Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Costume Time ~or~ my life as a seamstress

My mother taught me the basics of sewing when I was about 8. I was a perfectionist, and spent more time ripping out stitches than putting them in...
When I got to college I had to take a costuming class for my major. Apparently my mother was worried about me because I'd struggled so much as a kid, but I loved the class and completed it with 104% (yes, I did extra credit!). I went straight from that to being employed in the college theatre department's costume shop.
I worked in the costume shop for the majority of my college career. Costuming is a unique branch of sewing because we routinely worked with everything from silks and velvets to leather and vinyl. We even made a corset of duct tape once. Those experiences gave the the confidence to take on new materials, so when I started making diapers with all kinds of new fabrics I was able to jump in with both feet and go full speed ahead!
I learned to take someone's measurements from a page and translate them to a pattern--altering or combining patterns to create the picture that the designer had given us. That experience is the most valuable of my sewing career.
I've clothed Jane Eyre and Shakespeare's Petruchio. I've sewn renaissance faire garb and elfin gowns. I've created conquistador's armor, priest's robes, English sport jackets, and Scottish kilts. I've also sewn several formals and wedding gowns (including my own), which are not so very different from costumes if you think about it.

(a gown I made for "Jekyll & Hyde")

I still love costuming. I'm no longer employed in that field, but every Halloween I get the chance to make costumes for my husband and kids. Two years ago my 6-year-old wanted to be a red dragon with scales and spikes on his back and 4 horns across his forehead: he designed the costume and I made it a reality. This year I'm clothing a ninja, a wizard, and the x-man Wolverine. I can't wait to see what the future holds!


  1. Wow! What amazing experience! I'd love to see some of those creations.

  2. Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing (and for adding the pics) -- I have such respect for folks who can sew really well. Bravo!

  3. you must live for halloween! Costuming sounds fun, and I love them...though I don't sew...


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