Getting into character.

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #6: “TWISTED HISTORICALS” – THE CHALLENGE WINNERS!

Shear-Madness logo

We had some really great entries for Challenge #6!  Our judges were impressed with the creativity that went into twisting a historical silhouette.  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Rae Bradbury-Enslin, Cathy Hay and Katherine Caron-Greig!

And here are the winners:

Honorable Mention for “The Perfect Look”:  ”1950’s Green Bay Packers” by Erin Schneider!

Are you ready for some football?

Are you ready for some football?

Erin says:  “I love combining familiar silhouettes with Green Bay Packer fabric. It makes the Backer in me happy. GO PACK GO!”

Judges’ comments:

” This works extremely well!”

The attitude of this dress is perfect! You’ve really got the 1950’s lines down too.

“There is something so very wrong about this, in the best possible way.”

Congrats Erin!

Honorable Mention for “Most Humorous”:  “Victorian Cthulu” by Leah Lloyd!

Best bustle ever!

Best bustle ever!

Leah says:  “The Cthulhu Victorian is a constant work in progress. It is always being added to, tentacles here, trim there, cyberdreads. Cthulhu has green and pink paillettes on the hat, and poufs of feather trim. Small gold bat wings are trimmed with sheer green organza and pink polka dots, to recreate the style of Victorian millinery that used bird wings. The Tentacles on the bustle bounce when I shake it to “I Like Big Butts”.“

Judges’ comments:

“What a fun concept! I bet you get a lot of smiles and compliments!”

“This dress is too much fun! I love that you’re always looking for ways to expand and improve it.”

I love these!! The silhouettes work for me and the detailing is spot on.”

Congrats Leah!

Honorable Mention for “Brilliant Use of Color”:  “Bustles and Blunderbusses!” by Liz Kearns

You feel lucky, punk?

You feel lucky, punk?

Liz says:  “Making twisted historical fashions is kind of everyday for me, but in reverse. Usually I’m taking something modern, tweaking it, toning it down, and redesigning it to look historical. I have been Steampunking and historical costuming that way for years.

I’d helped friends mod Nerf guns for Steampunk pirate costumes by painting over the bright yellow and orange plastic and dyed old prom skirts to give them a more demure hue. Then, I discovered Nerfpunk. It was bright. It was garish. It didn’t take itself seriously at all. I knew I needed to make myself an outfit!”

Judges’ comments:

“Wow! What an original concept! I love the riot of colour, and how it really does match the gun! And just for once, the choice of polyester is *perfect*…”

“This ties together wonderfully in unexpected ways. Who would think polka dots, zig zags, bold colors and a Nerf gun would be such a great combination?”

“This should make my eyes bleed, but it doesn’t–everything just works. It’s a genuinely inspired use of the fabrics.”

Congrats Liz!

Third Place:  ”Regency Fifth Doctor” by Glynnis Vance!

With her celery a healthy green!

With her celery a healthy green!

Glynnis says:  “The Fifth Doctor played by Peter Davison on Doctor Who was my first Doctor, and as such has a special place in my heart. I have made other historical versions of his costume before, but when I ran across the attached Regency Fashion Plate, I knew I had to make a Regency version of his outfit!

I had been planning on making this outfit for about a year and half, now. There are two versions of the Doctor’s outfit – Seasons 19/20 and Season 21. Since Season 19 is the version I always picture him in, I went that route, looking for a three stripe cricket vest, and multi-colored striped pants option. The biggest challenge was finding the fabric for the skirt, which would be the equivalent to the Doctor’s pants. I finally found a stripe very closely mimicking the Doctor’s pants- a Waverly print from JoAnn Fabrics, surprisingly.

The Doctor and her Tardis.

The Doctor and her Tardis.

The bodice is made of white linen, with applied trim to look like the Season 19 Cricket vest. I relied heavily on the draping instructions for the drop front style Regency dress found on the Hungarican Chick’s blog: http://hungarican.blogspot.com/2011/08/gatheredruched-crossover-regency-gown.html. I had never made this style dress before, and the instructions for draping were very clear.

The spencer was made from a Regency bodice I’d draped for myself previously. I decided that I wanted the traditional diamond back, rather than what looks to be a rather regular back in the fashion plate; I modified the back so that it had a more elongated diamond panel. Then trimmed the jacket with red-orange bias tape.

I made the hat from Lynn McMaster’s Polish Casquette pattern from her Napoleonic Era Hat patterns bundle. It is made out of white same as the Doctor’s panama hat and the hat band is hand painted to resemble his. I originally purchased a Spoonflower printed fabric for the hat band, but was unhappy with the results. After trying several techniques to create the pattern (printing, using a stencil) I finally decided to freehand paint the pattern, and I’m quite happy with it. Last, I embroidered question marks on my Regency tucker, to replicate those on his button down shirt. The outfit is worn with white pointed flats and red stockings. To complete the entire look, I bought a magnet with an image of celery on it, attached a ruffle border and pin and attached it to the lapel of my jacket. Doctor Five isn’t the Fifth Doctor without his celery!

The entire outfit (dress, tucker, hat and jacket) was constructed January – February 2015.”

Judges’ comments:

“That’s awesome! I love the attention to all the little details. And with a documentable fashion plate too!”

“I love how you took each element of the original and translated it into Regency style. And such attention to detail! The band is particularly impressive. And how fun that a fashion plate inspired it all!”

“This is an excellent twist on both of the original sources. I’m a fan of the fifth Doctor, and all the small details that are included really tickle me.”

Congrats Glynnis!

Second Place:  ”Victorian Steampunk Maleficent” by Aleta Pardalis!

Making evil look good.

Making evil look good.

Aleta says:  “Here are photos of my Steampunk Maleficent costume which I debuted at Katsucon in February. The costume is based on an 1870’s polonaise and fantail skirt. There is metallic black braid trim and decorative brass rose gear button embellishments.

Check out that fantail!

Check out that fantail!

I constructed the petticoat under the skirt. I also constructed the hat and wired the fiber optics in the horns. The raven is a modified robotic parrot whose beak was reconstructed and then painted an iridescent black. The raven’s eyes light up, he speaks, and flaps his wings.”

Close up!

Close up!

Judges’ comments:

“Sleeeeves! Beautifully made, brava!”

“The fit on this is wonderful! The attention to detail in the accessories–they light up!–is inspiring.”

“This is stunning all the way around. Imaginative color combination, tons of yummy details, and just a lovely reworking of a classic villain. I’ve also reworked several of those parrots and I’m particularly impressed that she reshaped the beak. I’ll have to find out how she did it.”

Congrats Aleta!

First Place:  ”Victorian/Steampunk Thetis, Queen of the Nereids!”  by Lisa Hansen!

The Queen of the Nereids!

The Queen of the Nereids!

Lisa says: “Thetis, Queen of the Nereids, mother of Achilles, as Victorian/Steampunk.
Source images are challenging since this is a mythological diety, and most of them are pretty much naked. One is included for an example.  I had an urge to try out some of the new things I learned at Costume College, so I made a Nereid costume. This meant a corset, a ‘wave’ skirt, a lacy shift, fish scale arm covers, and a crab crown.

Back side view.

Back side view.

First, the shift. I decided to use the last of some very fine cotton lawn and make a simple ‘peasant blouse’ type of shift with long lace at the end of the sleeves. It would be fun to have the lace around the neck too, but would make gathering the neckline nearly impossible without treading into clown territory. (no offense to clowns) The lace was from last year’s LA fashion and fabric district field trip. I bought it because it was cheap. I still have lots and lots. I expect I will find myself wearing this shift and watching costume dramas in bed simply because it is fluffy and frilly. And yes, those are hand stitched eyelets.

Upper arm armor is cadged together based on a post Alisa Kester put on the Shear Madness Facebook page. One day I will learn to keep notes when knitting the first of two matching objects. That day I will become an adult…..   The scale is to go under shoulder armor. The armor is made of painted craft foam and a chopped up juice bottle. Decorated with wire, moss, shells and scrapbooking brads.

Armor and shoulder pieces.

Hat, armor and shoulder pieces.

I have straps that are supposed to buckle in front and keep the armor on my shoulder. Sadly my shoulders really ARE too small. I will need to move the d-rings on the corset to keep the shoulders up. This will be done later, about the same time I finally make the holes in the straps to allow them to buckle. I can’t do that until its all fixed. Despite a few problems, I still really like how it came out.

My corset is made based on the Truly Victorian 1880’s corset pattern. I really wanted to do some beading after learning the basics in a Costume College class. The plan was to make creatures found on rocky shores as decoration. Except crabs. Because I had plans to add crabs elsewhere. I used up some duck canvas remnants from JoAnns. My store always has canvas remnants that are at least 3/4 yard. I used two layers of canvas for the main structure with no lining (laziness) and a pleather remnant for the two front and back panels. This is my first Victorian corset and I was shockingly lazy about good fit. I wanted to make a good quality Victorian corset some day and I figured it was about time to give it a try and get my mistakes behind me. First mistake – the corset shrinks as you add boning channels and boning. Modesty panel will be needed. All in, I thought it was pretty straight forward. I have been really looking forward to having a corset made to fit ME. Short waist, small back, big boobs.

Getting into character.

Getting into character.

I beaded onto brown broadcloth and then stitched that onto the corset. I also decided to make something fishy for my hands. The pieces are made of beads and sequins on muslin with net covered elastic to hold it on.

I had a great idea in my head for the skirt. Organdy waves. I could try a fishing line hem, use up some fabric that was a non-starter for it’s original purpose. Here is my ‘curl the fishing line’ anti-tutorial. When the internet says you can wrap the line around toilet paper rolls and nuke it… no. Just no. Do yourself a favor, wrap it around PVC pipe and dip it in boiling water. In the microwave, you have about one second between ‘hot enough to curl the plastic’ and melty disaster. Also, 1/2 inch pipe makes the curls tighter which is good. When you zig zag it to fabric that curl stretches out a lot.

Close-up of the armor.

Close-up of the armor.

Polyester organza is the devil itself. It is stiff and stubborn and frays if you even look at it. I’m still finding long strands of it stuck to my clothes. It does look amazingly shiny and ripple-y in flash photos. All the front pleats had to be hand tacked because they are on the bias and no amount of pressing (including vinegar and rajah cloth) would make those pleats stay put. The side pleating was just slightly more cooperative. I haven’t decided about the back. It’s love/hate.  I also added some ‘netting’ made of gold cotton crochet thread. It’s macrame. I haven’t done THAT since the 70’s.

Lisa's stunning work.

Lisa’s stunning work.

Hat – Crab molts, melted plastic, sculpey and some seaweed. This hat has been stewing in my brain for quite a while. I’ve got the armature with sculpey bones done and baked. The crab is an actual crab molt (shed) with spray foam inside for support. I also sprayed some foam in molted claws. And I made seaweed out of plastic.

Melting didn’t work like I expected despite being enormously fun. I used strips of medium weight plastic and stretched it at the edges. Then I used glass paint to make a little detail and spray painted over it. I also used glass paint on some bright green plastic (shopping bag). The detail shows thru on the clear side. The next step required a friend to help me pin it all together. After that, I just tacked and glued until it all stayed together.”

Judges’ comments:

“I love this, particularly how you’ve layered very diverse elements to create a character, not just an outfit.”

“The different elements combine so well! The armor like sleeves with the floaty skirt contrast nicely and work to create your character.”

“This is really spectacular. I love the small details in every nook and cranny. There’s something interesting and on-theme no matter where you look.”

Congrats Lisa!

Judges’ Choice for “Technical Merit and Overall Look”:  “1886 Swedish Uniform Crossplay” by Sara Örn Tengstrand!

Sara's beautiful tailoring.

Sara’s beautiful tailoring.

Sara says:  “My entry for the Twisted Historicals challenge is to reinterpret a Swedish infantry uniform from 1886 as a a female uniform, following the latest women’s fashion the same year.
I have long been wanting a Swedish uniform called uniform m/ä (that means “model old”). This is because I made military service in 2006 in the Central Band of the Royal Swedish Army, and our parade uniform was the m/ä. I felt very good looking in mine. Picture Inspiration1 shows is me (to the right) and some of the drum section, in the uniform m/ä. Last summer, I realized that the m/ä uniform is from 1886, which is my favourite year, fashion-wise. I also stumbled on this really nice work of making a star trek uniform bustle dress:
http://truhe-der-genovefa.blogspot.se/2013/05/mein-gott-sind-wir-nerds.html
I then decided to make a female version of the m/ä. What could it have looked like in an alternative world, where they had a women’s version of the uniform, following fashion? As the fashion was quite strict in 1886 and military inspiration was popular in women’s fashion, it seemed a good match.

Side view.

Right side view.

I tried to stay close to the details of the original uniform, while changing it to a women’s fashionable dress in shape. The overskirt is fashionable for 1886 but is echoing details from the uniform, with the “tabs” being like the epaulettes, and the red pleated part is inspired by the stripe on the pants.

I had some problems when I made the jacket. I wanted it to be a bit more relaxed in the fitting than my previoius 1880’s bodice, so I could wear it without a corset. I tried to achieve that by using my 1880’s bodice pattern, but letting out the side seams. Not until the bodice was finished, complete with piping of the front seam and button holes center front, did I realize that it does not work that way. It was too big over the bust, the collar was too wide, and somehow it was too long from collar to waist, so it sort of buckled. Afterwards, it feels quite obvious that making a tight fitting garment in a larger size is not a good idea! Also, i have learned that wearing a bustle without a corset to even out the weight on the waist is not a good idea. I have since tried to fix it as much as possible, but the button holes are where they are, so the center front can not be changed. Instead, I used the method of padding myself a bit at the chest area to better fit in the bodice. For that, I borrowed my 1905 corset cover with ruffles, since it was designed to add a bit to just that part.

Back view.

Back view.

With the uniform, I wear a hat, white gloves, men’s shoes, and a medallion. The gloves are the one my husband wore with the uniform when he was in the same band, so those are the truly authentic piece of the costume 🙂 The hat is a cap I bought, and modified to look like the cap worn with the uniform. Picture costume5 shows what it looked like from start, and after modification. I inserted buckram and millinery wire in it, and sewed on band and button.”

Left side view.

Left side view.

Judges’ comments:

“A great, valuable learning experience, and a great costume too! Thank you for sharing the journey!”

“Wonderful translation from military to feminine, without losing the military feel!”

“This really succeeds on all levels. The shape is gorgeous.”

Congrats Sara!

And a round-up of the other wonderful entries!

“Victorian Bustle Tardis” Kathryn Hodorowski!

" I'm with Captain Jack: that IS the best TARDIS dress evah. You are a nutcase. I love it. Full marks for design and ever-expanding ambition!"

” I’m with Captain Jack: that IS the best TARDIS dress evah. You are a nutcase. I love it. Full marks for design and ever-expanding ambition!”

“Kabuki Robin” by Leah Lloyd!

"This is wonderfully original. I love to see this kind of twist on a subject, and I agree with Cathy that this is a style of costuming that you don't see done nearly enough in Cosplay."

“This is wonderfully original. I love to see this kind of twist on a subject, and I agree that this is a style of costuming that you don’t see done nearly enough in Cosplay.”

“Late 1600’s to Early 1700’s Pirate” by Rose Jones!

"Excellent steampunk twist! Great creativity!"

“Excellent steampunk twist! Great creativity!”

“Renaissance Carnivale Gown” by Paige Cavanagh Mattern!

"Double duty, how smart! You have a lovely Renaissance look, and it's amazing how such simple changes make it a new dress entirely!"

“Double duty, how smart! You have a lovely Renaissance look, and it’s amazing how such simple changes make it a new dress entirely!”

“1950’s Firefly Kaylee” by Amanda Fineran!

"Simply adorable, as a Kaylee costume should be! I love how you've captured both her spirit and that of the 50s."

“Simply adorable, as a Kaylee costume should be! I love how you’ve captured both her spirit and that of the 50s.”

“1915 Outlander Crossplay” by Lisa Hansen!

"I love it! Kilts are *hard*, and not only have you done a great job on that, but the whole outfit looks great and has bags of attitude. It's one of those concepts that doesn't sound like it'll work, but it so does. Brava!"

“I love it! Kilts are *hard*, and not only have you done a great job on that, but the whole outfit looks great and has bags of attitude. It’s one of those concepts that doesn’t sound like it’ll work, but it so does. Brava!”

Thank you to everyone for making Challenge #6 such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for Challenge #7!

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