wig.”

Honorable Mention for Creative Use of Materials for “Metalbeard Pirate,” by Raechel Fleming!

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“Loving all the details, especially the shark! Excellent use of materials. I encourage the perseverance to experiment even on a deadline. Creative fabrication on a budget. Well played!”

Honorable Mention for Addition to Family Cosplay to “The Little Airbender”, by A.J. Wu!

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“Great job re-creating the costume without overcomplicating the baby’s clothing. The temporary tattoo is such a great idea! Everything about this makes me smile. Family cosplay is the best! “

Honorable Mention for Making a Child’s Dream Come to Life for “The Petite Tsarina”, by Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Prill!  

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“I love how she lives this character! Exactly what a child’s costume should do. I wish we could see more of it. That is a kid who loves what she’s wearing. “

And here are the rest of our wonderful entries:

“Katy Perry Superbowl Outfit,” by Shannon Burchard!

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“Great job making a very sexy costume appropriate for a young girl, without losing the style.”

“Hogwarts Robes” by Jess Dunow!

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“Clever way of creating the pattern! The end result is adorable.”

“Elsa, The Frozen Jedi,” by Leigh Fenty!

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“I love that you can clearly see both inspirations for this outfit– great design.”

“Captain America,” by Leigh Fenty!

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“True blue American style!”

“Cyberdread Batman,” by Leah Lloyd!

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“Looks very fun to wear!”

“Baby Mermaid,” by Andrea Roady!

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“Super cute and a great effect with the different colors of fleece scales!”

Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #10!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #11:  The Way You Wear Your Hat!
Side view!

1st ANNUAL SINGLE FABRIC CHALLENGE WINNERS!

 

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I was so impressed by the entries for our first ever Single Fabric Challenge!  A big thank you to the wonderful folks who agreed to be judgmental with me:  Leah “Lamia” Lloyd,  and Christopher Michaela!

This challenge was different in that in addition to considering execution, idea, creativity and overall aesthetic, we also had to consider the use of the Challenge Fabric in the design.

And here are the winners:

Third Place:  ”Liberte!” by Lisa Hansen!

Lisa's 18th century French inspired outfit!

Lisa’s 18th century French inspired outfit!

Lisa says:  “Here is my single fabric challenge entry. Apologies in advance for some of the pictures. By the time my hair was dry it was nearly dark.

Back view with matching prints.

Back view with matching prints.

It’s a 1780-ish jacket when red white and blue were popular in French fashion reflect the US revolution. It is liberty. And it harks back, for me, to a funny travel story.

The bird in the gilded cage!

The bird in the gilded cage!

In addition to the jacket and skirt, I made a hat that is a bluebird escaping from a golden cage, carrying a banner that declaims ‘Liberte’. I started with a pattern that was nothing like the result. I suffered the hell of cutting so the birds be exactly where I wanted them in the finished jacket. And I mostly had a lot of fun doing it.”

Pattern matching!

Pattern matching! 

Judges’ comments:

“ Lisa always has such fantastic ideas and accessories. I love the gilded cage hat!  I like the use of red, white and blue in the design. The fit is very good, and the pattern matching is excellent.”

“DAT HAT THO.  I love the jacket. Like the stark elegance of the plain skirt. Excellent use of Liberte colors and accessories. Whimsical. ”

“A creative and well made implementation of the theme. Fun and creative, it should appear in Les Miserables”

Congratulations, Lisa!

Second Place:  ”Victorian Gown” by Stephani Sprong!

Stephanie's frothy Victorian gown!

Stephanie’s frothy Victorian gown!

Stephanie says:  “Inspiration: I live in the Victorian mining town of Leadville, Colorado, where we take great pride in our Victorian heritage and host several events each year where everyone dresses up in Victorian gear. I made a dress nearly two years ago, an 1880s ball gown with steampunk detailing, which I wore at every possible occasion until the camera-brandishing editor of our local newspaper asked me if I did not possess another dress. Crushed, I realized I needed a new frock. I saw the single fabric challenge, and the rest was history. So inspiration for period is broadly Victorian and more specifically the 1880s (when Leadville was founded).
This was the height of the bustle revival, when the slim front and narrow sides were backed by a mighty bustle extending into the next county. To further refine this general silhouette, I decided on a summer “walking dress” silhouette, both to match the lightweight fabric and because heavy fabric ball gowns are HOT to wander around in at festivals and cons. See my pinterest for a walking dress collection:https://www.pinterest.com/stephaniespo…/1880s-walking-dress/

Front view of smocked apron.

Front view of smocked apron.

Design Concept: I liked the fabric when I saw it on the computer back when we voted, but I was shocked at the large size of the birds when my ten yards of challenge fabric showed up, plus three yards each of white, light blue, medium blue and dark blue fabric of similar weight and behavior as the challenge fabric. Big! These birds were big! This would not be a subtle background fabric with pattern that added interest but didn’t take over. These birds were large and in charge. I had to deal with the birds. After many false starts, I decided to let those enormous birds dictate the details of the design. The dress itself would be birdlike, with a feathery soft front breast, feathery wing-like trimmings, and soft color gradations like the colors of a bird, all topped with a magnificent bird plumage tail of the challenge fabric bold and unadorned.

Right side!

Right side!

Patterns: With this general concept in mind—late bustle period plus honor the giant birds—I set out looking for patterns. Truly Victorian, as usual, came to the rescue. The underskirt, of white cotton interlined with white silk organza, is the TV261-R 1885 Four-Gore Underskirt from the late bustle era 1883-1889, which I made up using the “additional poofs” form, my motto with bustles being “go big or go home.” The underskirt rests over the TV101 Bustle Petticoat, which features a petticoat with built-in bustle, which I made up in plain muslin. The bodice is the TV462 1883 Tail Bodice, which I made up with the short tails and keyhole neckline and wore over the TV 1880s Late Victorian Corset, which I made up in a white corset coutil lined with the challenge fabric.

Another shot of the trimming!

Another shot of the trimming!

Trimmings: Once the basic structure was in place, it was time to figure out the details. Once more, into the research… For the “feathery breast,” I went with a leaf-pattern smocking technique on the front of the skirt, using gradations of color from the lightest to darkest blue to imitate the similar shading in the challenge fabric as well as the color gradations found all over town on Leadville’s Victorian homes’ gingerbread facades. Then in Ruth Singer’s Fabric Manipulation: 150 Creative Sewing Techniques, I found the idea of edged pleats, for my base row of box pleats, each pleat topped by a thin ribbon of the challenge fabric, to keep the challenge fabric prominent but add some interest and motion with the dark blue underfabric. Then a row of giant box pleats, featuring those damned birds and narrowing the silhouette to accentuate the flare of the bottom ruffle. Then three rows of pleats on pleats, in a technique from Francis Gimble’s Bustle Fashions 1885-1887 with the under fabric moving from dark to lightest blue, topped by pleated fans of the challenge fabric, again echoing the color gradations of the challenge fabric and providing a contrast with the challenge fabric. Finally, the tail, with swooping folds of the challenge fabric, beginning with gathered panniers in front and then cascading down the back over the trimmed underskirt. Buttons on the bodice are blue Swarovski crystals and trimmings from the skirt are echoed at wrist and neck.

Judges’ comments:

“ I am really impressed with this. The fit is good, it has a metric ton of ruffles/pleats, the birds are well placed and coordinating, and I like the coordinating fabrics. The smocking on the front piece is particularly nice. I also like that she implemented the idea of the birds into the entire design, and that she was inspired by her town.”

“Lots of work went into it both before and during, the backstory is good, her lines are clean, I love her research. That apron was a ton of work.  You have this wonderful china-like fabric, with shaded ruffles and cuffs, everything is light and airy.”

“It’s truly spectacular and obviously very well made. A ton of skilled work.”

Congratulations, Stephanie!

First Place:  ”Walk-Away Dress”  by Artemisia Moltabocca!

Arte's Walk-Away dress!

Arte’s Walk-Away dress!

Arte says:  “Laura of Shear Madness called on the masses to create a costume using Michael Miller Blue & White Bird on the Vine Azure fabric.

Thankfully I had a little help from this great walkaway dress tutorial by Edelweiss Patterns.

Side view!

Side view!

I was inspired by the style of this dress because it was a perfect way to display the challenge fabric in its glory.

Nicely fitted back view.

Nicely fitted back view.

The petticoat was a bit of a challenge. Edelweiss has a tutorial on how to make a petticoat for this dress. The petticoat needed to be flat in the front, and full in the back. Call it the mullet of petticoats.

Petticoat reveal!

Petticoat reveal!

This dress is notorious for having too much ease, and a large armhole. I was able to adjust the pattern to my figure (A FIRST!), but my 50s style longline bra still peeks through. I’ll wear a white slip underneath the dress next time.

Accessory bits and trim!

Accessory bits and trim!

Close-ups of butt bow, cat corsage, and neckline embroidery. I fit and sewed the petticoat and dress in 12 hours. All in all, I am satisfied with this dress, and feel so pretty in it.”


3/4 view.

3/4 view.

Judges’ comments:

“Oh my god I can’t even. This is ADORABLE. Despite the apparent simplicity of the dress, it’s clear that it’s a complex, fitted, and fiddly garment. She has a period silhouette, the petticoat fluffs out the hem well, the back is smooth, the seams are tidy. Good accessories and little touches.”

“It’s all about this. The little flower brooch with the kitty, the hat, shoes, fit, make, the entire look. She obviously has a lot of experience and knows how to fit a dress. A very well put together outfit.”

“I love the use of this fabric in this dress. I also know this is an incredibly difficult dress to fit, and the fit is really quite good on her. Bonus points for cuteness.”

Congratulations, Arte!

And a big round of applause to our honorable mentions:

Honorable Mention for Best Period Look and Accessories to “Dutch Print Madness” by Prentice Wilson!

"  I love the blue wig, the Dutch mixed prints, the fit on the outfit and the fabulous hat." " I love this - great use of a period eye. Great use of existing underpinnings, and love the idea of the bird fabric as an apron. Fantastic silhouette." " Love the silouhette, the blue wig, the construction, the attitude, the period look. "

” I love the blue wig, the Dutch mixed prints, the fit on the outfit and the fabulous hat.”
” I love this – great use of a period eye. Great use of existing underpinnings, and love the idea of the bird fabric as an apron. Fantastic silhouette.”
” Love the silouhette, the blue wig, the construction, the attitude, the period look. “

Honorable Mention for Best Theme Idea to “1950’s Teacup Dress” by Tia McCurdy!

"Darling. Kudos for the teacup idea!" "Ok, she is just adorable. I love the capelet and the gold netting. I think she almost looks a bit like a Little Blue Riding Hood. " "Little Blue Riding Hood is exactly what I thought too. This is completely adorable, but it seems like she was cheap on the netting. Agreed, this may have been personally challenging,  Sheer adorableness."

“Darling. Kudos for the teacup idea!”
“Ok, she is just adorable. I love the capelet and the gold netting. I think she almost looks a bit like a Little Blue Riding Hood. “
“Little Blue Riding Hood is exactly what I thought too. This is completely adorable.”

 Thank you to everyone for making the Single Fabric Challenge such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for the Fabric-Along!
Premiere Prints Ozborne!

The 2016 Fabric-Along!

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Now that the Single Fabric Challenge has come to an end, I wanted to do something else fun for the group as a whole, and I decided to do a “fabric-along” challenge/party.

The idea behind a fabric-along is that a design is picked with various color-ways, and people can purchase fabric of their own color choice, and participate.  You can make anything costume related, of any style, but the fabric purchased needs to be obvious and integral to the design in some way.  No linings or trim only.

The Fabric supplier of Shear Madness challenges.

The Fabric supplier of Shear Madness challenges.

The judging of these will be different than the previous challenges.  People will submit their photos to me of what they have made, they will be uploaded into an album, and the Shear Madness support group will vote on their favorites.  I will also pick a “Laura’s Choice” from the group for an extra award.  The winners will receive Shear Madness award ribbons, and the 1st place winner (and Laura’s Choice winner) will each receive 3 yards of fabric from Fabric.com.

So which fabric are we doing?  Well, I was inspired by one of my favorite movies, and one I have personally recreated costumes from – “The Sound of Music.”  The fabric design chosen is very similar to that of the curtains used by Maria to make play-clothes for the Von Trapp children.  It is:

Ozborne comes in various colors (there are currently 19 options on Fabric.com), and it is a slightly heavier twill fabric with the design printed on it.  It is 100% cotton fabric.  It does not have a delicate drape, but is structurally very good.  It is a fairly large repeat, so pay attention to the ruler with the measurements when ordering your yardage.  Note that sometimes they do a run of this fabric in a much smaller repeat, so make sure you know the size when ordering.

There is a similar print called “Traditions” and one called “Madison” that are also acceptable for use, as they really are very similar.  The fabric width is 54 inches wide.  The fabric also washes fairly well, with minimal shrinkage in my experience, but your experience may differ.

Part of the idea of the fabric-along is that people working on the outfits made from the fabric post updates, color choices, etc. on the group, so we can follow along.  I will have a separate album that people can add photos to as the challenge progresses.

So what can someone do with this fabric?  Well, I did participate in a Sound of Music group in which we used the olive colorway to make our curtain outfits:

Our rather modern and unorthodox take on the Von Trapp family.

Our rather modern and unorthodox take on the Von Trapp family.

And I modded the dress to make it Victorian-esque for a Steampunk Fezziwig’s party:

That would be Edelweiss on my bustle, and my hat is covered in my favorite things.

That would be Edelweiss on my bustle, and my hat is covered in my favorite things.

So choose your colorway, purchase your fabric, and join in the fun!  The Challenge ends June 15th, and your final photos and text must be submitted to me by midnight CST on that date, either via FB email or via regular email at mncostume@yahoo.com.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the fabulous things you come up with!

Erin's enchanting Clockword Doll.

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #9: THE “PUT SOME GEARS ON IT STEAMPUNK” CHALLENGE WINNERS

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We had so many wonderful entries for Challenge #9, and they truly impressed our judges!  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Leah “Lamia” Lloyd, Lis Kester of Dragonfly Designs by Alisa, and Gregory Laffrenzen!

And here are the winners:

Third Place:  ”East Meets West Steampunk” by Prentice Watson!

Prentice's wonderful Asian-inspired Steampunk costume.

Prentice’s wonderful Asian-inspired Steampunk costume.

Prentice says:  “I wanted, as usual, to merge the West with the East for this Steampunk challenge. I thought of creating a Steampunk Samurai costume with elements from both. I found a ton of Asian inspired Steampunk costumes upon which to draw some inspiration.

Action shot!

Action shot!

In addition to lots of inspiration photos, I found several images that provided instructions on how to create the hakama, traditional Samurai pleated pants, and the hoari, the half length kimona style outer jacket. Plus a couple of Steampunk ray gun images as well. I made one several years ago, but needed a new smaller one for this costume. So I was off to the races with my Samurai Steampunk costume.

Lovely detailed vest.

Lovely detailed vest.

The shirt vest and cravat I already had made and thankfully still fit. The collar should have been up on the vest, but that’s alright. I really like the way the haori turned out. There was a lot of hand stitching with this jacket. The lining was joined to the outer shell all by hand. It really made all of the difference. I was concerned about losing length from the hem, that I sewing grosgrain ribbon at the bottom and folded that up whip stitched that to the lining and outer shell fabric to secure. In some of the photos, you can see the blue ribbon.

Judges’ comments:

“ I am intoxicated by all Ricepunk, particularly when it’s well done, and even moreso when it’s for a gentleman. Great use of colors and good compliment of fashion elements of both East and West. ”

“This makes me very happy; I love seeing well-researched multicultural steampunk. The steampunk aspects are very well integrated.”

“Impressive alignment of the bold vest pattern. Great attention to detail on the lining of the hoari sleeves. Tasteful use of jewelry and accessories for the photoshoot.”

Congratulations, Prentice!

Second Place:  ”Red and Ivory Steampunk Wedding Gown” by Barbara Ebel!

barb2

A gorgeous Steampunk Wedding ensemble!

Barbara says:  “Red and Ivory Steampunk wedding dress in silk taffeta and velvet. Based on a historical dress from 1877. I made the bustle (not pictured), corset, petticoat with circular flounce, skirt and jacket.

Undergarments coordinate with overgown.

Undergarments coordinate with overgown.

Embroidery took over 30 hours to complete. The final image is the original dress.

Trims and embroidery details.

Trims and embroidery details.

We changed the sleeves & embroidery pattern and I couldnt find knotted fringe, but most other details are true to the original including the fringed taffeta knife pleating. ”

Back view!

Back view!

Judges’ comments:

“Amazing attention to detail. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Trim, fabric, contrast, reference, everything.”

“Completely fantastic.The embroidery is wonderful.”

“All around fantastic. That embroidery is everywhere!”

Congratulations, Barbara!

First Place:  ”Broken Clockwork Doll”  by Erin Card!

Erin's enchanting Clockword Doll.

Erin’s enchanting Clockword Doll.

Erin says:  “Elements:
Petticoat – Made from pattern. One billion yards of tulle.
Skirt – Designed & made. Two-layer bustled charmeuse lolita skirt
White shirt – Designed & made – pinstripe charmeuse with sheer striped sleeves
Jacket – Designed & made – military cropped style, lined charmeuse.
Doll legs – tights purchased (eBay, Made in China)
Upper eyelashes – Designed and made – paper lashes.
Top hat – embroidered by me (free-standing lace design by Urban Threads)
Gloves – purchased (eBay, Made in China)
Wig – purchased (Gothic Lolita Wigs) and lightly styled
Makeup – myself, using white base paint, black liquid paint, and metallic powders.
Shoes – purchased (eBay, Made in China)
Parasol – purchased (eBay, Made in China)
Contacts – electric blue contacts purchased (FourEyez)

Full rear view.

Full rear view.

This was SUPPOSED to be my halloween costume, but I’d only gotten through ordering wig/gloves/shoes, making the hat and petticoat, and drafting the skirt and top by the time I had to triage and make a backup doll costume. I finally finished it for a photoshoot in mid-December. I may add additional elements to the skirt and parasol, but we’ll see.

Rear view embroidery close-up.

Rear view embroidery close-up.

The skirt is a two layer, high waisted, corseted back, meticulously stripe-matched, embroidered, charmeuse lolita skirt. I part-drafted, part-draped the skirt from scratch. Then added almost 60 yards of 5in ruffle, lettuce’d with fishing line in the hem for extra poof! Petticoat had to be completed first in order for me to drape on the dress form. No zipper – uses the corset back to tighten around my midsection after pulling on over my head. There is elastic in the back panel to help with gathering under the corset ties. The back is bustled with ribbon run through small loops, so I can adjust the amount of bustle I want. Design and construction of the skirt went flawlessly, unlike the jacket.

Full front view.

Full front view.

The shirt is a pinstripe charmeuse with shear striped puff sleeves. I made most of it from a pattern, modifying the collar to military style, and the sleeves to be long and poofy (pattern had 3/4 sleeves). The pattern I LOVE because it has a bust seam, allowing for a tighter waist and still allow the bust to have give. Buttons (can’t see in the pic) are 3D printed and colored silver with rub-n-buff. The cuffs close with free-standing lace buckles instead of buttons or cufflinks.

The jacket is cotton lined, embroidered, charmeuse with double breasted front and military collar. Drafted and draped, styled like a little girls’ doll jacket would look with a looser, straightedged cut on the bottom. I had originally planned to use a pattern for this, but upon base shape completion, it was pulling in ALL the wrong spots and my stripes hadn’t matched and it was terrible. So, I threw that across the room and started over with my dress form and some scrap fabric to drape, draft, and drape again until the design was perfect. Stripes are matched on the shoulder and front overlap. Buttons are 3D printed and colored silver with rub-n-buff. Throat brooch was purchased (made by a friend), and modified with additional 3D printed gears.

Front view close-up of embroidery.

Front view close-up of embroidery.

“Free standing lace,” for the uninitiated embroiderer, is actually an embroidery design done on a water soluble stabilizer. The embroidery design is tight and structural enough that when the stabilizer is washed away, all that remains is thread, and it’s sheer like lace. Leave a little stabilizer in there as “starch” and you can create some awesome 3D elements, like my hat and cuff buckles. All my embroidery (FSL and normal) was done with metallic bright silver, mid-gray, metallic pewter, and black threads with designs by Urban Threads.

Eyelashes (top) are designed and made by me. Gear design cut out of a glittery black paper on my Cricut paper cutting machine. They last quite well – this was my 3rd or 4th time wearing them. Lower eyelashes were purchased.

The detailed make-up.

The detailed make-up.

I painted my face and chest with a light coat of white to keep it more porcelain than stark white. Then took a liquid black to create holes and cracks all over my face, neck and chest. Using a fine brush, metallic powders and a suspension liquid, I painted the clockwork innards through the holes in my face and chest. Flashes of white on the edges of the holes and cracks create extra dimension. Rosy cheeks, oversized eyelashes and white eyeliner help with the doll-like look. Closeup photo of the face is from halloween, not the outdoor shoot. But it’s the same concept. I change the gears every time I paint it.”

Judges’ comments:

“Impressed with makeup, accessories, design, workmanship and embroidery.”

“Phenomenal use of freestanding lace and embroidery. Cute touch with lightup earring.  Agree that lots of different techniques went into this, and they blended well to make something bigger than the individual parts.”

“So impressed with this. So many different techniques and skills were used, and it all came together perfectly. The make-up is a great touch.”

Congratulations, Erin!

The judges were so impressed by the worksmanship and design of an additional entry that they decided to award it a Judge’s Choice Award.

Judge’s Choice Award:  “Agents of Catthulu” by Ryn Cording!

The Agents of Cathulu costume by Ryn!

The Agents of Cathulu costume by Ryn!

Ryn says:  “A few months ago, I ran across a comic called Tentacle Kitty. Being the catlady I am, it really clicked when I started thinking about steampunk costumes for our local winter steampunk party. I fell in love with the idea of a secret society of chaotic neutral agents aligned with the mysterious (and fearsomely cute) Catthulhu. And so, the Agents of Catthulu were born…or awoken…from a catnap…

LED busk cover!

LED busk cover!

The leather was a lucky/happy find at Tandy one afternoon when I ran in for snaps for a winter soldier cosplay. The resulting corset, shrug and holster have been the biggest challenge as the leather is thicker than I normally use for corsets. I will be tweaking the shrug from darts to princess seams but love the way it turned out.

Front view of ensemble.

Front view of ensemble.

The skirt was a repurpose from my Malificent costume from 2014. The Ruffles/pleats took a full afternoon, and I couldn’t be happier!  The shirt, gloves, hat, glasses and potion bottle (yay Thinkgeek!) were purchased.

Rear view of ensemble.

Rear view of ensemble.

All the electronics are running off of a 10k mah power cell. The LED in the busk cover does change colors as does the potion bottle. The LEDs in the skirt also slowly change and run off of AAs. The busk cover is hand carved and the thigh holster is hand-stitched (but for the four lines of stitching to hold the zipper into the leather wings.) The holster alone takes roughly four to five hours to complete. (I built two for Fezziwig’s.)

Stunning leatherwork!

Stunning leatherwork!

I’m very happy to share this beast and look forward to wearing all the pieces more often in the future!”

Judges’ comments:

“Great LEDs, I have coveted that leather corset, and she even put LEDs in the skirt.”

“Love the concept. The LED corset is fabulous!”

“Swank incorporation of multiple electronics / LEDs. Precise cutting of leather design.
Most Punk’d — the idea that steampunk takes a historical concept and gives it an impossible (at the time) spin.”

Congratulations, Ryn!

Honorable Mention for Stunning Use of Ombre Shading for “Steampunk Wedding Dress”, by Francesco Mena!

"Absolutely love the ombre effect; gorgeous, rich colors and a perfect fit."

“Absolutely love the ombre effect; gorgeous, rich colors and a perfect fit.”

Honorable Mention for Coordinating Fashion for “Chip and Eddie’s Wedding Outfits,” by Eddie Clark!

"Excellent use of contrast fabrics on both.  Great use of chain clasps on the outer coat.  Beautiful use of accenting the white with the underlying teal."

“Excellent use of contrast fabrics on both. Great use of chain clasps on the outer coat. Beautiful use of accenting the white with the underlying teal.”

Honorable Mention for Construction of Accessories to “Dr. Frankenstein and his Lolita Monster”, by William Nelson!

"props and accessories are fantastic. Love the filigree and LED eyepatch in particular.  Delicate filigree and details on gloves. Good work matching color of shoe to dress."

“Props and accessories are fantastic. Love the filigree and LED eyepatch in particular. Delicate filigree and details on gloves. Good work matching color of shoe to dress.”

"Magnificent backpack and adept use of contrasting artistic principles -- variety and repetition. Good work on a flexible “metal” tube."

“Magnificent backpack and adept use of contrasting artistic principles — variety and repetition. Good work on a flexible “metal” tube.”

Honorable Mention for Non-Traditional Steampunk for “Red Ballgown”, by Melissa Knesek!  

"Happy to see a non-gears ensemble. Good pleats, nice use of complimentary fabric.  The pleated skirt and the bustle shape are perfect.   Hard work pleating paid off in spades. Great coloring throughout the ensemble."

“Happy to see a non-gears ensemble. Good pleats, nice use of complimentary fabric. The pleated skirt and the bustle shape are perfect. Hard work pleating paid off in spades. Great coloring throughout the ensemble.”

 

Congratulations to all of our honorable mention winners!

And a big round of applause to our other wonderful entries:

“Fezziwig’s Ball Gown” by Erica Ramisch!

"Good use of fabric, good balance of design and fabric.  Love the use of color.  You can never go wrong with more sparkle. Love the adjustable skirt."

“Good use of fabric, good balance of design and fabric. Love the use of color. You can never go wrong with more sparkle.
Love the adjustable skirt.”

“Steampunk Cinderella and Snow White” by Lindsay Marth!

"Good job combining purchased and self-made elements. It's all perfectly matched.   Capelet is a great whimsical addition.  Clearly a project that was lots of fun to make."

“Good job combining purchased and self-made elements. It’s all perfectly matched. Capelet is a great whimsical addition. Clearly a project that was lots of fun to make.”

“Nevermore Dress” by Nell Bekiares!

"The overskirt is adorable, LOVE the contrasting colors and the buttons!  Good use of multiple on-theme fabrics to convey a specific idea."

“The overskirt is adorable, LOVE the contrasting colors and the buttons! Good use of multiple on-theme fabrics to convey a specific idea.”

Thank you to everyone for making Challenge #9 such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for Challenge #10!

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SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #8: THE “AS SEEN ON TV” CHALLENGE WINNERS

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We had a fantastic group of entries for Challenge #8, and they knocked the socks off of our judges!  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Samantha Evans, Maggie from Costumer’s Guide, and Cassandra aka Pinkrouge!

And here are the winners:

Third Place:  ”River Song from Doctor Who” by Laura Zenz Proctor!

Laura's Fabulous River Song!

Laura’s Fabulous River Song!

Laura says:  “Built and completed in March, 2015

It took me a while to source fabric similar to the original striped fabric, but finally found a lining material on closeout sale that read pretty close to me, and the rest of the grays were purchased to coordinate. The faux chinchilla fur was found online and was a remnant just large enough to build the muff, collar and trim out a pair of old gloves I had dyed gray.

The inspiration costume.

The inspiration costume from the BBC’s Dr. Who.

The hat was made from scratch with buckram, silk velvet, millinery flowers and feathers.

The fabulous hat.

The fabulous hat.

My biggest deviation from the original was the collar trim. I thought the trim looked heavy caused puckering on the original collar, so I choose a trim that mimicked embroidery and lay smoothly on my lightweight fabric. I then carried that trim down into the skirt to tie
them together.

Hanging out with Thorin Oakenshield.

Hanging out with Thorin Oakenshield.

The underwear I had already built and consists of a Victorian combination, corset, bustle and starched petticoat. The only pieces of the costume I didn’t build or alter are the shoes and journal.”

Judges’ comments:

“This costume is a lovely piece of work with well sourced fabrics and an impeccable fit. I particularly love the milinery work and interesting ‘origami’ treatment on the drape trimming. The wig styling is also very nicely done!”

“This is excellent for replication accuracy, excellent construction. Beautiful wig styling as well.”

“I think it’s funny that the original has more bust wrinkles than the costumer’s version does! She did a really nice job with the fit and I love that she wore it with the correct underwear. I also like the little details like River’s journal and the hat/muff.”

Congratulations, Laura!

Second Place:  ”Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones” by Loren Dearborn!

Loren's beautifully embroidered Cersei costume!

Loren’s beautifully embroidered Cersei costume!

Loren says:  “I’m a big fan of Game of Thrones and liked this dress when I first saw it on screen, but I truly fell in love with it when I saw it in person at FIDM’s Television Costume exhibit. And I knew I had to make it!

The inspiration garment. Embroidery by Michele Carragher. Gown from Game of Thrones.

The inspiration garment. Embroidery by Michele Carragher. Gown from Game of Thrones.

This gown was a LONG time in the making for me! First I did a lot of research. I poured over Michele Carragher’s website for close ups photos of the embroidery and spent a long time re-watching the scenes where she wears the dress. Then I got to work. I had some lovely silk taffeta in my stash that was just about the same turquoise shade as the gown but I couldn’t find anything to match the paisley printed side panels. So I ended up making my own print using a purchased silk screen and some copper silk dupioni You can see the whole process here: http://costumerscloset.blogspot.com/2014/04/painting-paisleys-for-cersei.html

A close-up of the detailed work on the hand-embroidery.

A close-up of the detailed work on the hand-embroidery.

I lined the sleeves with crinkled metallic silk and made piping of the crinkled metallic silk and the copper print since the dress is piped along multiple seams. I modified the Simplicity GoT pattern to make the side panels wider and the center back to give the gown a fuller skirt, and made two front panels to make it a true wrap dress as the original appeared to be when I saw it at FIDM. You can see the wrap and that skirts are nearly a full circle in this construction shot:http://costumerscloset.blogspot.com/2015/07/cersei-sneak-peek-with-favorite-pattern.html  It’s held together with only a few ties, something I feel sure naughty Cersei would approve of!

Back view of the gown.

Back view of the gown.

I had originally thought I might appliqué pre embroidered birds onto the gown but it just didn’t look right so I ended up embroidering all the birds by hand. I finished the first bird in October of 2014 and the last in June of 2015. I followed Game of Thrones embroider, Michele Carragher’s, method and embroidered them on silk organza then appliquéd them to the finished gown and then added all the beading, feathers, and Italian mesh embroidery. I got the biggest photos I could find of the gown and freehanded the spiral embroidery and bead designs onto some paper based on those photos then transferred the beading/embroidery lines to my gown.

The belt is purchased from an eBay vendor.”

Judges’ comments:

“Stunning, stunning embroidery and bead work. I love the work done to replicate the birds in mixed media – so finnicky and PERFECT! I wanted to do this one myself, but never committed to all that. Creative textile use to make a similar fabric for the side panels and also a little pattern manipulation go a long way to improving the accuracy of the recreation. There are also little snips of the paisley print in the arm trim which you can see in some of her blog pictures…. I think this costume is beautifully executed and is very screen accurate, PLUS includes some amazing hand work. Tiny criticism – GAH, show us the front!🙂 ”

“This is so beautiful, beautifully constructed, and the amount of embroidery work, and with feathers, that turned out so gorgeously, is beyond impressive. Accuracy is top notch.”

“A lot of work clearly went into those hand embroidered birds. I think she did a beautiful construction job, really captures the look of the original and has all the beautiful hand work on top of it.”

Congratulations, Loren!

First Place:  ”Jupiter Jones from Jupiter Ascending”  by Bina Pothi!

Bina's Amazing Jupiter gown!

Bina’s Amazing Jupiter gown!

Bina says:  “August 7th, 2014 had me scream out loud. That was when I first saw a trailer for Jupiter Ascending.

When I first saw that beautiful white gown with all the pretty red flowers in the trailer, my stomach instantly turned into a vacuum, sending a clear message to my brain – “MY dress.”
My brain, on the other hand, instantly sent a message back: “Hey, your body is way too curvy for this!” (because seriously, my body is NOT that of Mila Kunis – not even remotely!)
My heart, on the other hand, lost no time and replied: “SO WHAT? Spanx do exist!”

The inspiration garment, from the movie "Jupiter Ascending."

The inspiration garment, from the movie “Jupiter Ascending.”

Since I tend to listen to my stomach and heart, my decision to make this gown was also instantly set.

At that point, the release for the movie had been pushed back to February 2015; which put me in no good position to obtain the lifesize cardboard standee – which I knew I would NEED to get that dress just right. So for a start, what I had was just the image of the standee as well as screen captures from the HD trailers for my initial research.

Eventually, I received the lifesize cardboard standee of the gown. It’s approximately 10% smaller than I am, and if I stand in front of it, my eyes are level with the center of the headdress.
Nevertheless, that helps A LOT in determining crystal placement, types and colors; and to correct a few things from my initial research.

See those “floating rhinestone crystals”? Right. They’re floating without seeming to be attached to the headdress. They’re definitely NOT in the promo photos.
They added floating CGI CRYSTALS to that headdress! *dies*

And that is where my reproduction MUST differ from the headdress as seen in the movie, because seriously, no one can make crystals float around a headdress with any available current technology. I’ll stick to the promo images version of the headdress.

Headdress in progress.

Headdress in progress.

The basic shapes of the original headdress are based on the “Obelisk” earrings by Finchittida Finch; as well as some other jewelry by that company.
Comparing their jewelry line with the images I had, I came up with the following shapes which are repeated throughout the headdress – compare the shapes to what you see in the headdress; and you will pretty much instantly recognize all three of them. The blue markings show the positions of the Swarovski 6525 “Wave” pendants in 28mm size, which were also used on the headdress as well as on the gown.

The standee as well as newer reference photos, such as the one above, revealed that the shapes are, in fact, cut from silver mirrored acrylic. So casting them with resin, as I had previously planned, is out of the question. So is using the mica pigment.
I have to order another batch of silver mirrored laser-cut acrylic to make the headdress. Pretty painful as that is rather expensive *sigh* Also, many of the shapes are doubled – I need to glue them back to back, so both sides of the shapes are mirrored.

Re: The Red Shapes scattered all over the gown. And then, with the help of some friends, it dawned me:
Those shapes are 3D printed shapes. Remember the 3D printed headdress above with the shapes inspired by Finchittida Finch? Yeah, those.
Just that for the gown, no Finchittida Finch jewelry was printed – they printed the HOLES which are present in the jewelry as solid objects!
Then again it could be possible that those tiny shapes are cut from acrylic glass, of course.

Back view of the finished gown.

Back view of the finished gown.

What worked:
Flexible PVC as used for flexible flap doors, 3mm thickness.
You have to look around a bit, but that stuff IS available in opaque red.
Only downside is that you have to use a special kind of glue for soft PVC to a) fix the shapes to the organza and b) fix the rhinestones on the shapes. Not all flexible PVC glues will work for BOTH tasks. I used “Pattex Kraftkleber Transparent” to glue the shapes to the organza, and “Uhu Weich-PVC” to fix the rhinestones to the shapes – these are both German-brand glues.
Why two glues? Because the first is cheaper but does NOT work for glueing rhinestones to the shapes (and I needed a lot of it!); and I needed less of the second glue.

(She ordered all of the Preciosa crystals for the gown, of which there were multiple sizes that needed to be ordered from all over the world. Swarovski was too expensive)

The ribbons which were used to create those decorations on the gown are approximately 1/2 inch wide (proportional to my own body height, that is). At least for the hip part, I think the decoration has maybe been stiffened with some kind of resin.
The original dimensional decorations were created by Katherine Wardropper with her Sculptural Fabric Technique and, in some parts, apparently also by Angel Armor – you can see them on their blog right here.  It seems they were created using red grosgrain fabric with what seems to be a black lace overlay.

Ribbon recreations.

Ribbon recreations.

I created a template derived from photos of the original dress, then used that to create reproductions of Katherine Wardropper’s work for my gown. As she – as the term “Sculptural Fabric Technique” indicate – uses fabric to create, but I used ribbons, I rather call my reproductions “3D ribbon formation”.

All together, I used 108 meters (or 120 yards!) of EACH the grosgrain- and organza ribbons. Which results in a total of 216 meters (or 240 yards…) of ribbon I used to make the decorations.
And yes, that took long, and it was insanely boring. I highly doubt that I would ever want to do it again. Seriously, human lifetime is SO short.

I constructed a tiny thin “shelf” from fiberglass and epoxy resin, attached that to the hip with velcro, and on top of that, I put the dimensional decoration (also with velcro). The Swarovski “Wave” pendants which are dangling from it are attached to the fiberglass shelf. The fiberglass is necessary because without it, the dimensional decoration would bend down within a short time. With the “shelf”, it doesn’t do that.

View of "fiberglass shelf."

View of “fiberglass shelf.”

Fiberglass shelf and decoration are completely detachable from the gown as well as from each other. This makes transportation of the gown MUCH easier.

The sewing pattern for this gown was an interesting challenge. I think I only managed because I am not just good at sewing, but also at creating patterns, 3D modeling and texturing. I have been doing ALL of this for up to over 35 years – some things longer, others less long. But I know what I’m doing, so to speak, so while it was still challenging, it wasn’t a stressful challenge.

I thought of quite a few possibilities, but all of them involved creating a dress with visible seams – which the original gown does NOT have. The seams, which HAVE to be somewhere, are cleverly hidden beneath the flowers and rhinestones.

A computer drawing of the design placement on the pattern pieces of the garment.

A computer drawing of the design placement on the pattern pieces of the garment.

Then again of course we could say that obsessing over details is the problem (the hem was asymmetrical, and I originally made it symmetrical and had to redo it).
But see, it’s like this. I love this gown. I seriously fell in love with it the moment I saw it; and I instantly knew that nothing but “perfect” would do for a reproduction.

(She used multiple computer programs to determine the exact patterning and placement of the jewels.)

The considerably low amount of rhinestones is easy to explain – the “red shapes” motifs along the edge of the extended “fan” do not have any rhinestones in them – in my pattern, that is; in reality there ARE rhinestones; and I will add them to the actual gown as I create it – in the end, I used somewhere between 25,000 – 30,000 rhinestones on the entire gown and headdress.
Also, of course, the pattern does not take any rhinestones on the flowers into consideration.

The underdress.

The underdress.

The underdress with the built-in hoopskirt, by the way, is not supposed to be a separate dress. It serves as a lining for the gown, and is joined to it at neckline and armholes.

(She used fake silk flowers rather than creating them by hand, as was done with the originals, to save money.)

…eventually, I went totally nuts to become Queen of the Universe.

The UV tattoo that completed the costume.

The UV tattoo that completed the costume.

I had a pocket stamp (top left) lasered (center left) with the original “Queen of the Universe” glowing tattoo design (center), and, with the aid of a UV pocket lamp (bottom left) I now AM the rightful heir to Seraphi Abrasax and Queen of the Universe from Jupiter Ascending (right).
“The things you do for a perfect costume!”, lol.

Side view of the finished gown.

Side view of the finished gown.

Thanks to a good friend on Facebook for giving me that idea to enhance my performance by innocently posting a picture of an UV tattoo last week!”

You can see more photos and a more detailed write-up of this costume at Bina’s blog.

Judges’ comments:

“It’s hard to even comment on this, since it’s so unspeakably amazing. Every detail is stunning. I particularly like the ribbon work pieces because I really love it when costumers incorporate a new medium, or new skill in their work. It is exactly en pointe for the challenge of accurately recreating a screen costume – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one SO accurately done.”

“This is amazing – the amount of research is impressive and I love the innovative use of modern tech (ie, 3-D printing) to replicate it. It’s pretty amazing how the bar has been raised since the early costuming days, since there is now access to services like spoonflower and 3-D printing to recreate movie costumes. The amount of mixed media involved in this, on top of trying to get the correct shape for the dress, is truly impressive. Beautiful job!”

“The amount of research, sourcing, and creative work that went into this is mind-boggling. And the result is incredibly stunning in accuracy and execution.”

Congratulations, Bina!

The judges were so impressed by the level of work in this challenge that they awarded all runners-up with honorable mentions!  They are as follows:

Honorable Mention for Incorporation of Textile Art Techniques for “The Bakers Wife from Into the Woods”, by Laura Zenz Proctor!

" I'm super impressed by the work that went into the pieced skirt in particular. I'm really sorry she had water damage on her costumes! Like the MA costume, the bodice is missing some of the fine details, which is only meant as a nit-pick because there are so many amazing entries. I think the overall costume really captures the effect of the movie costume."

“I’m super impressed by the work that went into the pieced skirt in particular. I’m really sorry she had water damage on her costumes! I think the overall costume really captures the effect of the movie costume.”

Honorable Mention for Creative Use of Materials (squared!) for “The Splendid Angharad from Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “Poe Da from Star Wars VII:  The Force Awakens,” by Caitlin Shindler!

"I really like Caitlin's attention and effort to achieve accurate replications - she put a lot of thought and work into what looks like a simple costume and that's what makes this stand out from other Angharads. Plus I think I'm going to zipperize all my hook and eye corsets from now on - what a great idea! Hate those stupid hook and eyes.... Excellent work on all aspects of this - attention to making the belly look AND feel realistic, wig, invisible shoes, distressing. Great work!"

“I really like her attention and effort to achieve accurate replications – she put a lot of thought and work into what looks like a simple costume and that’s what makes this stand out from other Angharads. Plus I think I’m going to zipperize all my hook and eye corsets from now on – what a great idea! Hate those stupid hook and eyes….
Excellent work on all aspects of this – attention to making the belly look AND feel realistic, wig, invisible shoes, distressing. Great work!”

 

"The vest is a real showstopper! I love the use of all different materials trying to get at the look of the original. And wow, that is a super patient way to make pleated strips! (Someone needs to get C a "Perfect Pleater" for Christmas! They are the BEST THINGS EVER). I love all the mods done on the jumpsuit to increase the screen accuracy as well - lots of work, and really effective."

“The vest is a real showstopper! I love the use of all different materials trying to get at the look of the original. And wow, that is a super patient way to make pleated strips! (Someone needs to get her a “Perfect Pleater” for Christmas! They are the BEST THINGS EVER). I love all the mods done on the jumpsuit to increase the screen accuracy as well – lots of work, and really effective.”

Honorable Mention for Historical Fit and Styling to “Marie Antoinette, from Marie Antoinette”, by Lynne Taylor!

"OOOH such beautiful cuffs! I love hearing about a lucky fabric find getting used for just the right costume. This is excellently constructed, excellently fit, and a beautiful job on the wig styling."

“OOOH such beautiful cuffs! I love hearing about a lucky fabric find getting used for just the right costume. This is excellently constructed, excellently fit, and a beautiful job on the wig styling.”

Honorable Mention for Incorporation of Machine Embroidery for “Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones”, by Nancy Tozier Sieling!

"This costume is quite a nice Cersei look! I particularly like the free-motion embroidery pieces, the birds and the leaves, because they have a nice organic feel. The belt piece is a nicely done representation of the original too and really adds to the costume."

“This costume is quite a nice Cersei look! I particularly like the free-motion embroidery pieces, the birds and the leaves, because they have a nice organic feel. The belt piece is a nicely done representation of the original too and really adds to the costume.”

Honorable Mention for Incorporation of Historical Pleating Techniques to “Claire and Jamie Fraser from Outlander”, by Maggie Schultz!

" I wish there were more pictures of the costumes she made showing more details, plus in progress shots. What I can see looks well made and it sounds like she put quite a bit of effort into the sourcing and construction. Plus kudos for attempting a new thing on the cartridge pleats. Good job overall!"

” I wish there were more pictures of the costumes she made showing more details, plus in progress shots. What I can see looks well made and it sounds like she put quite a bit of effort into the sourcing and construction. Plus kudos for attempting a new thing on the cartridge pleats. Good job overall!”

Honorable Mention for Creative Engineering for “Ackmena from The Star Wars Christmas Special”, by Amanda Fineran!

"I agree, great costume choice! Nice to see the younger generation getting on board haha! I like that she made it all herself including going to the trouble of dying the fabric. I love that she had so much fun wearing this! You can see it in her smile. I also like her creativity in figuring out how to have it be off-shoulder without it actually being off-shoulder. Good ingenuity!"

“Great costume choice! Nice to see the younger generation getting on board haha! I like that she made it all herself, including going to the trouble of dying the fabric. I love that she had so much fun wearing this! You can see it in her smile. I also like her creativity in figuring out how to have it be off-shoulder without it actually being off-shoulder. Good ingenuity!”

Honorable Mention for Creative Ingenuity for “Madam Pince from Harry Potter, as channeled through The Magic of Moonacre”, by Sarah Faltesek!

"This was a really clever idea - I like the idea of adapting the Moonacre shape, which is so fantastical, for the fantastical Harry Potter world."

“This was a really clever idea – I like the idea of adapting the Moonacre shape, which is so fantastical, for the fantastical Harry Potter world.”

Congratulations to all of our honorable mention winners!

Thank you to everyone for making Challenge #8 such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for Challenge #9!