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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


 Klara Hallmann   Klara Hallmann

  Klara HallmanKlara Hallman

 Klara HallmannKlara Hallman 


Soul of Leaves

Klara Hallman, Hesse, Germany

YouTube: Hall & Schall

IG: Hallundschall

A BIG thank you goes out to my lovely, volunteering model (anonymous)! It was a pleasure to work with you!


The Design

Leaves falling down in the harsh wind of fall. In their death they are building up a blanket for everything that has to go, making space for winter. And in this time of change a spirit rises from decay, dressed in a cape of dead leaves, to wander through the world of living, judging the bond between nature and creature. The soul watches us rise and fall, please her or betray the earth that has kept us alive. With fondness the Leaves-Spirit witnesses everyone who respects it in word and action and with the very coldness of its dead heart it judges the ones dismissing her. Ending the journey in the cold, back in the place of birth the spirit drops its cape possessing the hollow trees. Leaves changing their color from red to green over time, trees bringing life and fruit to those righteous, branches staying rough and naked for the blind. The ghost renews its promise to watch, visiting us again every year, deciding upon the fate of the living, nurturing them or advancing the path of destruction.

I tried to use as many materials as possible from my fabric stash, in an effort not to waste anything. For the materials I had to newly acquire I tried to minimize the footprint I'm leaving on earth with this project. This was especially interesting when it came to the fabric dyeing and at the point where I decided against plastic boning. More on this on my YouTube Chanel.


The Construction

At the beginning of this project I decided against participating, because I already had so many projects needing to be finished. After one night without sleep I gave up on that resolution and started to plan and do my research. Using Foundations Revealed and Patterns of Fashion 5 my idea was starting to seem doable, despite many firsts.

I dyed the fabric for the cape, made a pattern, sewed it and started to let the embroidery grow. In the mean time I enlarged the pattern 'Smooth-Covered Court Stays 1690-1710' (PoF5, p.78-79) according to the measurements of my model and made multiple mockups. One of them I ended up using. With it being boned I felled down the allowance and whip stiched the parts together. Pieces of stiffened linen were added and then I prepared the bits for which I intended as the leaf application. I layered the covering pieces over the foundation by hand. A few eyelets, a bit of fingerloop braiding, and some hooks and eyes to keep the cape in place later when the photoshoot took place. The most interesting part of this journey was when I had to change my plans and when things didn’t work out. Originally what kept me lying awake the whole night was the idea of a 'self-renewing' cape – covered in real leaves which would compost to reveal the embroidery. I planned it out, tests and trials went great, execution failed. But the next fall will come. New leaves will fall. And I SHALL BE UNSTOPPABLE!


Materials Used

Cape: Calico

        Black tea & Aluminiumacetat tatrat DAB 10 (Aluminium Acetotartrate)

        Polyester embroidery floss, different colors

        Poly- and cotton threads, different colors 


Stays: Renforcé cotton white (foundation)

        Orange cotton fabric (fashion fabric, base for application, lining)

        Green imitation silk

        Dark red embroidered taffeta

        Dark brown denim 


        Stiffened linen 

        Rattan (boning)

        Poly- and cotton threads, different colors

        Orange knitting yarn (finger loop braid, lacing)

        Metal eyelets 



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

Go for it! It's a journey of personal growth--at least it was for me. Suffer, learn, succeed and be proud. Overcoming your personal sewing fears is a big step in becoming better as a sewer (and as a person), and who doesn’t want to see his skills sprout? It's your turn.


kitty mortensen
I love the story and your entry. Beautifully done
It's beautiful! I love the autumnal vibes
The details are very interesting and lovely to read about all of your processes Klara
This looks so majestic! I love the influence of stays—they give such a wonderful shape!
Joy R.
The patchwork on the stays looks so perfectly fall-ish. Best wishes on conquering the composting cape next fall! That sounds like a fascinating artistic endeavor.
I love the leaf stitching around the bottom of the cape. Very colorful and cute. Great job!
A beautiful corset and a really interesting idea. I love how it turned out, and I would love to see the self renewing cape come to life as you had planned in the future!
What a beautiful concept! Experimenting with dyes was very innovative too
I can only agree with the previous comments:
I enjoyed reading about the background story and how you interpreted historical stays.
Well done for pushing yourself and participating!

The shape of the stays is really beautiful, I love how you told the story behind the outfit, Well done!
Lovely shape to these sweet stays. Your enthusiasm to try something again that originally failed is admirable - it's what design is all about!
I really loved reading about your inspiration and journey with this project. Your enthusiasm and determination are empowering to see!
I admire the neatness of your hand stitching on the stays - it's such a lovely detail.

Your use of patchwork on the stays creates a lovely texture and the autumnal colours are lovely.
marloes dadswell
What a lovely design and I loved reading the backstory to this entry. So well thought of!
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