SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #12: “THE DECADES” CHALLENGE WINNERS

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Challenge #12 was fantatic!  Our judge, Margo Anderson was very impressed by the level of skill and attention to detail.  A big thank you to our wonderful judge!

And here are the winners:

Third Place:  ”Regency Day Dress” by Mara Perry!

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Mara says:  “I have never worn Regency before. However I had joined the Washington Regency Society this past year. It was time to jump in with both feet.

 I made this outfit for a Regency picnic in August 2016. I started out with the Laughing Moon chemise and built up layer by layer. I decided to purchase a custom stays pattern from Red Threaded on Etsy. I did not want the hassle of all the fitting. It was very worth it. The Period Impressions petticoat pattern was easy to use and made up quickly. Neckerchief is From the Past Patterns front closing gown pattern. It is very plain but tucks in nicely due to pleats at the back edge of the kerchief. The Laughing moon dress #126 was very fun to make. I chose this pattern because it is highly recommended. Alterations were very minimal and I will make it again for sure. My straw bonnet blank was purchased from Regencyaustentation on Etsy. I decorated it with ribbon and feathers.

The event was a lot of fun and I am very pleased with the birth of my regency wardrobe. 

regency2

 

Judges’ comments:

“Her excellent choice of materials and very good fit led to a simple elegance.  Sometimes less is more.”

Congratulations, Mara!

 

Second Place:  ”1893 Extant Gown Recreation” by Beth Klimak!

so-much-skirt

Beth says:  “The corset and combinations are few years years old, but made by me.  Everything else was finished this past August and September.  My outfit is my recreated version of an extant 1893 outfit in the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev:
recreation1
The parts of the outfit I completed in August and September consist of a petticoat with LOTS of netting for its structure, a blouse of embroidered net, a jacket and skirt of pink moire taffeta, a waist sash and removable collar of burgundy moire taffeta, a gold-tone necklace with a magnifying pendant, and a hinged purse of green silk. ”
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Judges’ comments:

“I was impressed on this one by the superbly fitted corset, and the attention to duplicating an original garment.  Positively Parisian!”

Congratulations, Beth!

First Place:  ”1876 Afternoon Dress”  by Sara Orn Tengstrand!

1876_back

Sara says:  “It is typical for the transition between early bustle and natural form: the skirt still has some volume in the back, but the front is slim. I made all pieces of clothing: bodice, skirt and overskirt, and under it a petticoat and a bustle, and corset and chemise (the corset and chemise is from previous projects). The hat is a straw boater I cut into pieces, re-blocked and sewed together again (adding lots of flowers). Shoes are bought and the parasol is a gift.

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The bodice is based on a Truly Victorian pattern, but adapted to go without a bustle, and changed to a “V” neckline. The skirt and petticoat used the same pattern – Skirt with train from Francis Grimbles’ Fashion of the Gilded Age. The bustle is constructed by me. The overskirt is also draped by me, and made of four different pieces – the apron front, and three smaller pieces for the back. It took some thought (and lots of trial and error) to translate everything that goes on in the back over-skirt in my inspiration pictures to an actual overskirt.

This gown was a challenge to me, not in construction but in the trim. When I sew historical, I tend to prefer a bit stricter and less decorated ones, not the very frilly or feminine. For this one, I challenged myself to not be afraid of decoration like tassels and bows, as they seemed to be typical for this period. For decoration I made strips of different width of a brocade fabric and hand sewed them on as trim. I then made more than a hundred little tassels, and crocheted a lattice work trim and attached the tassels to it. Trim that looked like this was common, but I don’t know if it would have been crocheted, knotted, or something else. This trim is attached at the bottom of the front apron and the back draperies. I also made some bows and attached them here and there. At the neck and cuffs I pleated fine white cotton and attached it.

1876_tassel_trim

How historically accurate is this gown? Well, fabric should have been silk for a dress like this, not wool and synthetic as I used for economic reasons. Also, for bodices closing at front like this one, buttons seems to have been used on the majority of garments at this time, not hooks and eyes like I used. The color combination is also not typical, but it existed. Here, I went colors I liked and fabric I could find at reasonable price (fabric is quite expensive here in Sweden). Except for these things, I strived for the look to be as accurate as I could without copying an specific garment or picture – the elements of trim (including the diagonal “sash” at the bodice) are taken from different fashion plates and combined.

I did a lot of research about what types of skirt supports and petticoats that could have been worn under a trained 1876 skirt like this. It was a bit tricky, as this is a transitional period between the very full skirts of early bustle era and the narrow natural form that came a few years later, and books tend to focus on the “typical” looks, not the periods in between. What I needed to achieve was to get only little added volume at hips, but there are quite a lot of volume in the skirt that needs support at knee height, and a train that needs some volume and protection from dirt. From reading other people’s work and looking at period information (mostly advertisements for different types of skirt supports) I got the conclusion that just one petticoat would not be enough, but that several probably could work. That meant that the choice was either to make at least two petticoats, both with lots of ruffles, or making a structured support and get away with a plainer petticoat, with only enough volume to hide the boning of the structured support. From what I could see from the advertisements, both options could be plausible. Comfort spoke for the second alternative. I find padding with petticoats to be a lot heavier and warmer than using a small crinoline or a bustle to get the same volume.

I lost time of how long time this costume took, but maybe 5 h for petticoat and 4 h for bustle. Plus lots of hours to research the skirt supports. The skirts and bodice also took some time due to all the trim – I would guess 50+ h. Just making all the tassels for the trim, and crocheting the trim, was 10+ hours.

1876_side_front

All in all, I am very happy with how this gown turned out. Except for the photo session, I have worn it for my parents 60’th birthday celebration, and I look forward to the next event that is quiet enough to use a trained gown!

 Judges’ comments:

“The overall effect fit the rules perfectly – she looked like she stepped out of a time machine.  I particularly liked the color choice and variety and application of the handmade trims.  My favorite view of this was the back – it is a GREAT walk-away dress.”

Congratulations, Sara!

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

Honorable Mention for 1959 Suit for “Best Underwear”, by Bethany Padron!

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“I was impressed that she made the undergarments herself and for having the bravery to model in them!”

Honorable Mention for 1530’s German Landschnekt for “Best Handstitching,” by Bethany Padron!

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“Very even and clean hand-stitching!”

Honorable Mention for 1885 Victorian Steampunk to “Tailoring and Draping”, by Katherine Torre!

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“I really liked the unexpected trims and outstanding fit.”

Honorable Mention for 1870’s Victorian Steampunk for “Excellent Balance of Handpleated Trims and Well-Chosen Purchased Accessories”, by Kim Byrnes!  

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“All around a very flattering ensemble!”
Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #12!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #13!
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