All costumes will be judged on a ten-point rubric. In order to keep the rubric consistent across skill levels, judges do not take the entrant’s experience level into account when scoring costumes. ‘Best in Class’ awards will go to the top-scoring entry in each skill class. ‘Best in Show’ will be awarded to the highest overall score.
Scoring everyone on the same rubric is the fairest way to give everyone a shot at ‘Best In Show,’ but some beginners may find this rubric a bit daunting. Just remember that the rubric was created with master costumers in mind–no one’s expecting novices to pull threes in every category. It’s normal and expected for less experienced costumers to take on less ambitious projects, and make a few mistakes along the way.
Complexity (4pts): Complexity rates how much work your costume represents. A simple costume, such as an Original-Trek Starfleet officer’s shirt worn with purchased trousers and accessories, would score 1 on Complexity. A full skin-out Elizabethan ensemble from a hand-drafted pattern, covered in hand-embroidery, would score a 4.
Construction (3pts): Construction rates how well the garment is made from a technical perspective. A carelessly-made garment with poorly-cut, uneven pieces and glued or stapled seams would score a 0 on Construction. A garment with neat, durable, finished seams that hangs the way it should and has been tailored to fit the model will score a 3.
To improve your Construction score, pay attention to detail. Follow the grain-line instructions on your pattern so that it hangs properly. Choose fabrics that serve the effect you’re trying for. Check your sewing machine tension, and start your new project with a new needle. Finish your seams and buttonholes. Securely fasten buttons and clasps. Don’t leave loose threads hanging. For the highest possible score, more advanced costumers should tailor the garment to fit the model.
Appearance (3pts): Appearance rates how the costume looks overall. Points will be awarded for style, creativity, and how well the entrant achieved the affect they intended (including, for replica costumes, how well they match their source).
Judges will never award Appearance points based on how attractive they find the model, or how they feel about the fandom the costume is from.
Entrants submitting costumes that are replicas of historical or genre garments are encouraged to bring printed photos of the costume they’re copying. Reference photos are also encouraged if you’re submitting an original design that’s meant to fit into an existing historical era or fictional universe.
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