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!

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