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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 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!


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!

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