Friday, July 27, 2007

I miss my costume building days...

Last night was a seam ripping fest in my livingroom as I took out the side seams of my friend Mark's Burningman outifts. The memories of sweating away in those costume shops over the years, flooded back to me. I love all the tense bitchy moments when a designer would lose it, or the fun and evil moments where everyone collectively bitched about them after they left. It was like a smoker's circle in there, but we would also take smoke breaks......it was a small slice of heaven.

When I first started in the cotume shop, I had only touched a sewing machine once. Within minutes, I relaized I didn't even know what a presser foot was and therefore had stitched my entire costume in high school for Psuedolous in " A Funny Thing..." with the damn thing up. I remember pushing the fabric through really fast trying to hold it all flat and not get my fingers hit with the needle. It was a nightmare, but thank god it was a tunic of thin berlap and not something more complicated. Stupidly this was my first story to share with the class, we were discussing our past experiences with sewing so the teacher could place us on tasks. A month later, our costume shop supervisor Christine gave me something to do that I thought would be impossible, putting the snot elastic into the arm and leg seams of unitards with the surger. I guess all that hell fighting with the presser foot up taught me to keep a good tension easily because I was declared the new pro of dance fabrics. Cornish Dance Theater became a big project each semester as I got better at sewing, and was a really big challenge for all of us. Later in that class I made several costumes for what was called "Mother's Tea," an event where we would model full costumes designed, built and worn by ourselves.... all set to music with tea, family, friends and sandwiches. It was always a highlight of the year. I made myself into a funky swingdancer from the 40's complete with check patterned highwaisted pants. I also made myself a smoking jacket and lounge pants from the 20's and then the biggest project of them all: My Kilt. I ordered the family tartan from Scotland, and the whole thing was about 80 hours of hand sewing.... I topped it off with black wool vest lined in satin and accessorized the rest with a fun "prop" sporran I fashioned out of some leather, a few rabbit pelts and some balsa wood cleverly painted to resemble metal. These project were always soooo much work, but it was amazing some of the things people made. I'll never forget your Marie Antoinette costume Samber with the giant slice of lodged in your wig!

Since I got myself a new sewing machine as a little present to myself, I am going to have to up the ante and start using the damn thing. I need to think up some fun ideas for burning man before I go that I can whip up on this thing. This fun project for Mark will inaugurate it and there couldn't be a more bizarre and fun way. Both the Bavarian Goddess and Rainbow Bright costume alterations will be done by tomorrow mid-day hopefully as there is much more to do and I still need a damn mountain bike. Anybody out there got one they want to get rid of or sell off cheap? Let me know y'all.

The stitching of the tent tarp and the penis casings will be the next challenges awaiting a needle. With the already escalating cost of the "Penis Topiaries" you may remember me mentioning, we are making a small ammendment and turning them into Cacti! Imagine 2 eight foot tall cacti cock and balls that are blacklight sensitive and kinda sway with the wind. It'll be fun, and hopefully close to finished by the time the weekend is done. Anyone need anything stitched? Up for a stitch and bitch?

2 comments:

Paul said...

Zacki .. you are so now a hero of mine! I love designers / costumers with all my little heart. As a stage manager, I love to go into a costume shop when the designer is "gone" and listen in on all the bitchin and moaning. BUT it must be said that because I had to SM shows with difficult and demanding designers, I take fantastic notes at production meetings. Now when can I send you info for a vest I want you to make?

Michael said...

I am SO jealous you are going ton Burning Man... I have always wanted to go. And I am in need of costume sketches for a new show I am doing... Between you, me and Paul, I think we should start our own company!

Regina George Environmental Theatre.