Re: New Member
- Hello Andromeda,
Your post inspires me to reply, as I was once where you are, and always find
I feel a duty to encourage younger people coming into the field.
After 30+ years in the business, I consider myself a master of the craft,
from design interpretation, to custom-patterning, through
sewing/construction and the finest of finishing. My interest began very
early in life, and purely by happenstance, I ended up doing what I love most
for a living. It's my view too, that there is a lot to be said for quality
and style such as we've seen in examples from the past, and even more for
personal taste and selection in terms of choice suited to occasion.
If it's costuming, and costume construction that interests you, I would
venture to say that opportunities are becoming few and far between - that is
if you want to make a living at it. Technology and industry have combined
by now to a point where many of the things we used to rely on hands for, are
executable by machinery, in a much shorter amount of time, hence at a lower
cost. Add to that the tendency for business to exploit for labour less
fortunate people in other nations, and it's easy to see that fashion and
trends are prone to change at a rate much speedier than in times when
construction spent more time in human hands.
Just the same, there is nothing to stop you in achieving construction
skills, though be prepared - in many ways it is a lifetime of learning.
There are many theatres where interning opportunities exist, as well as
regional and amateur theatres where they're only too happy to have
volunteers. Throughout, strive to learn, and begin a book collection. Art
books contain the most faithful of period clothing representations.
Reference material is also important - books, magazines....wherever you see
it, photograph it, copy it, read it, buy it if you can. Pattern-making
books from all sorts of sources are important as well - as you gain insight
with experience, you will find your way to your own methods through trial
and error and comparison - I don't believe there is a single pattern book
that will contain all that you encounter. Technical books on styling are
helpful, as well as books that TALK about style and choice of style. One
of my biggest inspirations (which is what your post reminded me of) was a
book titled Harmony in Dress, by Mary Brooks Picken.
Aside from that, if you intend to do work on your own, strive to (over time)
have proper space, tools and machinery, lighting, storage etc., so that you
can work properly. Nothing will kill your inspiration as quickly as
frustration. If you have access, also learn from older people - whether
it's embroidery, smocking, knitting, crochet, to mention a few - all will be
useful sometime later., perhaps even a central feature in a project.
And remember, if at any point you are tempted to assert that now you know
all you need to know - keep in mind, if you continue in the field, that a
year, two years, twenty years later, you will know that much more - hence,
you DON'T know all there is to know, ever, really.
Regardless of what you see around you, how you personally dress is still
your choice. If you have a style that is your own, be it classic or trendy,
IT will be the inspiration you use when working for others - don't be afraid
of developing it fully, but also respect that not everyone's tastes are the
same. In judging each of your final products, regardless of whether the
person or organization you're servicing is happy and overjoyed, use your own
judgement in establishing your standard. If YOU are happy with it, you will
know, not hope, that your product is one of quality and will be worn with
So I've gone on a bit, I know, but I hope you, and perhaps others, find it
helpful. Wishing you all the best in however you choose to express your
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- Today at http://craftside.typepad.com/ there is a fun tutorial from Pluckyfluff's new book Hand Spun on how to spin extreme tail yarn and you can enter to win a copy of her book!
(='.'=) This is Bunny. Copy and paste Bunny into your
(")_(") signature to help him gain world domination.
- I've read your post and as well as the post from "Zed". I could not agree
more with "Zed". I have been designing and producing presentation gowns
for Mardi Gras over the past 30+ years. This has led me down a very twisted
path, but I can say after just finishing up work on my 24th Ball for the
same organization, it is with pride that I look back on how my work has
From my early endeavors until now I have had to change with the
marketplace. Beautiful fabrics and trims have either vanished or become so expensive
they are out of my budget. I have found that being flexible, always
inquisitive, and not settling for with the first idea has brought my work to its
The most profound change for my work was born because I hate to have my
work compromised by what is available in the textile industry. Therefore I
developed a process to emboss my artwork on textiles. While refining the
process I had the opportunity to create a collection of presentation gowns
based on Faberge's Easter Eggs. The combination was a true turning point.
You just never know where the path will lead when faced with challenges.
My best advice is to approach the challenges of our industry as
opportunities for growth in spite of the growing pains!
Best wishes and welcome to this "crazy" world.
Ides of March Design Group, Ltd.
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