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The 2020 Competition is now over.
The 2021 Theme will be chosen by our Members in April!

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

 

"Beauty for Ashes" by Hannah Joy on YouTube

 

 Beauty for Ashes     Beauty for Ashes

Beauty for Ashes       Beauty for Ashes

Beauty for Ashes

 

 

Beauty for Ashes

Hannah Joy Hopkins, New Hampshire, USA (Hannah Joy Hopkins)

Inspiration and Mood Board: Pinterest

Other Credits:

Model: Karielle M. Anzaldi
Photographer: Geoffrey Smith
Videographer: Julian Rizzuto
Youtube: TRIBE/\GONZO"

 

The Design

My primary thought on Renewal was not to directly represent any of the related images in mythology or religion; rather to embody the spirit of renewal. The secondary thought on the secondary theme of Repurpose gave me a clear limitation on my project: use what I have in my studio first. I have been collecting fabric and bits since I was about 12 years old, so this is the perfect project to enlist all those fabrics that have been waiting patiently. I kept being drawn to this rainbow fashion fabric, purchased a few years ago.

“But…why?” I asked myself. Why are rainbows renewal? I found a few pictures of light going through a prism, and it struck me that light through a prism is divided in the same order every time. Chaos to order--every time. There it was; the authentic connection to the spiritual renewal I secretly craved. Moving from chaos to order, Trading sorrow for joy, a crown of beauty for ashes, rebuilding the cities long devastated, the refining of ore in a fire to yield pure gold, are the promises throughout scripture.

I wanted to show the trade for Beauty instead of Ashes. Dark to light and rough to smooth. The bottom of the dress is near rags, moving into large patchwork pieces of velvet, lace, and textured fabrics, jumbling up, then moving to smaller, smoother patches as it blends into the pattern of the silky rainbow fire fabric up into gold collar and a crystal prism.

 

The Construction

This dress is constructed around a single layer corset with floating lining. I drafted the pattern using the Draft Your Corset Pattern Article (C. Hay, FR, 2010); it has 10 pieces and a 3” waist-reduction. I designed this to be the stealthiest of stealth corsets, thanks to Making an Invisible “Stealth” Corset (M. Polteck, FR), where the boning channels use only the seam allowance. This was done so that the front panel could be cut on the bias and show as little of the corset as possible.

The dress shell is cut in just three pieces: a front panel with slit cut on the bias and two back panels. This was the first project generating my own patterns. I reused the lining from a wedding dress to mock-up the train pattern; I wanted a silhouette that was slim but flowing. I reused it again by painting it for the finished lining. The shell was embellished with patches and embroidery then hand stitched to the outside of the corset.

The gold collar is satin and canvas with my first application of pad stitching ever around the shoulders. The prism collar is iridescent cellophane and gold glitter tulle laminated together with boning channels sewn in. It was challenging to figure out how to shape and support the neckline of the dress. The corset extends up to the neckline, and there are bones that go from the front center of the dress up into the prism collar, and around the back of the neck line.

 

Materials Used

From my stash:
Rainbow silk-rayon satin I fell in love with and purchased a few years ago.
Cotton velvets collected to my stash from 12 years old.
Polyester velvet, knit crushed pan velvet, upholstery velvet from another maker's scrap collection.
Something poylester-ish with goldwork purchased from the de-stash group for the FR Stichlings on FB.
Brocade and damask scraps from past costume and sewing projects.
Polyester table cloth samples from a job I hated.
Quilting cotton from another corset lining project.
Cotton coutil left over from a commission project.
Vintage knit top with beading from an antique show.
Lace and lining fabric harvested from two wedding dresses, dyed to match.
Black laces purchased for but not used in other projects
A thrifted formal occasion top dismantled for embellishments.
Tie-dyed black and grey knit from another theater project.
Lots of mystery shiny and textural scraps collected from other crafters over the past several years.
Embroidery thread circa 10 years old I found when cleaning up my studio.
Iridescent cellophane leftover from a friend's fairy-wing adventure.
Gold glitter tulle repurposed from a friends bridal shower.
Pre-cut flat steel bones

Purchased:
Remnant boning pieces for the longer bones needed
more grommets
Gold embroidery thread
sequin fabric that was the perfect color for the bottom of the dress, rescued from the fabric store the first week of designing this project. Sometime the right fabric just follows you home.

 

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

This project gave me one really big goal that I had to plan out and make time for amidst the gigs I had already committed to. I knew I would need accountability, so I asked a friend to model for me instead of fitting this project for myself. I have many different skill sets, and this project helped me integrate many of them in surprising ways (see my website).

To one who has been stalking this competition for a year or two and desires to participate (*cough..not me at all last year), get up and do it! Having a big goal and putting all the different skills you may have been practicing into real practice is really satisfying. If you are not sure how to start, read a FR article that interests you or listen to some of the CosTubers and how they organize their design, development, and production process. Every project is an experiment, experiments have a process, learn the process, trust the process.

 

 

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kitty mortensen
Wow, well done, I love how you used the Scraps and the chaos to order. It resonates so much, well done
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hannahjoy
Thanks, Kitty. You comments are so appreciated. I kept referring to your submission from last year to stay motivated in doing the extra work to make my results what I really intended.
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kitty mortensen
Thank you so much, That means a lot to me <3.
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It's beautiful! I love all the different colors, it's so bright yet it works so well together in one garment.
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hannahjoy
Thank you! I love colors and how they flow together.
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Rossanne Hamilton
I love that train, with all the different pieces going from dark to colourful. It's so effective and eyecatching
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hannahjoy
Thanks, Rossanne. The train took me so long to figure out. I’m glad it works.
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certainsundries
Your concept is a wonderful idea, and you created something beautiful!
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hannahjoy
Thank you! This theme has been so fun to explore.
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mollyc
I love how you were able to integrate the scraps with the main fabric. It’s clear how much thought went into this, you did an amazing job!
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kirstymitchell
This is a really beautiful vibrant interpretation Hannah. I love your use of the additional patches making all the colours cascade.
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hannahjoy
Thanks, Kristy. This project ended up integrating many skills including a secret desire to make a crazy quilt.
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So in love with all the colors !
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rebecca_robinson
This is wonderfully bright, the prism collar really made me smile! Such a unique take on the theme too, I hope you enter again next year.
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Doro
Gorgeous!
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arianabauer
I love both your concept and your art! So pretty and its so cool you drafted your own patterns and took that next step.
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bernadettebanner
What an extraordinary amount of work clearly went into this! I love your concept, and your execution is simply magical!
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Joy R.
The contrast between the snow and tropical festivities in the gown is invigorating. And the luminescent hood frames your face beautifully!
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hannahjoy
Thank you, Joy! I am very happy I rediscovered this location. I found it a year ago and then forgot about it. In December as I was planning the shoot I rediscovered this set of 1920s ruins in New Hampshire. A costume designer of the time, Madame Sherri (who was apparently responsible for the original Zigfield Follies), built it as a weekend home/party home. It burned down in the ‘60s. I feels like a fitting location for such a project.
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Jenn K
beautiful! This is one of my favorite fabrics currently in my stash- I still can't cut into it! Well done!
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Hannah Joy
Haha! Thanks Jenn. I was so nervous, but also for me there is no better project to use it on. I did make some cutting mistakes but was able to piece things back together. I am starting to feel that few things in sewing and art are irreparable. Use your favorite fabrics first!!
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Heather
Beautiful! I love the way it moves.
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hannahjoy
Thankyou!
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cmurph03
The colors of this dress are stunning and that collar is amazing.
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Kay
All I can say is..... YYYYYAAAAAAASSS SSSS QUEEN!
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lyrisdesign
This is really beautiful! I love how sleek and smooth the corset is, and your creativity with the hem and patchwork elements of the dress. Well done on the difficult collar shapes, it looks fantastic.
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jema
Wow! you have brought something truly unique and beautiful from the chaos of random scraps and leftovers, fantastic pattern cutting too!
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hannahjoy
Thanks Jema! It took a lot of staring at things and making paper mock-ups today figure out how to get what I wanted.
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Jennifer Stone
Those colours are amazing, they pop so magically.
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klarahall
It's one of the entries that stayed in my mind, the colors are just a delight!
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sauve piecemaker
I'm impressed. What I great idea and how beautiful it turned out! Nicely told and nicely done.
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olafsonv
Wow! Wow! WOW!!
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Liz M
How ambitious! It looks marvellous and clearly demonstrates improving skills and rewarded risk-taking. Well done!
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Katrina Ehrnman-Newton
This is spectacular! The movement and color is fascinating to linger over. I feel like the model is the queen of tropical fish in the best possible sense, it's got this wonderful combination of sleekness and then lots of texture and detail as it swishes down. Wonderful work, so glad you decided to do it!
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Gallagher Green
Great work!
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Gayle Troy
Oh, Hannah Joy, this is amazing! Love the colors, the styling, and - most of all - the thought and desires behind your decisions. Congratulations on such a wonderful entry!
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royalblack
Your pictures and description really brought a smile to my face.
The colours and shapes are delightful and work really well together. Great job and beautiful presentation!

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lcostigliolo
The dress is stunning and really well presented. Well done for drafting your own patterns and trying new techniques!
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I adore wide necklines like this. A stunning piece!
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AV
the colors are so vibrant and fun! you have truly captured an interesting side of the theme with this creation!
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paulay71
I love this, your design is so elegant. The colours and fabrics are beautiful.
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Wow wow wow!!! The vibrant colours and textures of your creation are stunning! I love the way you made the embellishment flow up into the silk. I really enjoyed reading your write up for this project and understanding how you interpreted the competition themes. I watched your video a few times and kept seeing more details each time. Well done!
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marloes dadswell
Loving the drama of this piece. So vibrant and fabulous!
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lederwerk
I love your design, it really stands out and your colour choice is stunning!
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Coralie DW
Whaou, you really are a fantasy and fantastic queen !
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