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Carla Erna Wilhelmine Scholz, 1919 HamburgYour Wardrobe Unlock'd™ is all about encouraging you to make better historical clothing. Part of the way we do this is through our Costume Competitions, which challenge and inspire you to show off what you've learnt!

You don't have to be a world class costumer to take part! The point of the Competition is to get you trying things you wouldn't normally try, and to stretch you a little way outside your comfort zone, no matter what level of skill or experience you have, in a safe environment where we're all supporting each other. Some of you will be able to share your experience and ideas; others will show us your journey along a huge learning curve. Don't ever underestimate yourself and overestimate everyone else! Have a go!

There is a lot more to it than the competitive element. All entries are uploaded to the website and displayed publicly during our week of voting, to be celebrated, admired and supported by everyone. The comments give you a great boost of encouragement from like-minded enthusiasts, you give others the opportunity to admire and learn from your experience, and those of you with more confidence will get the publicity you might be looking for.

 "I took this contest to try out new techniques and it really helped me progress!" - Emilie Derville, France

"I loved having a set theme and deadline which made me actually start (and more importantly finish) working on something." - Anonymous survey response

"It is challenging, very inspiring, great source of eye-candy and fun above all."- Anonymous survey response


Please note some minor changes to the rules for 2017, given below in red.


For the 2017 Competition the themes are....

Theme 1: Everyday Vintage Revolution - Bringing Back the Glamour

What's happened to everyday fashion? The utter boredom felt by most people about current fashion is no secret. It's the reason why many of us started sewing historical clothes in the first place. We want a piece of glamour, a small snippet of another time that will make our hearts sing with joy.

That's all good in theory, but after a few years costuming, many of us have to admit a hard truth:

Little of what we work so hard to create makes it into our everyday wardrobe. We have all slaved away for months to finish dresses for special events, but they are worn once, maybe twice, and then put into the closet. 

So join us this year in bringing some of those gorgeous historical and vintage styles out of the special events closet and into your daily wardrobe. Our theme this year to integrate historical styles into modern wardrobes, whether it’s Regency styles,  Dior's New Look, or 1920’s styles à la Miss Fisher, or crossing Edwardian with post-WWII fashions as the Teddy Girls and Boys did. Whatever era you choose, the goal is to make something that you will actually wear and enjoy, and not just for a historical event or ball!

To give you some initial inspiration, here's our Mood Board

 Mrs Caws travelling to London and Mrs Stewart for India, 1920s  photographer Sam Hood State Library of New South Wales, Item ID: 10428



Theme 2: Stepped out of a Portrait or Photograph

Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun  Comtesse de CérèsIf our main theme is just not your thing, or you are already focused on making something else that's fabulous for this year and don't want to be distracted, then this category is for you!

Pick a period dress or outfit from a museum or a personal collection, either an actual garment or a painting or photo of a garment. Recreate it exactly, or interpret it to suit your figure/coloring/aesthetic, keeping in mind period fashion sense. You should look like you stepped out of a painting or a photo from the time.

When you send in your entry, please include a link or a photo of the original portrait or artwork that you are working from so we can fully admire your awesome creation!

But remember: your entry will look all the more awesome if we can publish the image of the original next to your creation, so do pick something that is in an image we can use - either your own image or a public domain image! Easy rule of thumb: if it appears on Wikimedia Commons, we can use it!)



If you're interested in writing an article on these new themes to help the members prepare for the 2017 Competition, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Quick Links

Planning your Competition entry
Skill Categories
How to Enter


  • Closing date for entries - Mon February 6th, 2017
  • Entries appear on the website and voting begins - Sat February 25th 2017
  • Voting closes- Sat March 4th, 2017
  • Winners are announced, prizes are awarded - Tues March 7th, 2017
  • New theme announced - Sat March 18th, 2017


Planning your Competition entry

We've already published some articles to help you with planning your entry:

Project Planning for Success
Tackling Ambitious Projects
Photographing Garments in the Studio
The Commons on Flickr - A great resource for photos (remember, all photos must be either public domain or your own, unless permission is obtained).



Skill Categories

Entries will be judged in three separate skill level categories:

  • Beginner - If virtually every project you can think of is a completely new experience, you're a Beginner.
  • Improver - If you have some experience and you think you could make a passable effort at a selection of different types of costumes, you're an Improver.
  • Experienced - If you think you could probably make a pretty awesome job of most costumes, you're Experienced.
  • Everyone's interpretations of these three categories will be slightly different, so once we've received all the entries, we reserve the right to shuffle entries around amongst the categories to create a level playing field. (In other words, we often end up shifting a few people up a category, because you're all so darned modest!)



Winners in each category will receive:

  • A $200 gift certificate for the online store of their choice.
  • A year's free subscription to Wardrobe and Foundations Revealed™.
  • A special 'Winner' icon to place on their website, blog or profile.

Runners-up in each category will each receive: 

  • Six months' free subscription to Wardrobe and Foundations Revealed™.
  • A special 'Runner-up' icon to place on their website, blog or profile.


How to Enter

Mary Charleson 1915You will not need to send the garments themselves to us - our members are located all over the world and we'd be as heartbroken as you would be if your clothes got lost or damaged in the mail. In any case, we're not going to judge them: YOU are!


Photograph the clothes you make; we'll use these photos and your description as your entry. Your permission to use those things on our websites is granted by entering them, but the copyright on the photos and text remains your own.

You can enter a maximum of five photos, which will need to be attached to your entry email. One of these photos can be replaced with a video. Composite images count as the number of images that have been combined (in other words, you can't circumvent the image limit by using photo manipulation software to combine multiple images).

Dress diary (optional)

Keep a 'dress diary' on your blog if you have one; we'd love to link to it. This is optional, but the great advantage is that you can include as many pictures as you like on your blog, over and above the five picture limit for your main entry, and we'll link to it. Remember to use a tag so that voters can access your complete dress diary at once without needing to sift through other journal entries!

If you're not familiar with the term, a 'dress diary' is simply a blog that you keep during the making of an outfit. It documents how you made the garment(s), what problems you came across and how you solved them, including any making-of pictures, and all your triumphs and tribulations during the project. They're great to look back on and they help us all to learn from each other's experiences.

Your Entry Email

In order to enter we need to receive your entry email by 5pm EST on Mon February 6th, 2017. The title of the email should be 'FR Competition' and it should be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The email will need to contain:

  • Your name (ie. the name of the maker or makers, clearly indicating the spokesperson for joint entries).
  • Your username.
  • Your email address (if different from the one you're writing from!),
  • An attached text or Word document containing:
  • The title of your entry. Give it a name - brief, clear and memorable works best!
  • Your skill level category (see above, Skill Categories)
  • Brief description of your entry (about 500 words), including anything you'd particularly like us to know about it: inspiration, fabric, unique or interesting techniques or materials, any particular challenges you overcame, etc.
  • Link to your dress diary, if you've made one (optional).
  • Please include the following legal text in your email, which officially gives us your permission to publish your entry on the site: I hereby grant Harman Hay Publications Inc the irrevocable right to use the text and images that are attached to, or linked from, this email on any products, and in any digital or traditional media or content.
  • Attach up to FIVE high resolution photographs to your email (do not give us Photobucket/Flickr/Facebook links.) Remember, all photos must be either public domain (easy rule of thumb: if it appears on Wikimedia Commons, we can use it) or your own, otherwise we will need the following permissions:
    • You must provide links demonstrating where you found any images you want us to use that aren't yours, so that we can either see that they're public domain and use them, or see that they aren't and link to them instead.
    • We also need written (email) permission from your photographer, if you are using photos of your work taken by someone else. Again, they will need to provide the text: I hereby grant Harman Hay Publications Inc the irrevocable right to use the text and images that are attached to, or linked from, this email on any products, and in any digital or traditional media or content. Alternatively, we are happy to enter into negotiations with your photographer as to what usage they're comfortable with.
    • The same applies to professional models.
  • You may also submit one VIDEO of up to 60 seconds in place of one of your photos. Please do not email us video files. Instead, provide a link to YouTube or Vimeo where it is uploaded (and don't forget to make the video "public"!)

Your entry will be uploaded to the website, giving our members and the public the opportunity to see your work. The winners will then be decided by a vote among all the members and FR team.


  1. You will need to be a Your Wardrobe Unlock'd member for two months during the competition in order to enter - ie. at least from before the closing date up until the date that the winners are announced. We do believe that it's fair to ask you to be a paying member in return for advertising your work on this platform.
  2. You may enter only ONCE in the competition at Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, but you can enter the simultaneous competition on Foundations Revealed in addition to this.
  3. No purchased, rented, or inherited garment may be entered; the entry must be your own work.
  4. Writers are welcome to enter, but they must not enter a garment or outfit that has been the major feature of an article or articles written for us.
  5. Joint entries of up to three people are welcome, provided that you are all members (see 1). The skill level of the group is defined as the skill level of the member who was most involved in construction, or the most experienced member if it really was an equal joint effort. You will need to decide on a spokesperson. Prizes for joint entries will be awarded to the spokesperson to divide up as s/he sees fit. All members of the group will be able to use the 'Winner' icons, and any prize subscriptions will be split - four months each for a three-person entry, for example, or six months each for a two-person entry.


And Finally...

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - especially useful for those annoying issues that only come up when you're halfway finished!


Tags: Mar 2016
competion questions
hi I am planing on enter in your portraits competition. my first question is the clothing artical i make, do i need to draft the pattern for it or is it alright to use a store bought pattern?i made a Lisel Dress (pre ww2)from the sound of music(1965 movie) could i still do that in the portrait section? i have the picture from the movie and i did that exact dress. thanks for your help!

Yes Rachel, that would be absolutely fine. Thank you for getting in touch, I can't wait to see it!
Rachel Castle
okay! Thank you!
Competition entry
Hi i am soooooo sorry. I did not realize that the competition entry needed to be sent in by 5 est. I am in a different time zone. I am sending it in now. I hope you will still accept it! Thank you!
Don't worry, Rachel, we got it! We wouldn't exclude you after all your hard work!

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