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Tag Archives: freelancing

And My Resume Gets More Convoluted

I have so many things to share! This is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge post.

Some of you may already know from talking to me directly or seeing it on Twitter, I no longer work part-time at Fabrique Fabrics. It was fun for the year and a half it lasted and I’ll miss my coworkers, but since it was never really my “career” I’m not really upset about it. (I think everyone who knows the details is more upset about it than I am.) The short explanation is my boss decided to reduce my hours to “none” to save some money, so I’m moving on to other things instead of waiting around.

On to more exciting things (and LOTS of links)…

  • Something I worked on last summer will finally be on display at the Dallas Arboretum for the holidays! The 12 Days of Christmas exhibit is “an elaborate collection of life-size Victorian gazebos filled with the charming costumed characters made famous by the beloved Christmas carol.”** You can see it for yourself from November 16, 2014–January 4, 2015. Since the opening was delayed a year, I’m looking forward to remembering what I did. I can’t wait to see it installed and share some photos (and possibly video) once it opens!
  • I helped make some youth circus costumes back in May. Lots and lots of tiny appliqué (spandex on spandex) and ruffles… and thread! I really blew through the thread on this project:
Circus-Costume-Appliques

Circus costumes with detailed appliqué designs and what the trashcan next to my machine looked like halfway through.

And here’s a teaser video of this year’s show, in which you can see some of the costumes in motion:

  • If you will be in San Antonio this weekend (September 26-28), you can see some of the fun costumes I helped build this summer in the opera The Fantastic Mr. Fox put on by the new Opera San Antonio.
  • More of my summer sewing work will be in a Christmas parade at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri this year.

Hopefully, I will have more photos of both the opera and the parade to share later. (I’m crossing my fingers that someone will post a video of the parade on YouTube at some point!) Update: Post about the parade.

  • If you will be in Dallas, TX anytime now until October 5, go see the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. It’s fashion inspiration! I went and took a ton of photos a few weeks ago, so if you aren’t able to see it yourself, I promise a detailed blog post about it soon. Here’s a teaser:
Oscar-de-la-Renta_5-Decades-of-Style

Oscar de la Renta – Five Decades of Style exhibit

Recent freelancing has suddenly gone from “absolutely nothing” to “I’m booked into the beginning of next year!” Such is my career.

Keira-the-Mannequin

Meet Keira, one of the mannequins I’ll be making a custom dress for. She’s had a hard life and it’s time for new hair and better clothes.

  • Then it looks like I’ll be finishing out the year working at The Dallas Opera. They have a few new costumes to build. =)

And just because I’ve been looking for a place to share a couple of great costuming videos, I’m going to include them here.

I found the first video because of the second one. It is a really nice overview of what it’s like in any professional costume shop – whether it’s opera, theatre, dance, or film – when there are costumes to construct and fit. “Recreating a Tutu” at the New York City Ballet:

And if you have the time to watch (it’s over 26 minutes long), the following is a truly fascinating video on how a ballet pointe shoe is made (teaser-not-quite-spoiler: inside out!). If you don’t have time to watch it now, come back and watch it later when you do! I promise you will enjoy it.

They use some cool sewing machines and do an amazing amount of the work by hand. And to think that all shoes used to be made this well! “What’s in a Ballet Shoe”:

** What my husband/editor read at first glance: “An elaborate collection of life-size Vulcan gizmos filled with charred costumed characters made famous by the beloved Christmas carrots”  ??

Lint Balls of My Life… Plus a Little Giveaway!

I’ve had a couple of freelance costuming jobs this year that I haven’t really blogged about – partly because there wasn’t much to make a complete post and partly because I just never sat down to go through some of the photos I had already shared elsewhere on the internet. Y’know, lint balls of life.

Back in March and April, I spent time working at The Dallas Opera. (You may remember me mentioning my job at the opera because it was during this time I made my Easter dress.)

The costume shop at The Dallas Opera

They did a production of The Aspern Papers, which was a complete costume build. (Yay! A period costume build!) Usually, they either rent the majority of a show’s costumes or pull them from storage, and then just build just a few key pieces for the leads.

There was lots of menswear and tailoring. But I did get to help with the construction of one dress:

Dress from the opera The Aspern Papers

Then I did some work at home (read: not personal projects) like pattern testing Disparate Discipline’s Avocado Hoodie.

In May and June, I once again worked for Shakespeare Festival of Dallas. This year’s summer shows were A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Pericles with costume design by Lyle Huchton.

I had way too much fun sewing Lyle’s designs with the amazing fabrics he bought! You may have realized this from all the photos I posted on Instagram. Here are some of my favorites:

Shakespeare Costumes

This dress for the princess in Pericles was the one I did the most work on.

At the end of June (actually the day after I finished Shakespeare), I met fellow costumer Deborah Lynn Dixon, of Colorado. She stumbled across my blog earlier in the year during a bit of random web surfing. We met for lunch while she was passing through the Dallas Area on business.

She has developed an amazing product and technique for embossing fabric with glitter and paint that can look like intricate beadwork.

The embossing is permanent, flexible, & lightweight, and it can be gently washed or dry cleaned!

You can read more about the embossing process here and here. I can’t wait until she starts marketing her embossing supplies and instructions – I want to try it! (psst! Deborah, you need a blog!)

And just before I started sewing for Shakespeare this year, I applied and was hired to work a part-time job at a local fabric store called Fabrique. It’s a nice little apparel fabric store and the owner is willing to work around my unpredictable freelancing schedule. =)

Fabrique Fabrics

Fabrique has a website but not everything in inventory is listed for online ordering – you just have to ask (phone or email) if you don’t see something you’re looking for on the site. (Right now, there is Free Shipping on orders of $50 or more until August 14!)

So far, I have been pretty good about not bringing all the fabric home with me. I’ve only bought a couple things. One being some of this outer space print chiffon:

There’s still some in stock if anyone else wants some!

I have 3 sewing projects for others in process right now, and I start another long-term freelance costuming job this coming Monday. I’ll share the details of that job and the undisclosed projects as I can in future posts.

Well, enough lint balls. Let’s talk about that giveaway mentioned in the title of this post!

Since I now work part-time at a fabric store, I finally remembered to buy myself some silk organza to use as a press cloth. It’s my favorite type of press cloth because I can actually see what I’m ironing underneath it.

A silk organza press cloth can take a high level of heat while still protecting other fabrics from the iron. And the bonus is it’s see-through!

And I bought myself enough so that I could share!

I have 3 small and 1 slightly larger press cloth to give away to 4 lucky winners!  (The small size is 18.5in x 13.5in. The large one is 18.5in x 18in.)

To enter to win:

  1. Be a sewist/sewcialist who needs a good press cloth.
  2. Leave me a comment on this post and tell me you’d like to enter.
  3. Let everyone know what you are currently sewing in your comment. (Include any related links if you have photos posted somewhere.)

Giveaway is open to all locations. Winners will be chosen at random for the smaller cloths.  The large cloth will go to the submitter of the comment that…um…entertains me the most!

Deadline for entry is closed 11:59pm on Friday, August 16, 2013 United States Central Time (GMT -6). I’ll announce the winners in a post on Saturday August 17. See who won in this post.

Press cloths are neatly serged & standing by to be put in envelopes and mailed to new homes!

If you’re wondering why my ironing board is backwards, read this post.

And one last thing that a lot of you might be interested in: the sale of vintage sewing patterns at Vintage Martini is being discontinued. They just uploaded a ton of new listings and they are marked down to almost nothing! Go check out the great patterns (after you comment of course)!

More Costuming “Glamour”

So I was in the middle of (and making decent progress on) lots of my own projects last weekend when the phone rang. And suddenly my schedule is completely different! That’s the life of a freelancer.

I was offered a job helping the costume designer for Shakespeare Dallas’s fall show – it’s a modern dress version of “that Scottish play” (aka Macbeth for those of you unfamiliar with theatre superstition). It opens in just three weeks and between the two of us, we have to come up with around 75 costumes. Ahh, the joys of low budget theatre!

Luckily, we have some costumer friends at The Dallas Theater Center and the University of Dallas who let us pull what we could use from their costume storage places. So we have spent the week digging through piles of clothes & shoes and then lugging it all back to our space.

Shakespeare Dallas also has some stock of its own; unfortunately, it’s in an old warehouse with no electricity or water. Ahh. The joys. Of low budget… theatre…

I was rather shocked that there was so much in SD’s storage! And sadly, it’s not exactly ideal conditions for costume storage. It was a bit depressing to see so many items (including bolts of fabric!) exposed to the elements knowing that they would eventually become unusable.

(I would like to apologize for the following crummy cell phone photos – no electricity and bad lighting make cell pics look even worse than normal and I cleaned them up as much as I could.)

So we walked into SD’s storage warehouse and it was a bit of a scavenger hunt:

Shoes were in bins somewhere behind all of this.

I started pulling shoes and the designer went sifting through the racks of costumes in the far back corner:

The racks of costumes.

My biggest goal was to find matching pairs of shoes – they weren’t all attached in pairs and it was dark. I pulled a bunch of shoe bins out of the dark area and closer to the door and began pairing them.

The laces of many pairs had been knotted together on the ends – one of my biggest pet peeves! This meant that they tangle around other pairs in the same bin and are impossible to pull out without grabbing a giant clump of shoes all at once.

I retied the pairs in bows as I extracted them from the bins.

If a pair of shoes is tied in a single bow, it is easier to untie, can be picked up with one finger, and doesn’t become tangled with other pairs in a bin.

After I pulled a bunch of shoes, I joined in the search through the racks for clothing:

I have no idea what the yellow thing on the left rack is, but it reminds me of Big Bird.
Maybe it’s from a Sesame Street version of Shakespeare, hehe.

I’m glad we only spent about 2 hours in the hot warehouse before we stuffed everything into the car and took it back to the theatre space. Ahh, the joys of… yeah.

I will be making a few simple things, and fittings are coming up next week – I hope most of the costumes we pulled will fit the actors!

And to make up a little for the not so great photos, here’s one of Wensley when he went to work with my husband earlier this week:

Hey, Dad, the computer is boring – let’s play!

Apparently, this wasn’t a one-time thing and he likes to migrate from lap to desk.

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