Saturday, October 15, 2011

Getting started

I have posted hundreds of pictures and made little comments, but never have really jumped into Blogging about costuming and sewing.  I think it is time I get to it.  I go on all the time about how our youth are not learning as many of the old skills as what we did in our youth....that they spend too much time playing games on the computer or watching other people actually DO stuff.  I have long been disappointed that my daughter never took any interest in sewing or costuming other than the traditional Halloween time or special event that required a costume, but she did jump in with both feet into music, photography, poetry, writing and counselling which are some of my interests even more so than myself.  Props to her for that.

So, what do I have to share with anyone who might find so interest in "How does she do it?" or "I think that's cool..." or whatever?  So I guess I will start with some basics...

Patterns...I love commercial patterns because they get me rolling on a project and save me some time on drafting them from scratch.  I can, however, honestly say that I rarely ever use a pattern exactly as drafted.  I often use the sleeve from one pattern to go with the jacket on another and so on.... I do draft patterns from scratch, but like I said, I like to save time when I can and it is so much easier when I have a client to go through what I have on hand (well over 500 commercial patterns) and start from there.  Of course there are ideas that have no commercial pattern with all the elements in them, but that's where the mix and match comes in.  Just about every basic idea has been drafted, just the embellishments and variations have to be worked in.  I often buy multiple copies of the same pattern in both the same size and multiple sizes when it is something I think I will be using for many projects.  When I had to do 27 dresses of the same design for a choral group of teen-aged girls, with greatly varied sizes, I bought 3 and traced each size before I started.  I have to say I was never so glad to be finished with that project, claimed I'd never do that again, then in 2006 started making soft parts for Imperial Bikerscouts and proceeded to make over 250 of them over a period of about 5 years...yikes.  Never say never.

Fabrics...It is amazing where one can find the right fabric for a project.  I use the standard commercial fabric store...Joann's Fabrics is one of my favorites, but I also have several stores that sell through eBay, internet stores and garment district stores that I have to have one of my connections shop for me.  I also love re-purposing old garments, taking them apart for use in other projects.  I get a lot of my soft leather from old skirts and jackets at the neighborhood thrift store like Goodwill and consignment stores.  I have also used table cloths, sheets, drapery and other miscellaneous fabrics  for projects with great results.  I am always on the lookout for doable fabrics for future projects.  I also keep scraps of the fabrics from projects and have pieced things together to make smaller projects.  I have lots of left over scraps of velvet from doing robes and have made handbags, collars, belts, pet costumes, even a corset from the remnants. As I am cutting out my projects, I have a trash bin and a save bin.  Needless to say, I have many remnant bins over the years.  

Project Ideas ...Everywhere.  I surf the net regularly for reference photos of theatrical costumes, characters, drawings, other costumers' work.  I also always try to give credit where credit is due.
I have a pretty fair library of reference material in the form of books and my wish list for gifts is to enlarge that library with books having tons of great pictures.  I have a quite extensive wish list on that I wish my family would pay more attention to rather than making purchases of things that will be set aside all too soon.  I draw inspiration from industry icons like Trisha Biggar, Colleen Atwood, and others.  I also learn from others like Kay Dee, Vera, Margie, Rachel and several other excellent costumers who share their work with those who like me just love to see the craft at work.
Movies, artwork, sketches by other costumers....the ideas are out there if you keep your eyes open.

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