Shear Madness Quarterly Challenge #5: “Popping Tags” – The Thrifty Costume Challenge!

Shear-Madness logo

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

5.  “Popping Tags – Thrifty Costume” – Costumes made almost exclusively of thrifted and manipulated ready-to-wear garments. (October 2014 – January 2015)

6.  “Twisted Historicals” – Costumes made using a historical genre as a base.  A Betty Boop Elizabethan, Steampunk Victorian, etc.  Must have a historical shape to it.  (January 2015 – April 2015)

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)

TO CLARIFY:  All materials must be FINISHED within one year of the the start of the challenge.  So for the “Popping Tags” challenge (Challenge runs from 10/2/2014 to 1/1/2015), the dates would be 10/2/2013 – 1/1/2015.  It doesn’t matter when you STARTED the outfit – the main focus is the FINISHING date.  

Challenge #5 starts October 2, 2014 and runs till January 1, 2015.  The rules of the challenge are:

1. The outfit must have been made within the time period of 10/1/2013 – 1/1/2015.

2.  This challenge is a little bit different.  75% of the outfit must have been THRIFTED instead of MADE by you.  However, the thrifted items have to be altered or fit some specific purpose in the overall outfit.  Wigs and other items that are purchased would qualify in the 75% unless there is a significant amount added to the wig.  25% of the outfit can be made/sewn/crafted by you.  We want to see your crafty creativity!

3.  The outfit MUST be cohesive and each piece have a purpose to the outfit.  The pieces should fit together as such that they fit your concept or persona.  You can also take apart the pieces and put them together in different ways.  However, the outfit and it’s thrifted pieces must be the main focus.

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 no later than midnight CST on January 1, 2015.  Please also include a photo or link to any inspiration images, and a brief description of why you decided to create this particular outfit.  Include any problems you had to solve, any new things you tried and any creative solutions to problems that you came up with.

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 January 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 the time period it was made during, send Laura an email and she will let you know.

The judges will review the entries and the winners will be announced on January 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 made of thrifted items!

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 until I get out the E6000 and make one.


The first prize winner will also receive a gift certificate from Goodwill Industries in the amount of $50, which should buy a lot of thrifted garments!

All the thrift you can carry!

All the thrift you can carry!

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive an eBook of their choosing from the lovely Missa of Sempstress:

Elizabethan Block Party!

Elizabethan Block Party!

All winners (including the Honorable Mention winners) will have their creations featured in the header on the Facebook group page from January 4 to April 4, 2015.

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

Judge #1 is Melissa Heischberg aka Missa, blogger at Sempstress, designer and wearer of Renaissance Festival and theatrical costumes for almost two decades and current grad student and teacher of patterning and costume history at the College of DuPage in Illinois.  Missa has been one of the original costume bloggers on the Internet for over 15 years and has been a huge source of costuming inspiration to many.  She is known for her attention to detail and her tons of free tutorials on things from fitting to making “pants out of pants.”  She also once grommeted my very first Elizabethan outfit on a bathroom sink in my hotel room near the Bristol Ren Fest.  She is my spirit animal.

Missa chose an outfit she had made for her sister rather than one she made for herself as her favorite outfit.  This is what she has to say about her it:  “That’s me (much younger) and my little sister.  Her costume was one of the first ones I ever made and probably the second that was an attempt at anything that was not in the period best described as ‘early modern Ren Faire.’  It’s an ‘F’ for accuracy, but it didn’t matter.  She loved it and kept (and wore) it for years.  She said it was her princess dress.  So it’s super-cheesy, but this is really one of the costumes that I have been most proud of.”

Missa and her sister in their faire finery.

Missa and her sister in their faire finery.

Judge #2 is Twila Taylor of Reincarnation Lolita.  Twila is a professional seamstress and was the lead seamer for The Aliante in Las Vegas for three years, as well as having worked as an apprentice for The Sante Fe Opera. She has won multiple awards and Best in Shows in costume contests for both historical and anime. She sews for herself and clients, both for fun and for profit.  She is known as the Sewing Ninja, and has never met a challenge where she wasn’t able to kick it’s ass.  You can find her work featured here, here, here, AND here.

Twila chose this costume because she felt it coordinated with this challenge:  “I thought this dress was appropriate for the challenge as it was made from 7 yards of some vintage dead stock I bought on ebay for $30.  :)”

Twila in her beautiful red gown.

Twila in her beautiful red gown.

Judge #3 is Erin Schneider of The Cheap Chick.  Erin is an award winning costume enthusiast and part-time professional cheap person.  For many years she was featured as The Cheap Chick on a local Fox 9 affiliate, educating Minnesotans about the art of being frugal.  She has won various masquerades at different conventions and enjoys performing with her friends.  Erin loves the Green Bay Packers (as seen in her many Green Bay costumes), thrifting, and “turning stuff into other stuff.”  Her favorite kind of costuming is “done.”  She taught me how to put on mascara in 8th grade, and I am forever grateful.

Erin’s favorite outfit is of course one of her Green Bay Packer outfits (she has 7):  “It is my favorite because, a. toy tommy gun! and b. my friends made a cartoon of me in it for my 40th b-day!”

Erin as a cartoon!

Erin as a cartoon!

So mark your calendars for October 2, 2014 and get your creative juices flowing!  A second post will be coming soon with examples of different thrifted outfits!

Challenge #5 has begun!

3 thoughts on “Shear Madness Quarterly Challenge #5: “Popping Tags” – The Thrifty Costume Challenge!

  1. Tracey Walker says:

    The outfit must have been made within the time period of 7/1/2013 – 10/1/2014. Wait. I’m confused. So it has to already be done? I actually have one that’s already done, but I thought we were starting the challenge now? Help me, I’m all in a dither.

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