Monday, July 15, 2013

Sewing and Organizing Tips: Tuesday Tips Round II

Every week we post "Tuesday Tips" around our various social media networks.  Our first ten can be seen here.  Our next ten are as follows:

11.  If you develop a burr on your machine needle, you can file it off with the fine side of an emery board.

12.  If your machine needle gets gummed up from sewing through fusibles or glue, wipe it all down with a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl alcohol

13.  If you need a stitching guide on your throat plate, blue painters tape is a good solution - clearly visible and won't leave adhesive residue when removed

14. Sometimes a pair of pants, skirt, or dress fits perfectly but it is just too darn short with not enough hem allowance to let it down the usual way. Here's one way to help with that: Let down the old hem and press out the hem crease, serging the raw hem if necessary.

15. Another way to help let down a hem without enough seam allowance to do the usual way: Sew matching color seam lace to the edge of the fabric on the right side, then fold the seam lace under and stitch in place to create a new hem.

16. Another way to help let down a hem without enough seam allowance to do the usual way: Use matching or contrasting double bias fold tape to encase the raw edge and create a finished hem effect.

17. For buttons without shanks, place a toothpick or pin between the fabric and button. Loop thread around the pin and sew the button on normally. Once the button is on, take out the pin. There will be enough room left between the button and fabric to loop your thread around to create a thread shank.

18. When trying to get chalk or marking pen out of fabric, use only unbleached fabric. Bleach can be activated by water, so when you're rubbing at your marked fabric the bleach could soak through and ruin your fabric.

19. When trying on clothing at the store, your side seams should fall straight down the side of your body. If the seam pulls toward your bust or backside, it is too small.

20.  Keep your pins in different pin cushions (silk pins separate from quilting pins, etc.) so they don't get lost

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Working with Sight & Sound Theatres

When Sight & Sound first contacted us to help them construct costumes for their upcoming show, Moses, we were intrigued.  This intrigue was immediately followed by all of us pulling out our internet devices to see what we would be getting ourselves into.  And boy were we impressed.  It seems as though each production seeks to out-do the previous, making their shows more and more fantastic each year.  Noah, the production currently on stage in Lancaster, combines the use of computer graphics, costumes, props, and lights to transport visitors to the underwater world of Noah.  So how do you top that??

Flash forward to this year and the development of Moses.  Now since we have only been contracted to build costumes (because, duh, that's what we do), we won't know until everyone else does how Sight & Sound plans to expand on props, etc., but we know the costumes will be fantastic.  The last we heard, the total count of costume pieces is upwards of 800.  Yes, EIGHT HUNDRED.  See why they asked us for help? ;)  We will be receiving batches over the next few months and transforming cut pieces of fabric into full costumes!

This project is a little different than things we usually work on.  Instead of beginning with a sketch which we then convert into 3-dimensional costumes, Sight & Sound is designing all of the costumes.  They are not only choosing the style lines and shapes, they are also choosing the fabrics and trims!  When we get a batch in the mail, all of the pieces are cut and packaged, ready for us to construct.  It has been an exercise in problem solving for us: looking at the sample, looking at our pieces, and figuring out the best construction method.  It has also been a tremendous learning opportunity for us girls and teaching experience for Marilyn: exploring new techniques such as lapped zippers, raglan sleeves, and french seams.

Overall, we have been so impressed with the design and quality of the costumes Sight & Sound has created.  The costumes will not only look great on stage, they will also hold up to the wear and tear they will receive.  (Sight & Sound runs their shows two to three times a day, five days a week, for a year.  And then the show usually gets shipped to their sister theater in Branson, MO to play there for a while!)  Each piece sent to us has been interfaced and stiffened to make them sturdier and our lines of double stitching will ensure that the pieces will last for the whole run of the show.

Sight & Sound, we love working with you and can't wait to see what's in the next batch!  If this little teaser about their costumes is making you antsy in your seat, dear reader, check out their website for more information about tickets!  We know we'll be there to see it in March!

Monday, July 1, 2013

#WhatsUpToday June

This month was a short one, but chock full of events. We opened Antony & Cleopatra, made multiple purple vests for the Laurel Arts Festival, celebrated Meghan's and Marilyn's birthdays, and prepped for my and Meghan's weddings (look for a retrospective on each of our gown creations soon!)