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Voting has now closed. Congratulations to you all, and thank you everyone for entering, commenting, sharing and voting!

Winners  ~  2nd place  ~  3rd place  ~  Beginner  ~  Apprentice  ~  Intermediate  ~  Experienced  ~  Advanced  ~  All Entries

Ginger by Maeri Certo Ginger by Maeri Certo

Ginger by Maeri Certo  Ginger by Maeri Certo

Ginger by Maeri Certo Ginger by Maeri Certo



Maeri Certo, Ohio, USA (Certain Sundries)

Hair, makeup, outfit, jewelry, model: Maeri Certo
Photographer: Jeni Sandor


The Design

If you saw my entry last year (Psyche, in the Beginner category), you probably know that I try to design projects that are very personal. Last year, it was remembrance of someone I lost. This year, the personal connection comes from using a building as inspiration, which is in my favorite city in the world. I used to work for Disney on Ice, and had an amazing solo vacation to Prague in 2011. It’s a city with history and art in every step you take, and Frank Gehry’s Dancing House is a perfect choice for this theme. I wanted to use inspiration that was secular, and something I’ve actually seen in person—plus, this shape is begging to be a corseted outfit! I considered various other styles, garments, etc, but kept coming back to the Dancing House. The curves and textures lend themselves to making a corseted outfit, and the glass wrap on one side and offset windows on the other are both dynamic and deconstructed. My trip to Prague was during Easter week, with stunning weather and apple blossoms round every turn, which I featured in my hair and rosy makeup, even though my photos were done on a frigid day with another of Gehry's buidlings, Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management, right in my hometown.


The Construction

I decided to challenge myself in a variety of ways, from using a formal wear pattern from Vogue for the corset, to bunches of new to me techniques: first over bust, first sequin corset, first time cutting spiral bones, first time bending flat steels, first hand sewn eyelets, first vinyl garment. An added challenge came from discovering that my once-used pattern had lost the side front (#3) and center back panels somewhere during my travels, so I had to draft them myself. Most of the materials for this outfit were either remnants from Joann Fabrics, or fabrics in my (excessive?) stash. I did order boning, busk, lacing ribbon, satin bias tape, EL wire, and the eyelet-boning channel business in between the layers of the center back panels, which I hand bound because of the sequins. I wanted the materials to create a design that was more evocative than literal, playing with shape and texture to re-imagine this deconstructionist hotel.

While I know I’ve made mistakes and/or there are things I could do better in the future, I’ve learned a lot and might be about ready to tackle the 'draft your own pattern' tutorial. I don’t think I’ll be doing a full sequin corset again any time soon, but I think the hand sewn eyelets were the right choice, and overall I am happy with the pieces I made and the journey I had in doing so.


What was it like to compete this year? What would you say to someone who is on the fence about entering next year?

This was my second year competing, but in a way, it feels more like playing show and tell with friends than competing "against" anyone. For anyone on the fence, I would repeat what I said last year: doing this can be a form of self care in that you're feeding your creative side, and add to that not to be intimidated by what you see anyone else do, because you're really just taking yourself on a journey. If you're competing against anyone, it's yourself!

More in my blog


This turned out wonderfully, and I'm amazed by how many new things you tried (and succeeded at!)
Gorgeous work.

Thank you!!
So sparkly and shiny, a brave choice of fabric, but it looks so good reflecting light on the curves, just like the original building. Great to hear you feel you learned a lot too during the process (and I love your hair!)
Thanks, Jema! Not a bad style for winging some victory rolls! :)
You look radiant, and rightfully! Congratulations on taking on all these new techniques--and for braving the sequins. What an accomplishment!
I always find your motivation and willingness to learn and push yourself inspiring, Maeri!
I still remember how your entry from last year and the story behind it moved me and I think it's great that you discovered corsetmaking as a form of selfcare. That is such a beautiful approach to create things and your entry has turned out beautiful!

Thank you, Barbara! I think your comments might make me cry. You are so sweet!
Wow, well done for challenging yourself with so many firsts! It turned out beautifully.
kitty mortensen
The result is very much something to be very prod of, both you and your piece looks stunning! I very much agree that this is the best adult-friendly show and tell in the world ^_^
Okay, using sequin fabric is brave and a bit insane ;) But you did a fabulous job, as It looks so neat and I really like the way it mirrors the structure of the Frank Gehry House, in front of which you are standing. Also, ever since I read your inspiration post I look at you and your piece and see an ice princess <3 You look beautiful :)
And you started drawing a part of your pattern yourself, thats a great step, I think the result is awesome. So next year it is completely made by your own! ;)

Damaris, I think you’re right— I should make part of next year’s goal be to draft my own pattern! I can’t wait to see what the next theme is!
Nicely done!
Such a journey in learning! The fabrics and your presentation are wonderful!
Maeri You set yourself so many challenges, this has been a really inspiring read. You look super cute. I love all the different textures and the colour palette. It's lovely xxx
Maeri, having chatted to you on IG and hearing about last year, I loved reading your story and how many new things you have tried. The sequins look super on this and with your Disney connection I definitely think there's something of princess Elsa in there!
Challenging fabric choice but what a great job and beautiful corset!
What you wrote about going on a personal journey with this competition entry really touched my heart. I will try to enter next year, too. You really motivated me! Thank you :-)
(Oh, and I've been sitting on the fence, just watching - for waaaay too long!)

marloes dadswell
Loving your inspiration and bold fabric choices. The result is fabulous and so are you!
Hi my inspirational-twin! I had to giggle as I read your description of the inspiration - I just felt the same! Love your corset - and the photoshoot scene is also fantastically chosen :) (BTW how brilliant that we did not name the entry the same? I was so freaked out when I saw your Instagram entry that you are also inspired by this building and yet both our entries are unique!)
It's awesome to see you continue to challenge yourself and grow. A fully sequined corset is a big deal! Congrats!
Great job using challenging fabrics. You look fabulous! I love the "glass" wrap effect.
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