Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Digest Number 6
- Hello there!
This is The Raven. I'm new to this e-group thing, but already I think I
like it. Sort of like a chat room but it's e-mail. ^_^
You work with 4-H? Wonderful! I used to be in that club, even went to
Nationals with Dairy Judging one year. Wish my county had've done horses,
but it's small and isn't much of a farming county anymore like it was when I
was there. Gee, that was only 6 years ago--how fast a place builds up!
Anyway, I've got an idea for you about armor. I'm not sure if it would
work, since I never have a chance or reason to build it (our theatre company
doesn't often go for the flashy or unusual with its season choices), but
here it is:
Naugahide is wonderfully heavy-gauge vinyl used with upholstery and can be
sewn into most shapes. Spray-paint with metallic paints or with a solution
of white glue and bronzing powder, which can be aged by adding black paint a
little at a time until desired color is reached. Gold turns to bronze or
antiqued gold, silver into tarnished silver (highlight with un-adulterated
silver), and copper the same. Adding decoration can be done with hot-glue,
if it isn't too hot, and this can also be painted. Paint comes last. Fake
jewels can also be hot-glued on. Naugahide can be found at JoAnn's,
Hancock's, or any local fabric store that sells upholstery fabric.
Leather is also a wonderful metal-substitute, so I've heard, because it
paints well, can be shaped to any shape, and is stiff like metal when it
isn't suede and is of a higher gauge than 4oz. weight. Tandy Leather
Factory and other leather suppliers sell this stuff. Problem is, it's
expensive. I'd love to use it for mask-work, but never have the budget.
A heavy felt can also be used for armor-making--with a little help from
every theatre costumer's friend: Sculpt-o-Coat! This stuff is a
concentrated form of Elmer's white glue and is so thick it can stand up on
its own. Dries clear, can be textured or smooth like glass (or metal) and
stiffens any fabric. Thick felt is good for absorbing shock, such as sword,
fist, mace, or whatever middle-ages weaponry can dish up--if it isn't real,
i.e. made for stage. Paint like naugahide.
Another substance I love and work often with is Thermoplastic, a type of
"fabric" that's cheesecloth imbedded in a hot-glue or plastic matrix. It's
as hard as Tupperware, not very bendable, and can be cut and formed to any
shape. It comes in huge rolls, like fabric rolls. To form it, take a
heat-gun and heat the thermoplastic until it softens (but NOT until it turns
clear!!). Remove the heat and shape as soon as it cools enough to touch
without being hot enough to burn and work until it won't stick to itself
anymore. Seams can be made by heating two edges and sticking together
edge-on-edge and smoothing the heated plastic. This also works for getting
rid of creases and unwanted folds. Shave with exacto-knife and heat and
smooth edges. Finish the piece with Sculpt-o-Coat or several layers of
Elmer's glue--enough to get rid of the fabricy texture and paint. A
hair-dryer set on its hottest setting might work too, but might take longer
to soften the plastic. Hot-glue can be used to stick two pieces together,
but it doesn't work as well as re-heating the points you want put together.
Make sure everything is the way you want it before painting or coating in
glue! ((CAUTION: heat-guns are extremely HOT. **I cannot emphasize this
enough!!!!** The air coming out of one is hot enough to fry an egg with in
only a minute or less--and crisp it. I've singed the dryer in the laundry
room once or twice with our gun and accidentally sat it on a plastic surface
and a piece of paper towel before realizing where it was--melted the plastic
and charred the paper where it touched. NEVER touch the metal end of the
heat-gun! And NEVER let it touch anything remotely combustible or meltable!
But they are wonderful for achieving great melting of things and for
Paper doilies and such things can also be used for texturing and are much
less expensive than placemats and netting for getting decorative texturing
on flat surfaces. Again, Elmer's sticks everything together and paint
covers all. I saw a BEAUTIFUL headress/mask at the SouthEastern Theatre
Conference a couple of years ago that was covered in cut-out doilies that
had been applied to the colored helmet surface and were painted a shining
gold. Antlers had been made of tree branches with Spanish Moss made from
surging thread that had been surged back and forth on a 3, 4, or 6 thread
surger on something like transfer paper or a thin backing or some sort that
could be pulled away from the thread without leaving clumps or bits. I
don't remember what had been used when we made the costume for Caliban in
Shakespeare's "Tempest". I think there's some sort of stuff that looks like
a thin plastic that disolves in water. I don't know what it's called.
I hope this helps you. I know the felt thing and the paper doilies works
well, and the bronzing powder in white glue with paint for dulling and
shading. Thermoplastic also works, as does leather. Naugahide is easier to
get, but I can't think of a way to stiffen it further. It's odd stuff. And
with chainmail I'm clueless. Wish I could help more. Have fun.
^_^ (Raven is the name I go by when working at Girl Scout summer camp. The
tradition is that the kids have to guess the counselor's name by the end of
the week and the first one to get the right name gets to keep the secret--or
can blab it to the rest of the camp, whichever.)
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The knit stuff that I found recently is in the catalogue for Theatre
House in Covington, Kentucky. They have an mail order service. The fabric
comes in a narrow tube form and I use it to make leggs and arms which I
attlach to a blackstretch torso. My knights have tabards over top their
"chain mail". Also if you love brocades then call Baer Fabrics at
1-800-769-7776. They are not cheap but they send out watch cards and only
charged me for the very first one they sent out. After that they just sent
them on . I needed to get some brocades for some colonial suits and they
sent me about 115 different types and all worked out quite well. They
ranged in prices from
----- Original Message ----- $5.00 to 30.00 a yd.
Sent: Monday, October 09, 2000 12:04 PM
Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Digest Number 6
> Y'all asked for an intro, so here it is:
> Name? Rusti
> Location? Florida
> Mental Age? 52 (I was born middle-aged, have now caught up physically)
> Do you have a web site? nope
> What is your main interest in costume?
> Been sewing for 40 years, love the challenge of making costumes-
> and frills, engineering peculiar shapes and pieces, saving and recycling
> "good junk", finding just the right "stuff". Right now working with
> horse and rider drill teams, which means costumes for both horses and
> that are durable, flashy, and can stand the strain of some pretty fast
> moving. Currently doing a drillteam production based on broadway version
> The Lion King (4 of the horses will be head to hoof zebra costumes!)
> will sit on top of heads (like on broadway) and be attached to riders
> helmets. should be fun!
> What are your favorite Costume Movies?
> medieval and fantasy stuff- return to oz, neverending story II,
> excaliber, etc.
> What is your favorite historic costume period?
> renaissance, medieval, fanatasy
> Describe your favorite costume disaster.
> Adult sized Kermit the Frog- used wire frame to support the large
> out only in a few "orbits" and green fabric flapped and sunk-in in many
> areas, looked pretty weird...
> What was the worst costume you ever saw at a RenFaire, SCA event, etc.?
> Don't ususally go to these- few I've seen, I remember some of the
> and most outrageous, but didn't really notice the lesser ones....
> What is your favorite weird costume material?
> Hospital disposables: I work as an er doc, and can get odd materials
> occasionally- ridged-waffled tubing from respiratory machine setups,
> hoses and tubes of odd sizes and shapes (neat for starwars/robot type
> fiberglass casting tape (ridiculously expensive, but I can occasionally
> outdated packets). I save the clean disposable sheets that the ambulance
> crews bring in- non-woven thin fabric that is perfect for making patterns!
> My son makes surfboards, so I occasionally get styrofoam and balsa scraps
> that come in handy. Thin foam placemats (Walmart- during the holidays
> even sell metallic ones) are great for unicorn horns and medieval
> Favorite place to shop for fabrics: the $1 a yard remainder tables at
> Walmart- never know what I'll find, but have come across some really
> interesting fabrics there over the years, and the price is sure right-
> problem is there's no way to track down or get more of something really
> cool... I find that the most fun in costume construction is "thinking
> outside the box" and finding new and clever uses for stuff that's around,
> new solutions for construction problems- this mental exercise is the
> exciting part, along with the trial-and-errror of seeing if the idea
> Describe a costume object or material for which you have searched in
> vain. :
> Right now I am desperately looking for above mentioned place-mat foam
> sold in larger pieces/ yardage. Looking for loose weave knit black? and
> silver metallic that has look of chainmail, and upholstery type vinyl with
> bright silver metallic finish without a lot of texture... I need to dress
> horses and riders as knights in full-on jousting armor, robes- the works.
> For weight and safety reasons, don't want to use metal for armor (except
> maybe on the helmets, which will be constructed over regular riding
> I have some aluminum flashing that I can use for that). Also always on
> lookout for nifty metallic brocade fabrics- have good sources for all
> of metallic lycras, but rarely see the glam brocades (I'm a sucker for
> glitz). Any leads on finding this stuff would be appreciated!!!
> How you would dress a bridesmaid?
> Simple elegance, not a lot of ruffles- maybe something medieval or
> renaissance- classical look rather than "bridesmaids dresses from hell"
> look like overblown flowery bonbons....
> Other biographical info:
> Work as an M.D., which supports my hobbies and obsessions, which are:
> Reading Fantasy & Sci Fi, collecting books- especially art books, fantsy
> etc., Sewing and teaching sewing- I run a 4-H club for girls, STARS
> Theater, Art. Riding, & Service) I have 2 full rooms that house my fabric
> hoarde..(picture me as an old dragon with her treasure). Riding,
> drill team- the perfect way to combine show biz, costuming and horses! I
> have a dozen horses that I own/support for my 4-H kids and drill team
> to ride. All live here at my little 3 acre dream-ranch. I also paint and
> all sorts of fine art and crafts on a professional level- lots of
> commissioned portraits, mostly people and animals. My income allows me to
> indulge in all sorts of arts and crafts tools, so by now I have pretty
> everything- airbrushing, ceramics, a "herd" of a dozen sewing machines
> (mostly used for teaching), and a 30x44' separate art-studio building to
> in. (Are you jealous yet?- only thing I wish I had more of is time...)
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