Shear Madness Challenge #4, “The Embellishment Challenge” Winners

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We had a huge outpouring of entries for Challenge #4!  There were so many different and creative ideas and the judges were excited by the variety on display.  A big thank you to our wonderful judges:  Nola Yergen, Bina Pothi and Kim Byrnes!

And here are the winners:

Honorable Mention for Complete Concept:  ”Street Shaman” by Gregory Laffrenzen!

Greg in his Shadowrun inspired Street Shaman.

Greg in his Shadowrun inspired Street Shaman.

Greg says:  “My inspiration for this costume is the world of Shadowrun, a dystopian near-future where high technology blends alongside high fantasy. In the universe, disheveled magicians live on the streets or squat in hovels instead of frolicking in pristine woodlands.
This street shaman was built out of a military surplus half-tent. I saw a similar technique in a Greg Lauren jacket made from a canvas duffel bag. On the shaman are hundreds of trinkets and jingles. While they came from myriad places, the best sources were the Joann bead discount bin and necklaces from thrift stores. I also adorned it with whatever crap I had laying around, including a busted lanyard, bits of electronics, and caps from laser pointers. The cowl lines and shapes were made freehand with paint pens.
Decorating my noggin is a headpiece, which draws heavily the African Art collection at the de Young museum. Wiring the eyes taught me the basics of electronics and LEDs. The horns are made with aluminum foil, papier-mâché, and casting resin. Making them showed me the beauty of my Dremel, which I can no longer costume without.”·

Judges’ comments:

“I love the originality and that there are several types of embellishment.  The sheer amount of stuff that he was able to incorporate was amazing!”

“Obviously a lot of work has gone onto making this costume look complete. It fits really well with the your theme and I can picture the character in an alternate dystopian future.”

“I love the idea!”

Congrats Greg!

Honorable Mention for Beadwork:  “1920’s Robe de Style” by Amy Lee Karow-Thara!

Amy Lee's gorgeous beadwork!

Amy Lee’s gorgeous beadwork!

Amy Lee says:  “What drew me to this dress at first was all the beading on it. I knew I would never find the perfect piece of trim so I decided to do the embellishment myself. 4000+ beads later and I took photo 2 to photo 3.

To do this I looked at close up pictures from the Met of the orginal gowns. I was able to get a template from those pictures which I transferred to the taffeta with chalk. After that it was just beading, beading and more beading.

I also embellished the shoes for this outfit. They started out as plain white T-straps and my final look is reminiscent of the jeweled heels of the time. I made a tutorial of how I did it which can be found at my blog.

Epic fail on documenting the hat for the costume. I only have one picture during construction. The ends of the trim meet on the final version.”

Judges’ comments:

“Because of the AMOUNT of beading, this deserves a ‘beading award!'”

“The beading is very well done. Lovely!”

” Honorable mention for the insane beading, particularly because it was done ON THE FABRIC instead of on a reuseable strip of fabric.”

Congrats Amy Lee!

Honorable Mention for Use of Electronics as Embellishment:  “Maleficent” by Ryn Cording!

Ryn's clever Maleficent costume.

Ryn’s clever Maleficent costume.

Ryn says:  “I like to make costumes that light up/glow in the dark. With this particular costume, I used EL wire, tape, and panels in addition to leather, TONS of feathers and chain to embellish it. I wanted a different take on Maleficent. There’s about 40 feet of El wire in the dress itself (the bottom portion is also lighted, but it’s hard to capture in a photo) and roughly 6 yards of hand-dyed feathers. The scaling on the front of the corset is hand-cut leather scale with glow in the dark paint on the tips.  It was fun to make and a lot of fun to wear.”

Judges’ comments:

“I like the feathered cape, the details on the corset.”

“The EL wire blends in when not lit up so it doesn’t look weird.  Nice!”

“I think this might be my favorite of the lot!”

Congrats Ryn!

Honorable Mention for All Things That Are Sparkly:  “Elsa the Snow Queen” by Carrie Slick!

A great view of the cape!

A great view of the cape!

Carrie says:  “The bodice is covered in hand cut sequins, the skirt has hand sewn sequins to mimic icicles, the shoes were covered in glitter and had the ice bursts added, and the train has snowflakes made out of rhinestones, and one large one at the shoulders out of glitter.”

Judges’ comments:

“Embellishing an Elsa is “Shear madness”, particularly with the large crystal snowflakes.”

“Obviously a lot of work went into this dress!”

“Well this certainly qualifies as madness!”

Congrats, Carrie!

Honorable Mention for Brass and Leatherwork:  “Warhammer 40K” by Joss Frazer!

Looking bad-ass!

Looking bad-ass!

Joss says:  “The rosettes and knee skulls are repousse brasswork, Sintra, EVA Foam, repousse brasswork, leather, and paint. Coat was made in brown and then dyed black and distressed.”

Judges’ comments:

Love the brasswork! Of course I’m partial to that anyway. :)”

“Impressive brass work.  A nice Warhammer costume!”

“I’m impressed with the several types of embellishment. Well done!”

Congrats Joss!

Honorable Mention for Creativity in Embellishment:  “Flapper 7th Doctor” by Amy Sue Rabe!

Amy Sue's flapper costume and accessories.

Amy Sue’s flapper costume and accessories.

Amy Sue says:  “I made this flapper dress version of the 7th Doctor Who. For the question marks, I made a rubber stamp and hand stamped it on the fringe with red paint, and then sprinkled a bit of red glitter on the still wet paint to give it just a bit more sparkle.”

Judges’ comments:

“This is a really cool idea, and very original too because seriously? I don’t think I ever saw anyone stamping designs on a fringe!”

“This one works perfectly for the Doctor.”

“Interesting way of applying stamping!”

Congrats Amy Sue!

Third Place:  ”Fantasy Renaissance Costume” by Melinda Hart!

Melinda's persona comes out!

Melinda’s persona comes out!


The embellished headpiece.

The embellished headpiece.

Melinda says:  “So I made the gown, which is pretty heavily beaded (300 crystals, roughly 1000 pearls and an assortment of seed beads in gold metal), also about 14 yards of trim all hand stitched…. But my favourite piece is the hood… As you can see clearly, there is lots of stuff on that thing, including crystals, pearls, gold bead caps and ruby coloured crystal as well. Everything was made, by me without patterns.”





Judges’ comments:

“The detail work on this is outstanding. Definitely a favorite!”

I love this for the completeness and attention to detail.”

“All of the little trims and embellishments adding up to make a lovely gown!”

Congrats Melinda!

Second Place:  ”Reproduction Satine Black Diamonds” by Patti Glad!

Patti's beautiful Moulin Rouge reproduction.

Patti’s beautiful Moulin Rouge reproduction.

Patti says:  “There are about 200 hours in hand-beading all that fringe and the black velvet motifs, as well as gluing gradiated swarovski crystals into that scallop pattern.”

Judges’ comments:

“Eye catching costume that beautifully captures the essence of Moulin Rouge.”

“While it is not an exact replica of the original it fits well and certainly captures the elegance of the original.”

I really like this one!”

Congrats Patti!

First Place:  ”Athena Parthenos Shield and Helmet” by Rae Bradbury-Enslin!

Rae's stunning recreation.

Rae’s stunning recreation.

Rae says: “The shield was a multipart process. I began with a round plastic toboggan, which I altered with wood, plastic tubing and a large PVC joint to look like a shield. I sculpted the figures on it, cast the whole thing in latex, and glued the latex shell to the plastic. The interior mural was painted by hand to match artists’ renderings of what the original may have looked like.

The helmet started out as a cheap plastic costume helmet. I disassembled it, sculpted my Athena helmet over it in clay, made a latex cast, and then fitted the latex over the plastic to make it firm. I added the wings and small horse heads across the brow afterwards. The crests were balsa wood and floral picks. The entire thing was painted gold, and then the detailing was painted in by hand.”

Judges’ comments:

“Shows a LOT of creativity, artistic talent and, of course, embellishment – personally, I would neither have recognized the original helmet nor whatever the shield originally was after the embellishment.”

“Entry displays marvellous creativity and a wide use of techniques to create beautiful accessories for the costume.  Well presented and well executed. One of my favourites.”

“The thing that blows me away is that she sculpted the horse heads. Really well done! I love costumes that look great from a distance and even better close up!  (About the shield) I love this, I wish I could do it.”

Congrats Rae!

And a round-up of the other wonderful entries!

“Kabuki Poison Ivy” by Leah Lamia Lloyd!

"Nice use of appliqué to grow the ivy from the hem upwards."

“Nice use of appliqué to grow the ivy from the hem upwards.”

“18th Century Wizard of Oz Wig” by Clare Wilson!

"Charming wig. The balloon in it is just great."

“Charming wig. The balloon in it is just great.”

“Cersei’s Mourning Dress from Game of Thrones” by Loren Dearborn!

"Skillfully worked mix of beading and stitching."

“Skillfully worked mix of beading and stitching.”

“Victorian Cupcake Dress” by Leah Lamia Lloyd!

"Inventive use of coordinating fabrics, resulting in a lovely bustle dress shilouette."

“Inventive use of coordinating fabrics, resulting in a lovely bustle dress shilouette.”

“Scarlet O’Lizabethan” by Lisa Hanson!

"Love the beadwork!"

“Love the beadwork!”

“Handmade Steampunk Hat” by Theressa Silver!

"I am amazed that there is no structural support inside - that the knitting holds it up on it's own!"

“I am amazed that there is no structural support inside – that the knitting holds it up on it’s own!”

“Steampunk Alice in Wonderland Caterpillar Boots” by Amy Sue Rabe!

"I really do like the simplicity of this embellishment. Even if it's simple and easy / quick to make, it shows a lot of creativity."

“I really do like the simplicity of this embellishment. Even if it’s simple and easy / quick to make, it shows a lot of creativity.”

“My Little Pony Dress” by Patti Glad!

"Fun interpretation!  The beadwork is gorgeous."

“Fun interpretation! The beadwork is gorgeous.”

“Jazz Age 11th Doctor” by Maggie Schultz!

"Cute idea!  Turning the Gallifreyan into beadwork was such a fun concept."

“Cute idea! Turning the Gallifreyan into beadwork was such a fun concept.”

“1950’s Star Trek Enterprise Poodle Skirt and Top” by Melinda Mattson!

"Great idea. I love the fabric choice."

“Great idea. I love the fabric choice.”

“Dorothy of Oz Rococo Turque Hat” by Artemisia Moltabocca!



Thank you to everyone for making Challenge #4 such a success!  We are looking forward to seeing what you can come up with for Challenge #5!


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