Shear-Madness logo

Our 20th Quarterly Shear Madness Costuming Challenge was “Shades of GOLD” which was, just like the title says, all about golden costumes, from warm shades of yellow to bright, shiny metallics!

Shear Madness is a celebration of all costuming genres. We were so pleased and proud of the variety of costumes and accessories submitted to this challenge!

Without further ado, here are the winners of the Shade of GOLD challenge:

Honorable Mention: Excellent Accessory Design

Blinged Out Biker Cap” by Magz Ross

“This was a hat that I made for our local community theatres production of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, which was staged in June 2018 in Calgary. It was worn by Bob at the finale. This was a $10 plastic black cap from our local costume shop. I inserted buckram to make the sides and top stiff and solid, then covered it in a layer of modge podge. Then the fun began with the jewels in the glitter. I was going for a look that might be worn at Burning Man. Finally a layer or two of spray on varnish to seal it. It was a great success when he came out wearing it.”

*Judges’ comments

“I love this hat.”

“Very fun!

Honorable Mention: Outstanding Movie Recreation

The Sovereign” by Monty Hodorowski

“I sew costumes as a form of physical therapy & mental rehabilitation. A car ran a red light, hitting my SUV & flipped it spinning like a top through the intersection. Neurologist say I have Traumatic Brain Injury & they don’t have rehabilitation for patients over 35years old. “The Sovereign” is a character from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy vol.2 movie. It was difficult to find reference photos because there is so much CGI in the movie. She is completely gold, including her skin. I bought a metallic gold long sleeve bodysuit and wore gold makeup. I wore it in February to The Weekend Blender.”

The dress structure was simple. It was all the tiny details that were challenging.The front of the torso is made from many individually cut layers of craft foam that are covered in various metallic cricut adhesive vinyl. The skirt is metallic gold textured mesh flatlined over a gold satin. 
  The 2 panels on top of the skirt are a metallic gold textured mesh over a thin vinyl. The edges are trimmed with metallic bronze wired ribbon. The art deco inspired design on these panels are craft foam covered in various metallic cricut adhesive vinyls as well as metallic ribbon & pieces of a gold plastic placemat. The helmet is metallic gold streach fabric over craft foam. Under the helmet is the same gold streach fabric as a form fitted hood that tucks into the mock turtleneck of the bodysuit. I wore shiny gold metallic tennis shoes that have colored lights (like the Infinity Stones) that blink in different sequences. Shoes & bodysuit were purchased, the rest was made by me.”

*Judges’ comments

I think the attention to detail is really good, and quite clever, considering the lack of good source photos. They have the look down, and the use of materials is fantastic.

This is a good replica of a costume that was probably mostly CGI in the movievery creative in using different elements to achieve the look.

GOLD CHALLENGE: Third Place Winner

“Rynch Karh Empress Guard” by Bethany Padron

“I designed a series of Four Guards of the Siliquari Empress (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper) Since I had leftover gold pieces from a number of previous projects; gold was a go. The choli is teal satin with gold sheer trim over yellow cotton in a mock neck style. The belt is boned and made of teal twill and gold leaf leather.”

“The pants were dyed to match and have the same trim as the top. The skirt, drape and hood were made from a thrift shop sari. I purchased sandals and added the toe blades with worbla scraps. The spearhead is carved insulation foam and worbla on top of a shower curtain rod.”

“I made the prosthetic with a clay sculpt around a resin cast eye and then slush cast with liquid neoprene. To finish off the look I painted wrist and ankle bands and made a headband to hide my blue hair!”

*Judges’ comments

 I love that this is an entire look – everything is there for a reason. The colors are gorgeous and it looks very comfortable.

I have no idea what this references, but the colors are gorgeous. The use of leftover and thrifted fabrics to create this was very clever. The finishing details look great, and all the accessory pieces are also well done.

GOLD CHALLENGE: Second Place Winner

“British Imperial State Crown and Coronation Orb & Sceptre” by Debbie Redfern [aka Red Stone Dreamery]

“I made the following pieces, my replicas of the British Imperial State Crown and Coronation Orb & Sceptre, in April & May 2018 as part of my ever-growing collection of royalty cosplay accessories.”

“I used a bunch of cheap costume jewelry, a curtain rod, a wood ball, crystals & rhinestones, metal pieces, foam, fur, spray paint, and lots of E-6000 glue to assemble them all. “

[Top: The Original Crown Jewels. Bottom: Debbie’s Recreations.]

“This was my first attempt at making this type of thing and I’m really pleased with how well it turned out. And the crown is surprisingly comfortable to wear despite it’s weight (guessing about 3 lbs).”

*Judge’s comments:

#1. I am impressed that someone has a collection of crown jewel replicas. #2. The attention to detail in recreating it using less expensive materials is very good. #3. I would like my own set.

“Amazing work and accuracy to reference.”

Woah, just woah. These are amazing props!

GOLD CHALLENGE: First Place Winner

A Star’s Light” by Stephanie (aka Sutie) of Sutie Silver Fyre Studio

“This costume held many challenges from trying to interpret the art to learning how to work with new materials.

The art from the manga studio CLAMP has always captivated me. The stories told with their art is inspiring. Enough so that I wanted to create one of their fantastic works in real life. I made this for and entered it into Anime Los Angeles Masquerade.”

[Artist’s Inspiration Image]

“One of the major elements of the costume that I was excited to do was use gold mirror acrylic. The 2D art imply that the stars on the dress and used as accessories are reflective or metallic. This had me thinking about a material to use for quite some time. How would I portray this? I got the idea from some mirror acrylic stickers. Then I did some research on them to see if gold was an option. It was! Though I couldn’t find the size and shapes I needed. This meant I will need to create my own so… Now to test and learn about using acrylic.

I had some scrap clear acrylic sheet on hand left over from a prop I created. Using those pieces I experimented. First was figuring out how to cut it. I tried saws, both manual and electric, and heat. Both were not working for the fine detail I needed. I had a friend that had access to a laser cutter and contacted them to see if it would work on acrylic sheets. The answer is yes, yes it does.

Next I looked into color. I did attempt a mirror paint that you can apply to the back of clear acrylic but it didn’t quite have as high quality as the colored acrylic. So I had to start reaching out to companies to find sheets of gold mirror acrylic.

 I took a short safety course on how to use the laser cutter and learned what programs it worked with. There’s many variables when laser cutting such as laser power, speed, and how many times for it to go over the same spot. With these variables you can control if it does a full cut, etch, or simply catch fire. When it came time to cut the mirror acrylic, my experienced friend advised we tape the back. This is to protect the mirror back from burning. The laser tends to do a slight burn to the surface edge of what it’s cutting and I did not want that esthetic for this particular project. I had created the shapes I needed in a word document. Moons stars and bats. Then we were able to export it into inkscape, which the laser cutter is compatible with.”

“The acrylic isn’t the only gold challenge I faced with this costume, though it may be the flashiest. An interesting aspect of this gown is that the lining is just as detailed as the outside. On the lining of this gown there’s a mural of Sun and Stars. The golden sun has a two tone effect and stars of a golden copper. Again the art depicts it as metallic. So for the sun I turned to vinyl. I was able to find two distinct shades of gold metallic vinyl to use for this 4 foot sun. Because of the large scale of the pieces to create the sun I could not use an at home vinyl cutting machine, so I carefully sketched out each piece and cut it by hand. Lining everything up was like a puzzle that turned out beautifully. The golden copper stars on the lining of this costume was done with a fabric paint I made with Jacquard Pearl Ex powdered pigment in Super Copper and flexible fabric adhesive. This may not have been the best medium to use but I was running short on time and was using what I had on hand. It wasn’t until later that I discovered why fabric adhesive was not the best idea.

I created 10 stencils from cardstock to get crisp lines and identical repeatability for the stars. The first set went well. I painted the stars on and waited an hour before removing the stencil to paint on more. By the time the second set was done it was time for bed so I left the project be so I could return to it later. When I did I discovered that the adhesive attached the stencil to the fabric! It was surely stuck. I had to find a way to save this taffeta lining! The only thing I could think of was to cut it away. Very carefully using an exacto knife I was able to cut the stencil away. It actually came away very cleanly. The edges were crisp. This would be a very tedious job but the piece had to be saved. I had wanted to give up at this point. There was so much work to be done and time was short. My husband stepped in to help me cut away all of the cardboard stencils and provide the support I needed to keep going.”

“The vinyl sun wasn’t the only two toned gold details on the costume. There’s also two toned gold smoke patterns on the coat and tapestry. Again, the artwork depicted it as being metallic. There’s only so many metallic fabrics out there and I had to find something that withstand satin stitching as the smoke on the white jacket showed a thick black outline around it. The iron on vinyl wasn’t an option. So I went for a search of fabrics that could take being punctured with a needle repeatedly. I settled on a stretch vinyl and a metallic spandex. These were by far the hardest fabrics to applique and satin stitch on that I’ve ever done.  Delightfully the results turned out great and I had two tone metallic details appliqued on the wizards coat (as I had begun to call it) and tapestry.

My next challenge was finding a metallic gold bias tape. If I wanted to use something besides lame I was in for quite the search. I settled on another type of vinyl. I couldn’t find a metallic gold vinyl bias tape that was wide enough to wrap my edges at least a half inch. So I bought half inch wide in twice the amount I needed and zig-zag stitched two half inch together with the stitch going down the outer fold. My machine most certainly didn’t like this but I got what I needed to finish up my costume.”

“As you can see, this costume held many challenges but the results were marvelous. I ended up working on it up until a few hours before I had to get ready for the competition but it was at a presentable point. I’m proud of how this turned out even though I can still see some improvements that can be made.

A fun side note about the mirror acrylic on this costume; they are mirrors and therefore act as mirrors do. You can see yourself while looking at it, fix your hair or makeup. But also, during my performance on stage with stage lights my friends in the audience told me the dark ballroom filled with stars while I was on stage. Which was pretty fantastic as my performance was a monologue about how each and every person, every star, is important and it takes just a little care or outreach of one person to help them glow bright.”

*Judge’s comments:

“Acrylic, vinyl, fabric paint, sewing, trim, wig, accessories, as well as crafting skill, and lots of construction information, and inspiration reference…overall amazing work, good fit, multiple materials, and accuracy to reference.”

This is really close to the source image. It isn’t overwhelmingly gold, but literally every piece of it has gold somewhereThe gold applique on the arm things and the underskirt is really stunning.

I love this. I love the colors and I love her execution. She tried something new and it turned out very well. Everything looks crisp.

In addition to the regular awards, the judges also decided the following entry deserved special recognition for its outstanding historically-inspired craftsmanship.

GOLD CHALLENGE: Judge’s Choice Award

Steampunk Admiral” by Sara Örn Tengstrand

“The Admiral stands on a cliff, having left the busy ship for a while to ponder her strategies in silence and enjoy the sea.

The inspiration for this costume comes from some different sources: neo-Victorian costumes from two computer games, 18th century coats, the gold-work embroidery on 19th century military uniforms, and some 1880’s does 1700’s ladies bodices.”

“The coat is made in wool, with about 40 m of braiding handstitched on collar, lapels, and cuffs. The wider trim is a vintage trim I found. The base pattern for the coat is actually from a Tudor dress, and then I constructed lapels, collar, and cuffs and added them. The hat is a 18th century bicorne, a model that was not uncommon for military wear during the 19th century.  I constructed the hat pattern based on a pattern sketch I found on the internet, made it up in buckram and wire, and covered it with the same black wool as the gown. The black wool is very easy to work with, as it drapes well, and the soft matte fabric efficiently hides stitches that would show on the right side in a more unforgiving fabric. That was important, as the lapels, collar, cuff, and the hat brim was finished separately and then hand stitched in place afterwards. The blouse and jabot is also made by me from my own pattern.”

“An important part when designing this costume was to make it flexible in size – more specific, it has to be able to fit over a growing belly, as I am pregnant. This was quite a challenge, as I don’t know what size I will be much beforehand, and hopefully, I will go to an event in my late pregnancy. Thus, the design with an open coat, a blouse with lots of width, and a vest that will later be changed for a much larger one.”

The biggest challenge, except for finding a size-flexible design, was designing the braiding and the other trim. I wanted the braiding to resemble the oak leafs embroidered on collars on military uniforms, organic and flowing but still powerful. It was important to keep the coat looking like a coat, not becoming a dress. As of yet, I have only worn the costume for a photo session, but I am very happy with how it turned out.”

*Judges’ comments

Tremendous amount of effortlooks like a replica.

I love this coat...The braiding is beautiful, and I love the fact that it was made to be modified for pregnancy.

The amount of hand work that went into this is just astounding! The coat lays so well and the shaping of the collars is perfect.


We would also like to recognize the creativity of the many other members who entered their wonderful costume creations in the GOLD challenge, including:

Snow White All Grown Up” by Rhonda

Judge’s comment: “I like the added embroidery and gold over skirtthe gold adds an extra touch of fantasy.”

Lady Regina Delarosa of Venice is Sinking” by Michelle

Judge’s comment: “This is very indicative of Carnevale. She used her color choices well, and the accessories are very fun.

18th Century Symphony Waistcoat” by Jennifer

Judge’s comment: “Very understated elegant waistcoat...looks very sleek and comfortable

Sexy Little Thing” by Susan

Judge’s comment: “The gold fabric with the roses was a romantic choice.”

Tudor Honey” by Bethany

Judge’s comment: “A classic outfit for a Renaissance Fair trip”

Thanks to all the wonderful entries we received for Challenge #20!

And a big thank you to our panel of Challenge #20 Judges as well!

Leah Lloyd

leah lloyd judge

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

Laura Ulak


Laura Ulak is the founder of Shear Madness and co-founder of the MN Society of Costumers. She has been costuming for over 20 years, and has costumed everyone from bearded Santas to Drag Queens to Ren Fest Queens. She is a Master’s level award winning masquerade costumer. She currently spends her spare time outfitting high school students for fall plays and spring musicals. She learns something new everyday at Shear Madness, and loves the supportive environment of people who remember the fun in costuming.

Amanda Fineran


Amanda Fineran has been making her own costumes since she was in high school and specializes in Star Wars, kids costumes, and leathercraft. She won 3rd Place in the Shear Madness Adorable Alert Challenge with her daughter’s Willy Wonka costume. Amanda is also a member of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion – organizations whose members create screen accurate Star Wars costumes and wear them at parades, events, and hospital visits. She is also President of Costumers for a Cause – an organization that helps connect the costumers with the people who need them.

*The order of judges’ comments has been randomized for each entry.

We are always excited to see the talented artists of Shear Madness share their creations with us. We want to see what you’ve made, too! Shear Madness Challenges are open to all costumers  of all skill levels and genres. Entering is always free and winners get nifty digital badges to display on their websites, blogs, Facebook Profiles, or anywhere else. They are called “Challenges” because the aim is to challenge yourself to et inspired, make your design dreams a reality, try a new technique,  and take pride in your artistic accomplishments. Check out past challenges and challenge winners by clicking the “Past Challenges” link at the top of the page to see all the other fabulous creations from the past 5+ years!

Looking for other like-minded, fabric-loving, costume-wearing folks like yourself? Request to join the SHEAR MADNESS FACEBOOK GROUP!



    • Liz says:

      Shear Madness is full of talented artists and a wide variety of costume types! Challenges are open to all ages, skill levels, and genres. ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s