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

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

And here are the winners:

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

Laura's Fabulous River Song!

Laura’s Fabulous River Song!

Laura says:  “Built and completed in March, 2015

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

The inspiration costume.

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

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

The fabulous hat.

The fabulous hat.

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

Hanging out with Thorin Oakenshield.

Hanging out with Thorin Oakenshield.

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congratulations, Laura!

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

Loren's beautifully embroidered Cersei costume!

Loren’s beautifully embroidered Cersei costume!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back view of the gown.

Back view of the gown.

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

The belt is purchased from an eBay vendor.”

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congratulations, Loren!

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

Bina's Amazing Jupiter gown!

Bina’s Amazing Jupiter gown!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headdress in progress.

Headdress in progress.

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

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

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

Back view of the finished gown.

Back view of the finished gown.

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

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

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

Ribbon recreations.

Ribbon recreations.

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

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

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

View of "fiberglass shelf."

View of “fiberglass shelf.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The underdress.

The underdress.

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

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

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

The UV tattoo that completed the costume.

The UV tattoo that completed the costume.

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

Side view of the finished gown.

Side view of the finished gown.

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

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congratulations, Bina!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations to all of our honorable mention winners!

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

For real.  A Rockette Christmas ornament.  Brought to you by Vaseline!

THE ROCKETTE LIMITED CHALLENGE!

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We are excited to announce the “Rockette Limited Challenge” for Shear Madness!

The “Rockette Limited Challenge” will require the use of a Rockette Christmas ornament somewhere on the finished garment/accessory.  The ornament MUST be an integral part of the design.  Whether the focus of a hat, a brooch, etc., it must be central to the design.

A Rockette Christmas ornament, you say?

For real.  A Rockette Christmas ornament.  Brought to you by Vaseline!

For real. A Rockette Christmas ornament. Brought to you by Vaseline!

But, what the heck can you do with a Rockette Christmas ornament?  Well, Laura had a wild idea to put a whole bunch of them along the hem of a gown, but decided it would be more fun to send them out into the world and have you all come up with a plan!

The rules for the challenge are as follows:

1.  Only 12 people may enter this Challenge, as only 12 ornaments remain.  One of those people will be the Challenge #7 winner, as a Rockette ornament is included in their bucket of 50 items.

2.  You can sign up for the Challenge, but if you do not enter your finished item by the due date, you will be disqualified.

3.  You must use the Rockette Ornament as an intregal part of the design.

4.  The ornament has to be mailed to you, so you will be charged postage.  Postage will depend on if you are domestic or international, but will be sent the least expensive way possible.  These way about 2 ounces, so it will not be very expensive.  You must submit payment within a week or signing up for the Challenge, or the next person on the list will be allowed the chance to enter.

5.  You have until December 31, 2015 to complete the entry, and it must be submitted on January 1, 2016.  The winners will be announced on January 5, 2016.

6.  You must submit 1-5 photos of the entry, as well as a brief description of what your inspiration was for the design (other than the fabulous ornament itself), and any additional info you would like to share with the judges.

7.  Submit your information to Laura at laurapulak@yahoo.com.

The judges AND prizes for this challenge are secret, and will be revealed on January 1, 2016.  Trust us, they are pretty cool!

To give you an idea of the size of the Rockette Ornament, here is a photo on a 1 inch grid for scale:

They are roughly 3 inches by 3 inches.

They are roughly 3 inches by 4 inches.

We really can’t wait to see what you do with these!  Enter soon, because once this challenge fills up, it will be closed to any remaining entries.

The Single Fabric Contest!

*******THE SINGLE FABRIC CHALLENGE!*******

The Single Fabric Contest!

The Single Fabric Challenge!

We are doing a special challenge here at Shear Madness!  The people have voted, the fabric has been chosen, and the time is now!

The Single Fabric Challenge has only a few rules, and they are very simple:

1.  You must use Michael Miller Blue & White Bird on the Vine Azure fabric.  This fabric was chosen by the members of Shear Madness.  Fabric.com was chosen as the supplier because fabric can be ordered internationally, the pricing is very reasonable, and they very often have excellent sales and coupons.

purchase-fabric

2.  The fabric can be used in any way, but it must be visible and obvious in the costume.  Not to be used as lining fabric!  Other fabrics can be used as well – but the Challenge fabric must be of importance in the design.

3.  The costume must be completed by December 31, 2015.  All entries must be received by January 1, 2016 – you can submit them to Laura at laurapulak@yahoo.com.  The winners will be announced on January 5, 2016.

4.  You can make a costume from any design, time period, or genre.

5.  You must submit 1-5 photos of yourself IN the costume.  Photos of any details as well as full view shots are best.

6.  You must also submit a short summary of why you were inspired to use the fabric to create the costume that you made.

7.  If more than one person works on the costume, they must all be credited.

This Challenge differs from the others in several ways:

1.  There will not be a panel of judges – Laura alone will be judging this challenge.

2.  The 1st prize winner will receive a free ticket to Costume Con 34 in Madison, or a $100 gift certificate for Fabric.com, if they are unable to attend the convention.  The 2nd prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from Fabric.com and the 3rd prize winner will receive a $25 gift certificate from Fabric.com.

3.  The 1st prize winner will also receive the largest trophy in Shear Madness Challenge history.

4.  The winning costume will NOT be featured on the Facebook group header, but will instead be the featured costume on the Shear Madness Blog, for 6 months.

5.  A special button/logo is available for use on any blogs/websites below. Simply copy and paste the code below the image. Feel free to change the width and height to fit your blog. The image width and height can be as large as 600 square.

Shear Madness: The Single Fabric Challenge

<a href="https://shearmadnessblog.com/2015/07/20/the-single-fabric-challenge"><img src="https://shearmadnessblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/single-fabric-challenge1.png" alt="Shear Madness: The Single Fabric Challenge" width="400" height="400"></a>

If you have any additional questions about the Challenge, please contact Laura.  We look forward to seeing your creations!

Bethany's Joffrey Baratheon, as modeled by a friend.

SHEAR MADNESS CHALLENGE #7: “The $50 Challenge” – THE CHALLENGE WINNERS

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We had a smaller group of entries for Challenge #7, but they impressed our judges!  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Artemisia Moltabocca, Cindy Piselli and Liz Kearns!

And here are the winners:

 

Third Place:  ”Cyber Harley Quinn” by Leah “Lamia” Lloyd!

Leah's fantastic Cyber Harley Quinn

Leah’s fantastic Cyber Harley Quinn

Leah says:  “The shoes were $12.99, which I decorated with glitter $1.99 per color.

The black gloves I already owned, and had been used for a costume last year. Red gloves $3.99.

All of the black and red tulle was stash, a gift from a friend who had been clearing out her workroom.

The crinoline beneath it was a $1.99 monstrosity off ebay.

Amazing glitter covered shoes!

Amazing glitter covered shoes!

The white ankle socks were $1.25. All of the stockings were bought years ago, possibly over 10 years ago.

The corset was $13.99 (plus shipping). The rhinestone zipper was in stash from a fabric outlet that sadly went out of business last autumn.

Dreads were all from stash, red disassembled from a July 4 set, the candy stripes disassembled from a winter holiday set, and the remainder from never opened bags of crin stuffed onto shelves.

Close-up detail of the corset.

Close-up detail of the corset.

Stretch lace for cyberlox from stash.

Pompoms from stash, leftover from a White Bone Demon Chinese Opera costume.

Bells from stash, and the white spray paint liberated from the husband’s basement workspace.

The black rhinestones were ALL leftover from last year’s sexy Corinthian costume.

The large clear lozenge rhinestones were $4.38, and the red lozenge rhinestones were $4.23.

Collar was $.79 worth of tulle sewn onto a remnant of single fold white bias, and the velcro was from stash.

Sassy side view!

Sassy side view!

Bracelet from personal collection.

Total: $47.59

Judges’ comments:

“Very good use of personal stash! Recycling from older costumes, or shared costume pieces is a great way to stretch your budget. The sewer uses ebay for part of her pieces, a great way to purchase at lower prices. Making use of your friends’ giveaways is also a wonderful way to “shop” for free materials. I love the dreads, and reworking them from one costume to another is a brilliant way to save on wig prices.”

Proof that a lot of fun can be had without spending a fortune! The amount of detail that went into this costume is impressive, not to mention the very savvy shopping. Recycling and updating pieces you already have is very wallet- and eco-friendly. Bonus points for the double budge-friendly aspect of many of the pieces: the gloves can continue to be used for many different costumes, as can the ruff, the petticoat, and even the shoes (I can see those being worn as a touch of everyday geekiness). Ultimately, I am most impressed by how precisely the iconic Harley design was applied to the shoes and corset. Applying rhinestones and glitter cleanly takes a steady hand and abundant patience.  Best Use of Stash! I only wish I had raver dreds and oodles of rhinestones in mine.

“Excellent reuse of old costumes, and stash items. A very pretty interpretation of Harley Quinn. I’m most impressed by the beautiful and delicate $0.79 collar. I also love her expressive posing, as a good pose can elevate a costume’s grandeur tenfold.”

Congrats Leah!

Second Place:  ”Ringwraith” by Rose Jones!

Rose's creepy Ringwraith!

Rose’s creepy Ringwraith!

Rose says:  “This costume has been on my list to make for a very long time, mainly because I could never quite work out how to do it properly. I knew it had to have enough menacing presence to live up to the books, and still be practical enough to really do stuff in.

The ringwraiths from the latest Lord of the Rings films were my primary inspiration because I thought they were marvellously gothic. I also wanted it to be so black it as to almost eat the light.

My main problem was how to construct the thing without spending a fortune on meters of material or ending up with not enough fabric, so it resembled like a cheap Halloween costume.

Ringwraith pattern.

Ringwraith pattern.

The first part of the answer came when I was handed 12 m of loosely woven black cotton net, from my family. This fabric gave exactly the right matt black when layered, was translucent in single layers and frayed most satisfactorily at the hems. These effects can be seen in the first image, which is admittedly backlit. It was originally bought to make witch dresses, of which 0.5 m was used. This left me with 11.5 m.

The other materials used were: 2 m black cotton, which I ordered online but turned out to be unsuitable for its intended purpose (a harry potter robe), 0.5 m of a stiff polyester/nylon net I got in a bargain multi-pack at a fabric shop, leftovers of some synthetic velveteen and some black ribbon from my scraps bag, and the tail end of a coil of milinary wire.

Side pose!

Side pose!

The price breakdown is therefore as follows, taken entirely from leftovers from other projects:
11.5 m cotton net at £1 per m = £11.50
2 m cotton at £2.50 m (incl. shipping) = £ 5
0.5 m polyester net = £ 0.20
Oddments of ribbon, scraps of velveteen, 0.5 m wire, black thread = £ 0 (because they have lurked about for so long, I have forgotten what I paid for them. But they are small scraps, anyway)
Total cost: £ 16.20 (US $ 25.14 at today’s exchange rate)

I made it in the same way as one would make Viking tunics, with arm gussets to give an excellent range of arm movement. I gave it a back slit for the same reason. The outer hood and cloak layer were draped triangles. The inner hood was lined in the velveteen to give a light-absorbing effect. I’ve included a diagram of the layers in sequence (please excuse the shaky MS paint image), to give an idea of how it’s put together. All layers were attached at the neck only, so they move independently. The red line is a section of wire to support the hood.

Highlighted!

Highlighted!

The final part of the costume is a mask of the last of the velveteen (so the hood and face blend together), with a strip of the nylon net across the eyes and nose, and slits slashed to allow easy breathing. This results in a rather convincing illusion of darkness under most lighting (you can see a blank head under the rest, which doesn’t spoil the look, thankfully), but which is surprisingly easy to see out of (like looking through sunglasses). The last image is number 3 with the contrast ramped up so you can see more details. This is a close approximation of what it looks like under bright light. None of the other images have been manipulated in any way.

The result is a costume that is exactly what I wanted. It’s has a menacing, gothic presence and with layers that trail and flutter with movement while being easy to move in, easy to see out of, easy to breathe and will fit a large range of sizes. It can however get a bit hot, so I’m working on a cooling system for it.

Darker exposure.

Darker exposure.

This costume has already starred as a small pantomime ghost (with hems pinned up for the occasion), and a Dementor in a forest. It’s also surprisingly fun to play about with, especially when accessorised with flowers.

Special acknowledgements to Red Dragon longsword club for assistance in taking these epic pictures, including borrowing props.”

Judges’ comments:

Wonderful cosplay. I think it would be very hard to make this without looking like a solid black “ghost” costume. The sewer did a nice job layering the fabric, and has succeeded in a light, almost ethereal look, by choosing the correct material. The choice of velveteen for the inner hood was an excellent choice for a deep, dark effect. One pound per meter is a great price, keeping the budget low with room for other items. However, with the good use of scraps, not many additional purchases were needed. Half the budget was used, good job!

My favorite part of this cosplay is the careful planning and thoughtful construction. All of the many carefully crafted layers work together to give the silhouette shape, dimension, and movement. The artist succeeded: this is no average, nebulous “ghost” outfit! The final outfit has excellent presence and allows the iconic sword to pop. The effect is very eerie and in a dark hall, the cosplayer will just melt into the shadows. If I met this wraith along a wooded path, I would certainly think only of hiding and of crawling, and of death! I would love to see this in person so I could see how the costume moves.

“This is a great example of how a seemingly simple design can project emotion. Extra points for making the mask work perfectly with the robe. This costume not only makes me notice it, it makes me feel it. Also, extra, extra points for already reusing this budget-friendly costume.”

Congrats Rose – you have also won the prize for least amount of money spent!

First Place:  ”Joffrey Baratheon”  by Bethany Padron!

Bethany's Joffrey Baratheon, as modeled by a friend.

Bethany’s Joffrey Baratheon, as modeled by a friend.

Bethany says: “All Parts completed as of 1/3/2015
Tax included in retail prices.

The original Joffrey from "Game of Thrones."

The original Joffrey from “Game of Thrones.”

Robe:
Gold and Red damask curtains from Goodwill Linens $5.98= $6.40
Bag of Christmas Trim from Goodwill (on sale) $0.75= $0.80
Velvet sash from garage sale = $12.00

Inspiration artwork.

Inspiration artwork.

Accessories:

Lannister Lion Pin
Decapitated Plastic Lion from Wal-Mart $1.77= $1.89
Crossbow
Triple-Ply cardboard from dumpster
Paper Doilies from Wal-Mart $4.97= $5.32
Metal yardstick from junk sale $1.00= $1.00
Crown:
Sculpey (3 packages) from JoAnns $2.29= $7.35

View with crossbow.

View with crossbow.

Misc:
Gold Spray Paint from Ace Hardware $4.99= $5.34
Large Amber ring from Goodwill $2.69= $2.89

Pensive side view.

Pensive side view.

From Stash:
Earrings for crown centerpiece from stash
Arrow, string and mylar tape from stash
Hot Glue from stash
Silver ring and red ring from stash
Leggings and Boots, models own.

Royal front view.

Royal front view.

Total: $42.99

Judges’ comments:

“I am impressed by the sewer’s creative eye while searching for thrifty components to this costume. Christmas trims and curtains from the Goodwill make a $19 royal robe. I like the use of the metal yardstick on the crossbow, and the decapitated lion head for the Lannister pin. Creating a crown from sculpty to the specifications needed for the character, shows good use of inexpensive materials.  True meaning of thrifty costume. From Goodwill, junk sales and even dumpster diving, the completed costume is something to be proud to wear. The crown was the most creative budget item and came out perfect. This costumer has an eye for finding little treasures to convert to needed accessories for the project at hand. Excellent depiction of the character.

“A perfect example of thrift and ingenuity! The interplay of textures is fabulous and the craftmanship of the crown is mind blowing– instantly recognizable and matches the inspiration image perfectly. The crossbow is especially clever. The overall effect is well thought out and complete–quite a feat for for spending less than $50 for the lot, including props!  Met and exceeded the spirit of the competition by using nearly ever thrifty trick in the book to create a complete, top-notch cosplay from start to finish. When I think of a well made, inexpensive homemade costume, this is precisely what I picture. I want to know what pattern was used for the tunic!

“I’m particularly impressed by the Sculpey crown. It goes to show that a custom detailed accessory CAN be had for less than $8. The fabrics play well together. I love how the attention to detail makes this costume come alive from the image.  Pro: Least amount of reused items. The amazing crown, and crossbow, are part of the cost of the costume. I love that I’m seeing a head to toe completed costume that can be recreated by anyone that DOESN’T have an extensive costuming stash. Con: I can’t find any fault with this costume.  Well done. ”

Congrats Bethany!

 

Thank you to everyone for making Challenge #7 such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for Challenge #8!

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

Shear-Madness logo

The seventh Quarterly Challenge is over, so it is time to start thinking about the next ones.   They are:

8.  “As Seen on TV…” – The media recreation challenge!  You must recreate a costume from a movie or TV show as closely as possible to the original source material.  (July 2015 – October 2015)

9.  “Slap Some Gears On It” – Costumes inspired by the Steampunk genre.  Gadgets, gizmos, pith helmets, goggles, modded Nerf guns and all the other Steampunk stuff you can think of!  (October 2015 – January 2016)

10.  “The Adorable Alert Challenge!” – Costumes for children.  Baby Hobbits, miniature Jedis, tiny Princesses and wee little Superheroes.  No pets and no serial killers, please.  🙂  (January 2016 – April 2016)

11.  “The Way You Wear Your Hat” – The headwear challenge!  Anything you can put on your head counts.  Hats, wigs, headbands, horns, crowns, you name it!  (April 2016 – July 2016)

12.  “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.  (October 2016 – January 2017)

13.  “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.  (January 2017 – April 2017)

TO CLARIFY:  All materials must be FINISHED within one year of the the start of the challenge.  So for  “As Seen On TV”  (Challenge runs from 7/16/2015 to 10/1/2015), the dates of construction allowed would be 7/16/2014 – 10/1/2015.  It doesn’t matter when you STARTED the outfit – the main focus is the FINISHING date.  

Challenge #8 starts July 16, 2015 and runs till October 1, 2015.  The rules of the challenge are:

1. The outfit must have been FINISHED within the time period of 7/16/2014 – 10/1/2015.

2. 75% of the outfit must have been made by you.  25% of the outfit can be purchased/sourced/thrifted by you.  We want to see your crafty creativity!

3.  This challenge IS meant to be a duplicate of an outfit from a TV show or Movie.  For the purposes of this challenge this is NOT going to include cartoons, or any other animated series.  We covered that in the “Drawn That Way” challenge.  You need to recreate the outfit as close as possible to the source material.  This does not mean buying the actual fabric used (unless you can find it, but as example, those Italian fabrics from Game of Thrones are spendy!), but getting as close an approximation as possible to the look.  If something is historically based, you do not have to have historical underpinnings, but more points can be given for that.

4. We encourage you to make any accessories, additional pieces, etc. for the costume that the character has.  This is definitely a Go Big or Go Home challenge!

5.  You need to submit 1-5 photos to Laura on FB or at laurapulak@yahoo.com no later than midnight CST on October 1, 2015.  Please also include a photo or link to the inspiration character.  Include any problems you had to solve, any new things you tried and any creative solutions to problems 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.

6.  Contestants can share the progress of their outfits on their blogs, or on the Shear Madness page, but it is NOT required.

7.  Contestants can sign up at any time.  Simply send your name, the kind of outfit you are creating, and a valid email to Laura via FB email any time prior to October 1st.

8.  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.  And if the entire thing doesn’t get finished, oh well!  Submit what you have.  We just want to see what you were working on!

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

The judges will review the entries and the winners will be announced on October 4, 2015.  There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes awarded, 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.  The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive Shear Madness trophies/ribbons of an undetermined design.

This admittedly awesome trophy in standing in place of the ACTUAL Shear Madness trophy until I get out the E6000 and make one.

The 1st place winner will receive a mystery gift!  (Mainly because I can’t think of anything at the moment.  I am accepting suggestions.)

What could it be?? Even I don't know!

What could it be?? Even I don’t know!

The 2nd place and 3rd place winners will receive a copy of “Costume Design 101:  The Business and Art of Creating Costumes for Film and Television”:

A very cool book with lots of great source images.

A very cool book with lots of great source images.

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

The judges for this challenge are amazing costumers.  Each has an extensive background in frugal costuming and are excited to see what you create for the challenge.

Judge #1 is Samantha Evans, of Sam Ghosts of Costumes, which showcases her costume wardrobe, and her other persona, Sam Squared Superfit, her fitness site.   Sam has been costuming since 2005 and has done a smattering of fandom recreation costumes, some totally original crazy gown costumes, and a few historical interpretations.  She’s won Best in Class awards in the Dragon Con Friday Night Costume Contest at Novice, Journeyman, and Master levels, and Best In Show there for The Looking Glass Wars Red Queen.  In one of her favorite contests, the Young Adult Literature Costume Contest at Dragon Con, She has won 2 “best movie recreations” and one Best In Show ~ for her Catching Fire Capital Couture Effie, Cesar, and Katniss.  She was also fortunate to win 2 workmanship awards and a Judges’ Choice award in the Costume Con masquerades in different years.

Sam was one of those costumers that I always looked up to, because every time I saw her at an event, she was the whole package.  Her costume was always beautifully made, her hair and accessories were perfect, and I could believe she WAS the character.  She always looked comfortable in whatever she was wearing, and she made me believe I could look that amazing too.

Sam says:  “As far as favorite costumes goes, that’s pretty hard!  I think my absolute favorite is the French Court gown I did to be “Summer”  in a Marie Antoinette Seasons group.  It just came out so pretty, and had these origami petals inspired by Julia Roberts’ wedding dress in “Mirror Mirror”.  The most insane amount of work costume award goes to my Katniss Wedding dress – it had like 1700 yards of ruffled tulle and ribbon applique on 20 yards of organza!  And my most badass costume, definitely the man-eating flower Red Queen Dress – the flowers had about 600 Sculpy teeth in their centers and the skirt was covered with 3000 rubies.  Apparently my favorite costumes always involve like 1000’s of something….”

Sam's beautiful

Sam’s beautiful “Summer” dress.

Judge #2 is Cassandra aka PinkRouge of the Sister Sola Blog.  Cassandra has been costuming as a hobby since 2002, making on average about 4-5 new costumes per year. All sewing/fabricating skills have been self-taught through trial and error, help/tips from fellow costumers, and Google.  She has won the following awards: Best Fantasy at Dragon*Con 2006 Masquerade for House of Flying Daggers costume and dance; Best Professional category for Dragon*Con 2007 Friday Night Costuming Contest for Pearly Queen; Best Movie Recreation at Ad Astra 2010 Toronto for Satine Hindi Rehearsal.

I met Cassandra at my first Costume Con in Milwaukee, and I was immediately impressed with how friendly and approachable she was, as well as by how amazing her costumes were.  They were all recreations of costumes I had seen in movies, and they were all PERFECT.  She never overlooks a single detail of a costume, and works hard to become that character.  She continually amazes me with her creativity and ability.

Cassandra says:  “My Pearly Queen is my favourite because all the hours and hours of work (4572 hand-sewn buttons!) paid off and the whole thing came together perfectly and fits like a glove despite both the jacket and skirt being Franken-patterned.”

The Pearly Queen hangs out with an old friend.

The Pearly Queen hangs out with an old friend.

Judge #3 is Maggie of  Padawan’s Guide and Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes. She’s  run the Star Wars and movie costume research websites since mid-2000. She has made numerous costumes over the years – from Star Wars and Star Trek, to Titanic, to historical gowns from a variety of periods.

Maggie has done so much for the costuming world, I don’t even know where to begin.  She has tirelessly documented thousands of movie costumes, from images to descriptions, to recreations.  She is well known in the Star Wars community for her recreations, her knowledge of costumes, and her enthusiasm for costuming.  Maggie is charming, creative, and terribly talented.

Maggie says:  ”This is one of my favorite costumes because it’s one I always wanted even before I was a costumer. And it’s one that I am super proud of finishing, because the embroidery on it took me 9 months!”

Maggie's lovely Leia costume.

Maggie’s lovely Leia costume.

So mark your calendars for October 2, 2015 and get your creative juices flowing!

Getting into character.

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

Shear-Madness logo

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

And here are the winners:

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

Are you ready for some football?

Are you ready for some football?

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

Judges’ comments:

” This works extremely well!”

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

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

Congrats Erin!

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

Best bustle ever!

Best bustle ever!

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congrats Leah!

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

You feel lucky, punk?

You feel lucky, punk?

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

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congrats Liz!

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

With her celery a healthy green!

With her celery a healthy green!

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

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

The Doctor and her Tardis.

The Doctor and her Tardis.

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

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

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

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congrats Glynnis!

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

Making evil look good.

Making evil look good.

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

Check out that fantail!

Check out that fantail!

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

Close up!

Close up!

Judges’ comments:

“Sleeeeves! Beautifully made, brava!”

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

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

Congrats Aleta!

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

The Queen of the Nereids!

The Queen of the Nereids!

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

Back side view.

Back side view.

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

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

Armor and shoulder pieces.

Hat, armor and shoulder pieces.

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

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

Getting into character.

Getting into character.

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

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

Close-up of the armor.

Close-up of the armor.

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

Lisa's stunning work.

Lisa’s stunning work.

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

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

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congrats Lisa!

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

Sara's beautiful tailoring.

Sara’s beautiful tailoring.

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

Side view.

Right side view.

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

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

Back view.

Back view.

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

Left side view.

Left side view.

Judges’ comments:

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

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

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

Congrats Sara!

And a round-up of the other wonderful entries!

“Victorian Bustle Tardis” Kathryn Hodorowski!

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

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

“Kabuki Robin” by Leah Lloyd!

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

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

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

"Excellent steampunk twist! Great creativity!"

“Excellent steampunk twist! Great creativity!”

“Renaissance Carnivale Gown” by Paige Cavanagh Mattern!

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

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

“1950’s Firefly Kaylee” by Amanda Fineran!

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

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

“1915 Outlander Crossplay” by Lisa Hansen!

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

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

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

Shear-Madness logo

SHEAR MADNESS QUARTERLY CHALLENGE #7: “THE $50 CHALLENGE”

Shear-Madness logo

The sixth Quarterly Challenge is over, so it is time to start thinking about the next ones.   They are:

7.  “The $50 Challenge” – You can spend no more than $50 on a costume.  Show us your frugality!  (April 2015 – July 2015)

8.  “As Seen on TV…” – The media recreation challenge!  You must recreate a costume from a movie or TV show as closely as possible to the original source material.  (July 2015 – October 2015)

9.  “Slap Some Gears On It” – Costumes inspired by the Steampunk genre.  Gadgets, gizmos, pith helmets, goggles, modded Nerf guns and all the other Steampunk stuff you can think of!  (October 2015 – January 2016)

10.  “The Adorable Alert Challenge!” – Costumes for children.  Baby Hobbits, miniature Jedis, tiny Princesses and wee little Superheroes.  No pets and no serial killers, please.  🙂  (January 2016 – April 2016)

11.  “The Way You Wear Your Hat” – The headwear challenge!  Anything you can put on your head counts.  Hats, wigs, headbands, horns, crowns, you name it!  (April 2016 – July 2016)

12.  “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.  (October 2016 – January 2017)

13.  “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.  (January 2017 – April 2017)

TO CLARIFY:  All materials must be FINISHED within one year of the the start of the challenge.  So for the “$50 Challenge”  (Challenge runs from 4/2/2015 to 7/1/2015), the dates of construction allowed would be 4/2/2014 – 7/1/2015.  It doesn’t matter when you STARTED the outfit – the main focus is the FINISHING date.  

Challenge #7 starts April 2, 2015 and runs till July 1, 2015.  The rules of the challenge are:

1. The outfit must have been FINISHED within the time period of 4/2/2014 – 7/1/2015.

2. 75% of the outfit must have been made by you.  25% of the outfit can be purchased/sourced/thrifted by you.  We want to see your crafty creativity!

3.  There are two ways to approach this challenge.  The first is to spend $50 TOTAL on all the supplies to make the costume you are entering.  The second is to use items from your stash, and only spend $50 on the remaining things you need for your costume (notions, trim, etc.).  You must abide by one of these two methods in order to qualify for the challenge.  We do not need to see receipts, but trust that you will give an honest accounting of the money you spent.  We DO want to see a breakdown of where the money went, and what items were used from your stash.  If you use items from your stash, please list the value of those items separately from your $50 breakdown.  Accessories such as shoes, socks, underwear, wigs, corsets, etc. do not have to count in the $50 total unless you can somehow manage to fit that all in there.  If so?  WELL DONE, YOU!

4.  The outfit cannot be a duplicate of an outfit 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.

5.  You need to submit 1-5 photos to Laura on FB or at laurapulak@yahoo.com no later than midnight CST on July 1, 2015.  Please also include a photo or link to any inspiration images., as well as a breakdown of where the $50 was spent.  Include any problems you had to solve, any new things you tried and any creative solutions to problems 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.

6.  Contestants can share the progress of their outfits on their blogs, or on the Shear Madness page, but it is NOT required.

7.  Contestants can sign up at any time.  Simply send your name, the kind of outfit you are creating, and a valid email to Laura via FB email any time prior to July 1st.

8.  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.  And if the entire thing doesn’t get finished, oh well!  Submit what you have.  We just want to see what you were working on!

9.  If you have a question about an outfit concerning it’s suitability for the challenge, or questions about what qualifies in the $50 budget/stash, send Laura an email and she will let you know.

The judges will review the entries and the winners will be announced on July 4, 2015.  There will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes awarded, 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.  The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive Shear Madness trophies/ribbons of an undetermined design.

This admittedly awesome trophy in standing in place of the ACTUAL Shear Madness trophy until I get out the E6000 and make one.

This admittedly awesome trophy is standing in place of the ACTUAL Shear Madness trophy/ribbon until I get out the E6000 and make one.

The 1st place winner will receive a $50 gift card to Joann Fabrics & Crafts, to replenish your stash!

joann-fabrics-veterans-day-coupon

The 1st place winner will also receive a bucket of 50 items to help in making their next $50 outfit!

Your bucket may or may not contain these items, in addition to fabric, sewing supplies, gears, chocolate, or anything else that seems useful.

Your bucket may or may not contain these items, in addition to fabric, sewing supplies, chocolate, or anything else that seems useful.

The 2nd and 3rd place winners will all receive an All-in-One sewing kit to take with them to conventions as an emergency kit.

It's like a sewing kit for MacGuyver!

It’s like a sewing kit for MacGuyver!

A special prize will be awarded to the person who spends the least amount of money on their costume entry – a blue leather bound journal made in Florence, Italy.

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, 2015.

The judges for this challenge are amazing costumers.  Each has an extensive background in frugal costuming and are excited to see what you create for the challenge.

Judge #1 is Liz Kearns, of The Pragmatic Costumer blog, which details some of her rather unorthodox attempts at historical costuming. No era is safe from her clutches! She dabbles in costumes ranging from Elizabethan to Edwardian and plans to eventually conquer every score between.  She also sells antique and costume jewelry (as well as offering lovely hand-painted miniatures) at her Etsy store, Tineseile.

Liz was one of the first folks I read who really got the idea that you didn’t have to have expensive silk fabric, perfectly period undergarments, and other trappings commonly associated with costuming in order to A) give the look and appearance of historical costuming and B) HAVE FUN WITH YOUR COSTUMING.  She is hugely inspirational for beginner costumers, and always has tons of educational material on her blog.  She may do something differently, but she will make sure you know the period correct way to do it as well.

Liz says:  “I approach costuming as a challenge. In truth, I am not a particularly skilled seamstress, yet I plow onward. My true talents are pinching pennies and being exceptionally wily when it comes to costuming. I may not be able to make it, but I can fake it!  Being the pragmatist and renegade that I like to style myself as, the most important costuming qualities to me are enthusiasm and gumption. You do not have to be a great seamstress, a supermodel, or rich to enjoy the wide world of costuming!

I participated in the previous thrifty Shear Madness challenge and won second place with a Regency-era dress made from bedsheets, my first ever costuming award! However, my favorite self-made costume to date is my 1856 Autumn Day Dress. I don’t have much money to spend on fancy silks or linens, but with Walmart quilting cotton and a little pattern fudging, I was able to make a handsome Victorian dress for under $50. My favorite part is the tassels. They add a touch of showgirl sass to my otherwise demure dress. Little details like that make all the difference!”

This is what you can do with Walmart cotton fabric and a little gumption.

This is what you can do with Walmart cotton fabric and a little gumption.

Judge #2 is Cindy Piselli of The Broke Costumer blog, where she details her attempts to costume on a budget.  She has been involved with Costumer’s Guild West, taught a class on 1960’s handbags at Costume College, and was tea mistress a few years ago, creating a Pirates of Penzance themed event. She has also produced four (soon to be five) fashion shows for the Gaslight Gathering convention.  She just finished up her term as President for the San Diego Costumer Guild.

I love Cindy because she has a big sense of whimsy in her costuming.  While many of her garments are constructed in a period correct fashion, she has never met a mash-up she didn’t like, and this results in fantastically creative costumes.  The costumes are all beautifully made, and tons of fun.  Cindy understands the importance of creativity and not taking yourself too seriously.

Cindy says:  “I began sewing as a child, taught by my mother who was a professional fitter-seamstress. When my daughter Amy was in school, we started attending Renaissance faires and Comic Con in costume. After joining the San Diego Costume Guild, I discovered a love of period costuming, especially ones with a twist of fantasy.

Some of my favorite mash up costumes are a “Victoriental”, Retro gal/Green Lantern, Dark Pirate Marie, Tea Party Marie and Victorian Wonder Woman, my favorite to date.  My most recent costume was Anastasia Tremaine from the new Disney movie, Cinderella.

Pictured below is my photo of Victorian Wonder Woman, made for Comic Con last year. I love Wonder Woman and bustle gowns, so it was natural to use this as my mash up theme.”

Her invisible airplane runs on steam power.

Her invisible airplane runs on steam power.

Judge #3 is Artemisia Moltabocca of  Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress.  She has been costuming since 2006 with a love of Italian renaissance clothing. Now she mixes costume genres, does a little cosplay, and enters group masquerades around the country. Her favorite costume genre right now is mashing up historical clothing with Doctor Who.

I am proud to call Arte my friend.  Her blog was one of the very first costume blogs I ever read.  She is an educator, inspiring, willing to leap into any crazy idea you might come up with, and she dances a mean hustle.  She is an excellent seamstress, technically brilliant, and the most modest person you will ever meet about her costuming.  She is simply the best.

Arte says:  ” I created the first version of this costume for only $50 with leftover polyester fabric in my stash, clearance priced holiday trim, and $1 brass lightswitch plates. I’ve gotten lots of compliments on it so I wear it to almost every convention. I’ve slowly upgraded the costume to 100% silk and period-correct pattern designs since I get so much use out of it. Economy in costuming is about investing time and money in pieces that bring you joy, while using your creativity to minimize costs by thinking outside the box.”

All Hail the Dalek Queen!

All Hail the Dalek Queen!

So mark your calendars for July 2, 2015 and get your creative juices flowing!