More than a decade and a million crazy ideas later…..


It’s hard to believe that Angie and I started all the costume madness over a decade ago. And, in that time, we have had a million crazy ideas. No lie! We started with nothing more than a couple free sewing machines, rudimentary skills learned in middle school Home Economics classes and stars in our eyes. Come to think of it, I didn’t even know if my sewing machine worked until we plugged it in. It’s amazing to see how far we have come over the years.

Also, in that time, we must have made a million mistakes. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have used a seam ripper to open a grommet hole, and slipped. When things like that happened, I had what I fondly refer to as “sewing tourettes”. In the early days, I was afflicted frequently. But, we made our mistakes blindly, and never once thought of quiting. We may have had to set a project down and take breather, but we never gave up.

Back then, we had very little money, and what we did have we spent on bargin bin fabrics and commerical patterns when they went on sale for $0.99 each. With no money left over to buy any reference material, we packed up the kiddies, and hauled everyone over to the library. We read anything we could get our hands on, making photo copies of anything that might be of interest, or in any way helpful. It was during one of these trips that we found what we commonly refer to as “The Costume Bible”. The real name of this book is Patterns for Theatrical Costumes by Katherine Strand Holkeboer. This book showed us that we could make anything we wanted, and how it would all be possible. It showed us that with a little math, some tracing skills and a lot of ambition, we could achieve the historical costumes we so desired. Granted, every once in a while, something went slighty wrong. Take my Edwardian corset for example. It traced out nicely, it went together great, and it gave me the proper shape needed for the era. Granted, I could kiss my boobs, but it looked good. We have since learned that you need some spring back, and maybe a front busk. Or, after a couple of hours, you’ll be telling someone to cut strings and let you out.

In the years since, we have learned the basics and beyond in tailoring skills. We still learn new things every day, and will continue to learn. I once read somewhere (not sure where, I have lost it in the muddle of my brain) that in order to reach a master level in anything, it takes 10,000 hours. 10,000 hours of research, practice and practical application. I know Angie has probably put in her 10,000 hours, but I am still working on mine. So, for all my sewing compatriots: how many hours have you put in? 🙂


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Angie says:

    When you pull out those old costumes, T, do you ever cringe at how cheap the fabric is we used to buy! Oh, some of the “polyester surprise” we made costumes out of – wow! lol! Those were the days – 🙂

  2. Tonia says:

    Oh! I remember them well. As a matter of fact, I have one that I may just dig out and do a feature on. Remember by “school marm” outfit? lol. The monstrosity that it was, is still in very good shape. I think it derserves a post all it’s own. 😉

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