SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #14: “UNDER IT ALL” CHALLENGE WINNERS

Shear-Madness logo

Challenge #14 “UNDER IT ALL” was about the foundation garments whose greatness is usually hidden under other layers: corsets, chemises, petticoats, bloomers, and more!

Under it all challenge 2

The entries for this challenge were all fabulous, displaying creativity, research, and clever problem-solving!

Without further ado, here are the winners of Challenge #14:

Third Place: “Edwardian Horizontal Seamed Corset” by Sara Huebschen

16406425_10154526867329118_7990150632417670709_n

Sara says:

“I made this corset from a historical patent that I scaled up to create the pattern. The really neat thing about it, and the part that was a fun challenge, was that it has all horizontal seams. The only vertical stitching on it is three small darts at the waist and the applied boning channels. In order to accent the seaming, I decided to pipe the seamlines in a contrast fabric. The body of the corset is a single layer of brocade coutil, and the piping is a purple taffeta.

“The boning channels are prussian tape applied on the inside of the corset, and the boning is a combination of flat steel and synthetic whalebone. I wanted to go more traditional with this piece since it was more of a historical reproduction than most of the corsets I make, so I went with the synthetic whalebone and single layer construction.”

IMGP3894

“The fit model is my wonderful friend Jackie Moore, who not only let me use her for fitting but also went out in the cold in January to take some lovely pictures. Outdoor photos are by Birdskull Photography.”

16711836_1186742611379615_2386334862666788608_n

Judges’ comments:

The purple piping really sets off the panels and looks fab in the black coutil.

It’s so fun to see that crazy pattern made up, and the color choices and use of the contrasting trim makes it look so modern and edgy. Plus, it gives a really fantastic shape too!

A really attractive piece, the colors are wonderful

Congratulations, Sara!

Second Place:  “My 18th Century Sewing Adventure” by Marika Brimacombe!

Pockets and petticoat

Marika says:

“The pieces that I am submitting for the challenge are an 18th century shaped petticoat, hand embroidered pockets, and clocked stockings and garters! The rest of the pieces in the photos are the part of my 18th century undergarments ensemble that I have been working on for the past 2 years, including my 1740’s Stays, a shift, and pocket hoops.”
pocket close up

“I started this project as a video series back in May of 2015 but after a surprise pregnancy had to put it on hold for a while.  After giving birth to my daughter I started the project up again and after 2 years I finally finished the Undergarments!!

I am still in the process of finishing my video for the stockings but it should be up on my channel soon!”
Judges’ comments:
Very cool stockings! And the pockets are perfectly executed with colorful embroidery as was so prevalent.
“I just love this collection, and covet the stockings. Nice work on the embroidery of the pockets, and I would love to know more about the garters – were they hand woven? Embroidered? Purchased? How are they fastened?
I love the thought of having something so decorative that hardly anybody will ever see.

 

Congratulations, Marika!

First Place:  “Symington Corset” by Michelle Fitzgerald!

new sym 3-4

Michelle says:

“I’ve been working with this antique corset pattern (Symington #31300) for a few years now, and have been playing with finding the ideal Victorian shape that still works on my modern, swaybacked, not very squishy body. After trying the pattern totally un-altered, and altered almost beyond recognition, I really like this 3rd version which has very minor alterations from the original.”

new sym front

new sym back

“I’ve taken in the back a bit to account for my swayback, and trimmed the front hip edge a bit (it was super long and poked my legs!). That’s all.”

new sym detail

“I also wanted to try out paper-cord in those corded panels at bust and side for the first time–huge difference from the 2mm window cord I had been using! The paper cord really is wonderful to shape and mould, and it holds the shape very well. It’s what was used in many of the 1880s factory-made corsets. Unfortunately it’s still too short in the ribcage for my tall body, but my mannequin models it well. :)”

new sym side

Judges’ comments:

Absolutely fantastic!! You can see the skill that went into this with the fine cording channels and top-applied strips for the boning. Even the closer grommets at the waist area is period correct. A reproduction worthy of looking like it stepped out of time.

I’m fascinated by her use of paper cord and I’d love to know more about what she used and how she inserted it. The details and shape on this corset are truly spot on, and to my eyes, it looks like it could be an actual historical garment. I’m incredibly impressed!

Congratulations, Michelle!

 

The judges also decided to award the following entries Honorable Mentions

Honorable Mentions for Creating a Complete Under It All Ensemble:
“Frontier Whites” by Samantha Benton and “Edwardian Underthings” by Melissa Sowers

Excerpt from Samantha’s “Frontier Whites” entry description:

“I began this ensemble in 2002, after first watching the PBS series Frontier House which is set in 1883. The scene where the bride’s trousseau is laid out just captured my imagination, and I knew, even if it was completely impractical, that was something I wanted to make, have, and maybe even wear…I imagine this set of whites as belonging to someone who hadn’t quite finished her trousseau (totally me), and years later after a few babies, needing something new in the new silhouette, decided to make use of the bridal whites she had left in her trunk, unfinished and therefore unused. It was as much fun remaking them as it was starting them years ago. Thank you for the deadline!”

Judges’ comments:

I am pleased with the entirety of this project, all of the elements included...I appreciate all of the information given [in the entry’s full description], it really adds to the understanding of the size and complexity of the collection.

Ingenious use of piecing to get the petticoat to the correct shape. Nice, functional shaping of the corset as well. Beautiful, if simple, ensemble.

Excerpt from Melissa’s “Edwardian Underthings” entry description:

“I made these Edwardian Underthings for Costume Con 34, held in May of 2016. These include a chemise, bust padding, bum padding, corset, combination, and petticoat. The combination included the corset cover and split bloomers. The chemise, combination, and petticoat where constructed from lightweight cotton. The corset is heavy cotton canvas with cotton outer layer. And the padding was constructed from a cotton blend with poly filling. The chemise, combination, corset, bust padding, and petticoat where decorated similarly to historical garments I found in my research. I was a little concerned that I was not going to be able to achieve the desired Edwardian shape without some extreme corseting, but found that with the padding it did not need to be as tightly laced as I thought.”

Judges’ comments:

Corset is lovely with good starter-shaping before adding the separate padding. Fun fabric for the hip and bust pads! This is a great initial look for the Edwardian S-bend silhouette.”

Honorable Mention for Creative Trimming!
“Steampunk Slytherin Corset and Petticoat” by Nancy Tozier Sieling

Excerpt from Nancy’s entry description:

“I started with the corset from Simplicity’s Tardis pattern, shortening and modifying it to meet my needs…It is embellished with lace and metal, including a serpentine zipper pull. I used black fringed lace for the upper and lower trim. I was able to machine sew the upper and lower edges of the trim, but all the long fringe pieces had to be sewn in place by hand. The trim on the center front and the straps is the same lace with the fringe removed. The corset shoulder straps hold hardware that is both decorative and practical, as it allows for the costume cape to be worn back on the shoulders as an alternative to wearing it closed at the neck. It also sports a metal swivel hook hanging just below the right hip of the corset to attach a bag to.

Judges’ comments:

I love the creative touches that convey the Slytherin theme, and it’s fun to see undergarments that work so well as outerwear. It really makes quite an adorable dress, and I like that it doesn’t come across as ‘sexy’ even though it’s a corset. And the use of that fringed lace around the edges was brilliant!

Honorable Mention for Unique Engineering!
“Steampunk Crinoline” by Sara Örn Tengstrand

Excerpt from Sara’s entry description:

“My entry for challenge #14 is a steampunk crinoline. It is based on an 1850s/1860s cage crinoline, and is meant to be partly seen under the skirt of the dress it will be worn with. My idea was to have a marked contrast between the green and “living” feeling of the dress, and a crinoline with a distinctly mechanical, metallic and man-made feeling. It is decorated at the part where the skirt will be raised to show the crinoline…The construction of the crinoline took some considering. Drafting it was quite easy, as I based the measurements on my 1860s hoop, but made it shorter and slightly wider at the top, to get a more pronounced skirt shape. Figuring out how to make it hold together was harder. Most crinolines I see made today either have the steel hoops coated in fabric and then sewn to the vertical bands, or is made of fabric with the steel hoops sewn in. I wanted the steel hoops to be seen, so covering them in fabric was not an option. I was not able to find a description of how to make it like I wanted, so I had to make something up myself.”

Judges’ comments:

Resourceful and innovative on her construction of various metal bits and steel wire. The metallic faux leather adds to the depth of the Steampunk garment while also being functional.

Good thought processes and solutions to the unique challenges presented by a ‘metal-only’ crinoline.

A big thanks to our panel of Challenge #14 Judges as well!

Jennifer Rosbrugh

10918995_847773828614026_3078573419925028431_n

Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004 both online and in workshops and conferences, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles spanning 1780 to 1920. She is a dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Find her at her blog, HistoricalSewing.com and enroll in her classes at OldPetticoatShop.com

Jennifer Thompson

auto4

Jennifer is an artist and seamstress who is obsessed with fashion history. She tends to focus on the Renaissance through the mid-20th century styles, but sometimes dabbles in fantasy costuming and modern sewing as well. You can see many of her fabulous costumes on her blog, Festive Attyre!

Leah Lloyd

18268669_793699707460563_7412956215959771960_n

Leah Lloyd has been making costumes since the ripe young age of 4, when she wrapped a bunch of scarves around herself and shuffled out to the living room where her mother was watching the classic Mummy. It’s been downhill since then, including receiving a degree in Costume Design, and a Clothing/Headwear Laurel in the SCA. And someday she will cull the fabric hoard in the attic. Really.

Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #14!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #15!

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #13: “BIG TOP” CHALLENGE WINNERS

Shear-Madness logo

Challenge #13 ” THE BIG TOP” was all about fun, excitement, the bold and the daring!

Come one, come all and behold the magic and wonder of our winners’ Challenge #13 “Big Top” creations!

Third Place: “Tiger Tamer” by Cynthia of Country Dove

Cynthia says:

I’m happy to be able to share this with someone. It was a TON of work in the making (took over a year to figure part of it out) and I was very happy with it.”

The pictures are my daughter Brianna, who models, and these were taken at a photo shoot. One of the pictures is professional (dark blue background one – from Menka Belgal) and the rest were my pictures from the photoshoot.

Judges’ comments:

I love the concept. I love the pocket hoops as cages. The colors are lovely.”

Very cute and would be extremely fun to wear. The colors are bright and she looks like she stepped out of a graphic novel.

It is such a unique idea to use the pannier as a cage! The dress itself is simple, but I love the secret skirt.

Congratulations, Cynthia!

The creator based this design on a piece of art he/she found on Pinterest. If you recognize the original inspiration artwork, please share in the comments below!

Second Place:  “Turn of the Century Showgirl” by Lori Clayson!

Lori says:

“This is my circus entry I made for myself to wear to a recent party. The concept is a turn of the century circus showgirl.”
Lori’s inspiration image:

“My favorite part to create was the the mini hat because I had fun learning how to make ribbon rosettes and curling feathers.”

Judges’ comments:

The concept is great, and I think she did a good job translating the photo…I love the fabric.

This is a lovely, classic showgirl look with a Victorian/Steampunk twist. She is obviously having a wonderful time in her outfit, and I think that confidence really adds the finishing touch.

My goodness, that detail is amazing! Especially on the hat.

Congratulations, Lori!

First Place:  “Victorian Circus Girl”  by Mara Perry!

Mara says:

“I made this outfit for Costume College 2016. They had a circus themed Friday Night Social. I spent some time looking at vintage photos of circus performers. It was a really fun project! I knew I wanted to stick with the 1890s. As luck would have it I found 3 yards of brightly colored harlequin style fabric at the thrift store. Score!!! 3.99! I had some black cotton sateen in my stash, so a costume was born. I used Truly Victorian walking skirt TV291 and Truly Victorian Ripple bodice TV496.

“The skirt was simple. I just shortened it to knee length. I used the bright fabric on the front panel only. I also sewed little moon and stars sequins randomly on the skirt. The bright orange scalloped trim was an antique shop find. A whole gallon ziplock bag stuffed with organdy picot edge scallop trim. The trim was strung together. I dyed it orange and gave it a nice press. On top of the orange trim I used black string fringe and black sequins.”

“The bodice had a few changes. I used the TV490 ballgown sleeves. they are pretty dang cute! I was running out of black cotton sateen and harlequin fabric so I used some black clip dot lawn instead. I left off the collar since I knew I was going to use my orange trim anyways. I kind of wanted a ruff look around my neck. The front is closed with 3 sets of blue ribbon ties. The bodice is trimmed with red chenille ball and black sequined trim.
“That hat! It is from a 1940s clown suit pattern. I had a great time making it!

“Accessories:
One purchased red crinoline, black tank top, white tights and my American Duchess Tango boots.
This is just an example of how creative you can be with existing patterns.”

Judges’ comments:

Fantastic seams and tailoring…Love the attitude!

The fit is superb and it’s a very Victorian look: the color scheme looks straight out of Victorian fancy dress plate!

I love the colors and how the bodice stands out!”

Congratulations, Mara!

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

Honorable Mention for Most Colorful Commentary: “Circus Lolita Mannequin” by Leah Lloyd

From Leah:

“This has been on the stupid mannequin since before DragonCon, and then I got my awful 6 month depression and touched nothing until about 2 weeks ago and started thinking ‘hey I should make that Circus Lolita for Zenkaikon I have a month, right?’ and then Liz literally the next day posts the reminder of the cutoff date being today and I am like CRAAAAAAP and she is like “post what you got!” so I am like CRAAAAAAAP and if you need filler bunny, here is my Circus Lolita which is NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING FINISHED”

“I bought two acid green silk saree, initially planning to make them into the most eye-searing screw you Victorian Early bustle gown, and that never happened, because i am lazy like that and have an attic g—— full of d— bins and shelves of fabric that I don’t even remember why I bought the d— yardage in the first place and what was I thinking and yeah never gonna make that, so Imma use if for this other project that I then also completely forget about and am then surprised when I dig it out looking for something else. Anyway, one of the saree is this great habatoi with pink omg ugly trimming on it and I figure that will be great for the skirt ruffles but the layout/yardage of the pattern is freaking stupid and I can’t use the pink the way I want to so g—— it. The other saree has these no-s— real metal bits set in the fabric, like some poor bastard had to set these gold leaf rivets or something in the weave just so which is great except when I start to cut it I realize I am using my silk scissors to cut g—— metal leaf and that was some s—- so there was some cursing there. And then I realized after sewing it together that the section I used had a blemish right on the nipple but hey that is cool because I have like 6 yards so no problem. I sew up the bodice (again) and the collar and then I realize I should have assembled the lining a different way what the f— was I thinking d—– okay I can make it work whatever, at least I have the front placket in correctly. ”

“The placket is cheap cotton broadcloth and an overlay of green sheer no kidding with pink g—— polka dots who thought this was a good idea to produce but it’s perfect and I have had it in the stash since 2008, so better use it before it rots. It may end up being used on the hat too. Or not. At this point, who the hell knows how it will look. Took me 4 g—— months to realize I didn’t like the original design of the tailcoat which is why I got stuck in the first place.”

“But wait, there is MORE! I legit found these ribbons (of which I bought 4 rolls each because goddamn ruffles take up freaking acres of yardage and they suck but better to have too much amirite) and there I was in this Amish fabric warehouse in the middle of Cowflop, PA, and I find shelves of pink and green I shit you not polka dot ribbons for like .50 a roll and I am like B*TCHES and it’s a fuzzy pic but you get the idea.”

“And these hair falls holy crap yes, plus cyberdreads of green and pink because gurrrl you know I have them and it’s gonna be insane if I can just make it not suck. And, you know, finish it.”

“But anyway, here is my initial sketch. Only the gods of sewing know how it will turn out.”

Judges comments:

She was such a trooper for submitting her outfit even though it wasn’t finished. That takes pluck and I admire that….the commentary she submitted is over-the-top hilarious and the outfit looks like it will be loads of fun when it’s done.

I can’t wait until the day it is complete – green and pink is one of my favorite color combinations!

Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #13!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #14!

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

Shear-Madness logo

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!

regency1

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. ”
front-view-1

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.

1876_cuff_details

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!

suitsideedit

“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!

front-gown-edit

“Very even and clean hand-stitching!”

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

14333622_1118659738225524_744438925101879083_n
“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!  

kim
“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!

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

Shear-Madness logo

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

image2

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.”

image4

 

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

IMG_4010

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.

IMG_4029

#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!

Lolth onstage.jpg

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.

full shot

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!

leah4

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”.

leah2
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!
leah3
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.
leah5
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

AN-yuuko-2web

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.
AN-yuuko-1web
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.
Yuuko-headdress

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.

xxxholic - 019
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.
AN-yuuko-3web

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!

GreerHatEntry1.jpg

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

Maryah Hat 1

“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!

frollo

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

frog5.JPG

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

DSCF5964

“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!

amber.jpg

“Rapunzel Tiara” by Christa Ludwig!

rapunzel.jpg

“Shipwreck,” by Darcy Lewis!

Ship3.JPG

“Mini Hats,” by Dorianne Jarchow!

IMG_6639IMG_6627

“Maleficent Dragon,” by Monty Montgomery-Hodorowski!

dragon
Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #11!  We look forward to seeing what you have in store for Challenge #12

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

Shear-Madness logo

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

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #10: THE ADORABLE ALERT WINNERS

Shear-Madness logo

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!

3

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!

2

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!

4

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!

totoro2

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.”

totoro3

Close-up!

totoro5

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!

jane3

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.

jane1

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.

jane4

The inspiration photo, copyright Disney.

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

jane2

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!

megara2

“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!

IMG_2641

“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!

102014-26

“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!  

Tzarina at Ursulmas

“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!

12980570_10153107351084649_1436479709_n

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

“Hogwarts Robes” by Jess Dunow!

13010863_10209328739718038_2345246976849853163_n

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

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

Elsajedi2

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

“Captain America,” by Leigh Fenty!

cap

“True blue American style!”

“Cyberdread Batman,” by Leah Lloyd!

batman1

“Looks very fun to wear!”

“Baby Mermaid,” by Andrea Roady!

mermaid1

“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!

1st ANNUAL SINGLE FABRIC CHALLENGE WINNERS!

 

Shear-Madness logo

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!