Wild Card Prize - Beautifully thought out design and ingenious use of materials created a stunning resulting look.

The Weaver Girl



Cindy Chan


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits


Outline the story …

The Cowherd and Weaver Girl is a Chinese folktale, described in Qin Guan’s Song dynasty poem, “鹊桥仙”. The Queen of Heaven forbade their union and used her silver hairpin to carve a rift between heaven and earth: the Milky Way. Once a year, on Chinese Valentine's Day, magpies form a bridge to allow the lovers to meet again. I've always loved this version of the (literally) star-crossed lovers and wanted to capture the beautiful poignancy of the Weaver Girl, Zhinü, waiting to be reunited with her husband. The image of a flock of kind-hearted magpies bridging the Milky Way is so evocative of the importance of community support. I kept the color palette limited to mostly black and white in homage to the yin-yang concept as a reflection of duality and balance in both the patience and the passion of waiting, especially in this pandemic year as we wait to hug our loved ones again. The silver and iridescent accents echo the sparkle of the stars, and the feathers are magpie mementos that Zhinü might have saved and woven into her outfit for the next year's meeting. The shorter overskirt, trailing gown, and gauzy fabrics are modernized versions of style elements typical in Chinese paintings of celestial maidens; the traditionally styled hair accessories and the qipao-esque collar and bolero shape bring to mind both historical and more recent Chinese fashion, emphasizing the timelessness of the story.

Outline the construction…

With my limited color palette, I wanted to use different fabric textures to bring some visual depth to the costume. I also wanted to use repurposed fabrics where possible, both for sustainability and because it shouldn't cost a fortune in fancy fabrics to make a beautiful outfit. The corset is made from fabrics leftover from theater costuming jobs, and the underskirt is made from an old net curtain and a bedsheet. The bolero fabric is a thrifted velvet tablecloth, and the cape's feathers cut from the skirt and corset fabric scraps. Many of the beads and chains are from deconstructed jewelry from my coworkers' destashes, and the hairpieces made by heatforming old plastic milk jugs. The biggest challenge was fitting my corset, since I had originally patterned it when I was still breastfeeding; I ended up trying to pad out the bust to accommodate my body changes. This is only the second overbust corset I've made, so I was trying to figure out the best method of construction with the help of internet tutorials. I knew I wanted to hide the messy underside of the beading, so I ended up making a boned "lining" layer under the beaded fashion fabric. My favorite parts are the beaded bird appliques, done on silk organza; I experimented with many different types of bead, ribbon, and fabric layouts to get a recognizable magpie look. Because of all the individually hand-stitched beads and feathers, time and hand-health management were an important consideration.




  1. Avatar TERRI BLEN PARKER on March 11, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    Your expertise and repurposed fabrics certainly do accomplish the visual depth you desired! A most thoughtful, beautiful, and detailed piece.

  2. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 12, 2021 at 12:33 am

    I am very weak for texture in fashion and this is just stunning all the way through. Beautiful job.

  3. Avatar Rowan on March 12, 2021 at 5:25 am

    The feathered cloak caught my attention immediately, and all of the details kept it. This is truly gorgeous work!

  4. Avatar Heather on March 14, 2021 at 4:55 am

    Your beadwork Milky Way and magpies are so beautiful! And I’m really inspired by how well you combined recycled and reused elements into such a cohesive outfit. The hair ornaments really are a high point.

  5. Avatar Stef McKnight on March 14, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Absolutely love your concept. And your beading is just immaculate!

  6. Avatar Sophia Hein on March 14, 2021 at 11:25 am

    The beading is so beautiful, I love the magpies and the feather cape!

  7. Avatar Rebecca on March 15, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    You look like a beautiful magpie yourself! They love to collect shiny things– stars and moons in this case. The fit and the style are impeccable, and the outfit tells a story even without supporting text. Good luck from Icarus!

  8. Avatar Marion Brégier on March 20, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    Such detailed work, and striking contrast. It is truly beautiful !

  9. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 28, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    This is so beautiful!!! I love the colour choice and use of different textures, the beading is just stunning! Those beaded birds are incredible!! SO well done!

    • Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 28, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      PS: I also love the folktale you chose, it is a lovely story, and the way you did your hair, and the hair accessories are just the perfect touch to demonstrate the Chinese inspiration!

  10. Avatar Emily on March 29, 2021 at 2:35 am

    This is so cool!

  11. Avatar Dee on March 29, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    Your embroidery work is mind-blowing!

  12. Avatar Kikkii von Fustian on March 29, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Your entry made me tear up 😭 Absolutely gorgeous, and such a beautiful interpretation.

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