Saturday, July 21, 2012

Making Clothes Is Boring

Most of my friends probably don't realize it, but I find sewing clothing quite boring.  Seriously!  But let me explain.

To me "clothing" is something I would wear just about every day:  shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, etc.  Even given my sewing skills I would much rather buy such things than make them.  In fact, before I really got started with A Touch Of Magic Costumes I was commissioned to make a western-style shirt for someone.  It turned out well and they really loved but, but I didn't enjoy the process at all.  It was tedious and boring and I didn't feel any sense of satisfaction.

Costumes are a completely different story. I love playing pretend, indulging my creativity, and imagining something beyond our reality.  There is a challenge in taking an idea, concept or character and bringing it into three dimensions, breathing life into it.  My birthday is October 30th (I am NOT telling what year), and one of my nieces and nephews said that I must love dressing up so much because I was born the day before Halloween.  Even if I'm not wearing it I love seeing the finished product.  There is so much satisfaction in figuring out how to make something real that was previously only imagined.

I have been asked to make wedding dresses by a few people.  I'm even looking forward to that! Again, there is creativity and it's something that you don't see around every day.  Because of the design and the occasion I don't consider these to be "clothing".  One couple is wanting to do an anime-style wedding with appropriate tuxedo and dress.  Coming up with original designs will be challenging but still quite fun.

Want me to make something that you've seen in a comic book or movie?  Bring it on!  Want a day-to-day dress?  Go to Wal-Mart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You Need A Starting Point

When I'm costuming, I have to start somewhere.  Yes, I have patterns.  But since most of my costuming is custom work based on a specific character I rarely have a pattern specific to the need.  I'm not yet at the point of completely creating my own patterns with a computer program, but I've gotten darn good at taking existing patterns and modifying or mixing them. 

Costuming is a creative process and you have to know where you're going in order to make a map to get there.  For me it helps to have sketches, whether I make them or have them made.  Here's a picture of my current "idea wall" with several of my works-in-progress.

And here's a close-up of the sketch my husband made with notes about my steampunk Cheetara costume. 

My husband is quick to state that he's not an artist and that this is not to scale (those are not my proportions).  But the sketch gives me an idea of where to start.  With a picture at hand I can go through my patterns and find something that will meet those needs.  Though the costume is still being created, you can see how it's starting to look like the picture.

Here's a sketch provided by one of my customers, based on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager

And here's that costume in progress. 

There's still a good bit of work to do, including modifying it to have that "dip" in the cleavage.  But again you can see how a basic sketch give a costumer an idea of how to get started.

The difficult part is actually creating something from a sketch.  And that's where the skill of the costumer comes into play!