You know what the world needs? Another costuming blog. The world especially needs another costuming blog run by a person who can’t sew very well. I can’t remember if you adjust the tension higher or lower for thicker fabrics, and I still have no idea what “bias” is, despite many, many people telling me over and over again.
Most of the costuming I do is by necessity–I’m a performer, and my particular area of performance requires I provide my own costume. Getting that shit made by other people is expensive, so armed with the sewing machine my grandma bought me some number of years ago, I set out to do it myself. Results have been, er, mixed. I’m almost entirely self-taught, other than a handful of short lessons from seamstress friends, which have ranged from helpful to infuriating. My stitching is sloppy, my technique non-existent, and I once wore a skirt held together by safety pins for an entire 8-week run. Patterns tend to confuse me me. Most of my sewing time is divided between looking at tutorials on YouTube and crying over garments that I screwed up. I can’t draw, so my renderings are more like stick figures with a lot of arrows. When fabric shopping, I am more often than not faced with paralyzing indecision, which results in texting half a dozen friends for reassurance. I lost my fancy magnetic pin cushion in the last move, along with all of my good pins, and now I’m using tiny, cheap, shitty pins that I hate. I also hate the term “cosplay,” even though some of what I do (hi, Dragon*Con) is just that. I still hate that word. It’s just a thing.
Clearly I am exactly the sort of person who needs to be writing a blog about costuming.
Despite all that, I really love costuming. I hate to sew, but I love to reply to compliments with “thanks; I made it.” I love fabric and trim in big squishy piles, and folders full of inspiration pictures. I love thrifting. I love repurposing existing pieces. Mostly, I love expressing a character through the clothes she wears, which is ultimately what I think costuming should be: the expression of character through clothing. That includes, or ought to include, attention to the historical period in which she lives, with all its attendant restrictions and drama.
And I’m learning; I really am. I’ve made two entire costumes with minimal help, and they were wearable, if nowhere near perfect. That’s a huge step from where I was when I started all this nonsense several years ago (see above re: skirt + safety pins). I’m getting better at this, and sometimes I have to remind myself of that. Costuming is something I really want to do well.
So this is a blog about costuming: designing it, making it, wearing it. And snarking it, because what is life without snark? And clothing.