Friday, October 23, 2015

Feature Friday: A Stitcher's Experience Making a Custom Costume

With Halloween right around the corner, the Studio has seen an increase in costume rentals, not only through our Costume Closet, but with custom costumes as well. One of our stitchers, Leah, took on her first custom costume project in the Studio last week. She shares her experiences in a Q&A below.

Photo: Leah (left) and JJ (right) tracing patterns.

Q: You've been working on a custom costume in the Studio. Tell us about tracing the pattern for it. What was your overall experience tracing it? Have you ever done pattern tracing before?

Leah: I have done pattern tracing before. But, tracing for the Winter Princess was different. I have never worked with this form of tulle before. Tracing was fun!

Q: What are the biggest challenges you faced constructing the costume?

Leah: The sheer tulle fabric really had a mind of its own. Time was lost due to the fraying and sensitivity of the material.

Q: How did you overcome those challenges?

Leah: Serging like a BEAST! :) and gentle touches. Motto: Be nice to the fabric & it will be nice to you.

Q: What did you enjoy most about making the costume?

Leah: The bodice was super fun to line. I think hand stitching can be somewhat therapeutic.

Q: What did you learn about garment construction that you never knew before?

Leah: I really learned the important of reinforcing and lining up my pivot points exactly.

Q: What advice would you give to stitchers constructing a garment for the first time?

Leah: Read and follow every direction. Take your time to think things through. It's better to have neat and precise work over anything else.

Friday, October 16, 2015

#FeatureFriday: America's Favorite Halloween Costumes by State in 2015

Have you chosen your costume yet? Halloween is 15 days away and for today's Feature Friday, I decided to see what the trends are this year.

I came across an interesting chart (courtesy of Influenster) that shows the most popular costume by state! Our state seems to have two popular costumes - Batman & Wonder Woman.

The most popular characters in the overall US appear to be Disney, superheroes, and Despicable Me.

Who will you be this year?

Don't forget - if you need a costume, check out our Costume Closet HERE.

If you rent a complete costume from us, you'll receive 10% off your total!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Feature Friday: Camouflage

I was recently outside on a rainy day when I noticed a tree across from my neighborhood. The trunk of the tree reminded me instantly of camouflage. I thought to myself, was it these kind of trees that inspired the army uniform print that grew into a fashion trend? Today I decided to find the answer, so this week's Feature Friday is: camouflage!

Camouflage is a French word that means the act of disguising. Some say the "father of camouflage" is Abbott Handerson Thayer, an American artist. He was the first to research "disruptive patterning" to break up an object's outline.

(Left) Thayer's painting entitled, "Peacock in the Woods" demonstrates how an animal can 'camouflage' themselves in nature.

Thayer first became involved in military camouflage in 1898, during the Spanish–American War. He and his friend, George de Forest Brush, proposed the use of protective coloration on American ships, using countershading. The two artists did obtain a patent for their idea in 1902, titled "Process of Treating the Outsides of Ships, etc., for Making Them Less Visible", in which their method is described as having been modeled on the coloration of a seagull.

Gradually, Thayer and Brush entrusted their camouflage work to the responsibility of their sons. Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (1909), which had taken seven years to prepare, was credited to Thayer's son, Gerald. At about the same time, Thayer once again proposed ship camouflage to the U.S. Navy (and was again unsuccessful), this time working not with Brush, but with Brush's son, Gerome (named in honor of his father's teacher).

In 1915, during World War I, Thayer made proposals to the British War Office, trying unsuccessfully to persuade them to adopt a disruptively patterned battledress, in place of monochrome khaki. Meanwhile, Thayer and Brush's proposal for the use of counter shading in ship camouflage was approved for use on American ships, and a handful of Thayer enthusiasts recruited hundreds of artists to join the American Camouflage Corps.

So it seems that the tree I saw may have not been the primary inspiration! (But it was definitely a part of it!)


Friday, September 25, 2015

Alexa Chung Talks Fashion in Vogue's New Docuseries

by: Ashley D.

One of my favorite people in the fashion world, model Alexa Chung, was recently recruited by Vogue UK to do a 6-episode docuseries on Youtube about fashion designers and the industry itself. She interviews several people throughout the series: new designers, established designers, graduating students of fashion, and more.

Viewers get an inside view of what it's like in the fashion industry, what it takes to be a designer, and how to climb the ladder of success.

The series just launched a few weeks ago and so far, two episodes have been released. At the beginning of the series, we see a long list of the top fashion questions that are searched on Google which Alexa goes through and addresses throughout.

To read more about the series, click HERE.

Watch the first two episodes below!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fall's Most Popular Colors in Fashion for 2015

Pantone calls this year's fall colors an "evolving color landscape." Consisting of earthy neutrals with a range of bold color statements, these colors represent "a love for nature and a timeless appreciation for warmth and security, which are conveyed through naturally inspired colors that remind us of things that are real and protective."

Here is the list of the top 10 colors for Fall 2015 (men and women):

An olive green shade once thought of as strictly safari or military, PANTONE 17-0627 Dried Herb has been elevated into a color we now perceive as sophisticated and chic. Closely related to nature, Dried Herb is an organic shade redolent of nature's earthy fragrances.

A cool and soothing greenish gray, PANTONE 16-0110 Desert Sage is the ideal neutral. Timeless and unobtrusive yet at the same time stylishly powerful enough to make an impactful statement on its own, Desert Sage speaks to this feeling of naturally inspired colors that remind us of things that are real and not invented.

Reminiscent of the sky on a gray, overcast day, PANTONE 18-4214 Stormy Weather is dependable, cool and above all, constant. Implying quality and luxury, Stormy Weather is a powerful blue gray shade that is strong, protective and enduring.

Just as the sun comes out after stormy weather to bring us cheer and a glimmer of hope, PANTONE 16-1144 Oak Buff is a mellow, comforting and warming shade that brings good feelings. Another one of nature's illustrious shades, the golden yellow Oak Buff acts to nurture and comfort.

Interesting on its own and a wonderful contrast for other hues, PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala is a winey red-brown that adds finesse and savoir faire. Rich and robust, Marsala incorporates the warmth and richness of a tastefully fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots point to a sophisticated, natural earthiness.

A lush and elegant teal, PANTONE 18-4726, Biscay Bay splashes up against more heated tones with its cool touch. Combining the serene qualities of blue with the invigorating aspects of green, the cool and confident Biscay Bay inspires thoughts of soothing, tropical waters, taking us to a place that is pleasant and inviting.

Thoughtful, contemplative and composed, PANTONE 19-4326 Reflecting Pond is a cooling blue with a lot of depth. Conveying a message of credibility, Reflecting Pond is a serious shade that speaks to our need for stability and security.

A nod to the '60s and '70s, PANTONE 15-1340 Cadmium Orange evokes a sentiment of optimism, fun and fantasy. Both playful and sophisticated in its appeal, Cadmium Orange is a warm, welcoming and subtly dramatic orange shade that is striking enough to stand on its own or act as a bold contrast.

A play on the '60s with a twist of today, PANTONE 16-2215 Cashmere Rose is a tactile and soft pink hue that renders exactly what it promises. Cultivated in its richness, Cashmere Rose is a gentle and composed pink that is more upscale than downtown.

Indicative of our affection for color, PANTONE 17-3628 Amethyst Orchid is the jewel in the crown.Intriguing, vibrant and somewhat sensual, the enigmatic Amethyst Orchid is an extraordinary hue that is unique, bold, creative and exciting.

So what do you think of this year's colors? Which one is your favorite? Leave your comment below!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Feature Friday: How to Pack a Travel Capsule

It's mid-August and summer will be on its way out soon. Do you plan on getting one last trip in before the leaves change? Today's Feature Friday gives you some packing tips as you head out on your last summer trip for the year!

Step One: Make a list.
I know, I know...a lot of people hate making lists! But when it comes to packing, it can really be a lifesaver! Those little no-brainer items are usually the ones we all forget!

Step Two: Choose garments that can be paired to create more than one outfit.
Pack some solid colors that can be paired interchangeably with other items so you can have less in your suitcase!

Step Three: Be a lightweight.
Leave behind pieces with bulky linings or heavy embellishments. Think thin and opt for pants made of polyester-rayon or acetate-spandex. Also, stretchy jeans or jeggings can take up half the space of regular denim.

Step Three: Check the weather!
Are you going to run into rain? Mild winds at the beach? It's always good to check the weather before a trip but to play it safe, always pack at least one light jacket or cardigan!

Step Four: One dressy item won't hurt.
You never know if you'll end up going to a fancy restuarant or event. It could be a spur of the moment thing! Always pack at least one non-casual outfit. So many times I traveled and we ended up going somewhere!

Step Five: Shoes, shoes, shoes!
Make sure you pack a pair of good walking shoes if you're going to be doing a lot of walking. Don't forget your sandals too - not only for the beach - but it's a quick take off/put on at the airport if you have to go through security clearance! And lastly, throw in that pair to go with you dressy outfit.

In addition to these tips I've given you, check out this great website below that features several lists depending on your travel style.

Functional & Fashionable Packing List

Friday, August 7, 2015

Feature Friday: Top 10 Fashion Trends for Fall 2015

The Fashion Spot recently published an article with the top 10 fashion trends for Fall 2015 based on wardrobe previews at runway shows.

Today's Feature Friday will highlight these 10 trends!

1. Colored Fur
Fur is a rising trend this year with a splash of color. The fur featured above is from Emilio Pucci. Faux is my preference!

2. Floral
Have you noticed a lot of floral print on clothing lately? I have! Floral is definitely making a comeback. The above outfit is by Suno.

3. Capes & Ponchos
I think capes & ponchos has been a trend for a while. Many women prefer it to a coat or jacket. The designer is Chloe.

4. Feathers
I haven't seen a lot of feathers on clothing yet, but I have noticed styles similar to this Michael Kor's skirt, but made with faux materials. 

5. Bold Colors
Bold is back! Not everyone is for the prints, so these solid bold colors are perfect. Suit by Diane von Furstenberg.

6. Haute Hippie
The hippie/bohemian style has continued to re-emerge in today's fashion trends.

7. The 70's
Everything comes back around! Similar styles of the 70's but with a modern color and pattern.

8. Turtlenecks
Some people love turtlenecks, some don't. But they are a classic staple that holds up through time.

9. Plaid
90's making a comeback? Probably. But plaid is one of those prints that everyone likes, if the color is right! 

10. Fringe
Fringe has been reappearing over the past few years. Another trend from the 60's and 70's that continues on! By Burberry.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Feature Friday: An Intern's Firsthand Experience Working with Beads

There has been a lot of bead work going on in the Studio lately! One of our interns, JJ, has been working diligently on two wedding dresses with beads galore! Working with beads is a difficult task that requires a lot of patience and concentration. Today's "Feature Friday" is an interview with JJ about her experience working with them.

1. You've been doing the beading for two different wedding gowns. Can you describe them and their beading design?

JJ: One is completely encrusted with pearls, crystals and rhinestones. It's replacing the beads after an alteration so I just had to pack them all in and even build them up on each other at some points. The other gown I got to help design the layout of has beads scattered across the front and up the train as well. I like the second one myself.

2. What are the biggest challenges you've faced working on beading? What did you learn about it that you never knew before?

JJ: The most challenging for me was making sure to go through one layer of the dress. If you go through more than one, it can pucker the fabric and ruin the look of the dress. I've learned how truly time consuming it is, but it's important to take your time so you're not having to go back and fix things.

3. Are there types of beads that are easier to work with than others? What are some tips you'd give stitchers working on beading?

JJ: I don't know I would say any are easier. They all have their own challenges. My main tip would be to take your time and be very patient! Look at it from different angles and distances. You are so close to it when you're working on it, it's really important to step back every one in a while.

4. Do you have any suggestions for brides-to-be shopping for their dress? (i.e. Things they should consider for alterations, etc.)

JJ: Know that it is going to need be to altered, just accept this. If it's a second hand, changes are it already has been. It's almost always easier to take something in rather than letting it out. Beads are pretty but they can be costly - you can probably tell the quality of the bead work by simply touching the beads - you don't want them to be loose or wiggly.

5. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

JJ: Pick your gown for yourself, and only yourself. It's your day. You want to look beatuiful and still be comfortable. Pick what makes YOU happy. (This is really just a personal opinion). :)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Feature Friday: Dress Waistlines

Bridal season is still going here at the Studio and we've seen several different gown styles! I thought I'd continue talking about dresses in today's Feature Friday as well, focusing on waistlines.

Whether a bridal gown, or a special occasion dress, here are different waist styles to consider when shopping!

Basque Waist
This waistline features a "U" or "V" shape.
This particular dress is made for a Quinceanera.

Dropped Waist
This dress features a waist line below the natural waist at the mid hip.
This particular dress is a great everyday style.

Empire Waist
This style has a raised waistline that sits just below the bust, 
from which the rest of the dress flows down to the hem. 
The Empire Waistline is used in all types of dresses.

Natural Waist
This style waist line hits at the natural waist, 
the indentation between the hips and the rib-cage.

Princess Waist
Also known as the "no waist," it features an  A-line silhouette 
with vertical seams down the front.

Which waistline style do you prefer?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Feature Friday: Types of Vintage Dresses

Today's Feature Friday dives into vintage fashion, particularly dresses and their different styles.

The A-Line

Form fitting around the chest with a cinched waist and flared out skirt, usually ends at the knee.


The top half resembles a men's button-down shirt and the bottom is a dress. The bottom can be A-Line or Shift style.

Not form fitting. The flare begins at or just below the chest. The fabric is often pleated. 

Also not form fitting. No flare. The style is straight and box, usually ending at the knee.

Form fitting around the chest, waist, and hips. There is no flare, the bottom falls straight and narrow from the hips. They are usually sleeveless with a high neck.

Form fitting around the chest, waist, hips, and knees. It narrows toward the bottom ending at the knees or mid-calf. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Feature Friday: Mood Rings

Today's Feature Friday focuses on Mood Rings - that cool piece of jewelry that contained a stone that changed color depending on your mood. Some people believed in them, some didn't think they worked. What did you think?

The Mood Ring was invented by a jeweler named Marvin Wernick in the late 1960’s. Wernick discovered the process when he went on an emergency call with a friend who happened to be a doctor. The doctor used a strip of thermotropic material on a young boy’s forehead to check his temperature which gave Wernick the idea for the mood ring.

Even though the technical discovery of the mood ring was by Wernick, credit is most often given to Joshua Reynolds for what became one of the biggest fads of the 1970’s. Reynolds was the first to popularize the rings in 1975 and even though they were a fad in the 70’s, they continually resurface for periods of time throughout the years.
The ring consisted of a liquid crystal thermometer in a quartz or glass stone that changed color depending on the temperature of the finger of the wearer.

When a person’s body temperature increases the temperature of the liquid crystal increases, and takes on a different molecular structure at every temperature. Each molecular structure reflects or absorbs different wavelengths which are responsible for the color change in mood rings. The color of the ring actually changes because of body temperature, not because of mood.

When the liquid crystal was calibrated with body temperature, it was also calibrated for color. Average body temperature displays a blue/green or teal color on the mood ring. The following is a list of all the colors and there corresponding moods, starting with the coldest temperature:

Black: depressed or down, really cold outside or a damaged ring
Brown/Gray: anxious or nervous
Yellow/Amber: tense and excited
Green/Teal: average day and average body temperature
Blue: calm and relaxed
Violet/Purple: happy or passionate

The rings initially sold for $45 in a "silvery setting" or $250 for gold.

They were short lived in the 70's and mostly worn by young girls. However, they did make mention in pop culture including a Peanut's comic strip where Peppermint Patty gets so angry at Charlie Brown that her mood ring explodes.

The Mood Ring re-emerged in the 1990's and this time came in different styles, not just the traditional oval stone. Some were bands, heart shaped, triangular and so on.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Feature Friday: Crocs

Do you remember how popular these shoes were when they first came out?

I had never heard of them until I slowly started seeing every other man, woman, and child wearing them. Did I ever become one of those people? Nope. They just never really got my attention.

Either way, today's "Feature Friday" will focus on the history of Crocs and how they became so popular!

The idea of Crocs was created by three friends on a boating trip one day in 2002.

All Crocs shoes are made with Croslite™, a closed-cell resin that gives each pair of shoes its soft, comfortable, lightweight, non-marking and odor-resistant qualities.

Their first debut was at a boating show in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Many people weren't impressed by the look of the shoe but needless to say, all pairs sold out by the end of the day!

In 2003, they introduced a separate line called "The Nile" which was geared towards women.

The friends opened their first mall kiosk in 2004 and today, have more then 400 stores around the world.

And what about the alligator logo? They actually didn't have one until a few years later! The alligator, named Duke, was introduced in 2005.

As the brand's popularity continued to rise, the company created a charity called, SolesUnited, now known as Crocs Cares. Since 2008, more than 3,000,000 pairs of shoes are donated to children and families around the world.

In 2010, the company expanded their style of shoes to flip flops and sneakers and today they also have boat shoes, loafers, boots, and slip on shoes that change colors called "chameleon."

So do/did you own a pair of crocs? What color? What style? Share your comments!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature Friday: Our Upcoming Campaign on Indiegogo

As you may have heard, our Studio is launching a campaign this Wednesday, July 1st on Indiegogo called, "Help Save Our Costume Closet." 

The main goal of our campaign is to cover the costs of maintaining the Costume Closet for the next year, which includes the rental fees and other overhead expenses for that part of the studio, cleaning costs, and material costs for any repairs needed. We have recently implemented several new marketing tactics and slimmed down our operation as much as possible. Now we need the time and capital to see it through.

Our Costume Closet consists of rare, unique and vintage pieces, as well as complex costumes we have built in-house. Our passion is to provide beautifully built, clean, and creative costumes for schools, theatre and dance troupes, film studios, and individual clients for theme parties, galas, Renaissance Festivals, Comic Con, and beyond.

Our Studio rent is $3,000 a month and the past several months have proven difficult in making ends meet. We do not want to give up our costume closet, as it took 16 years to build, and we love it greatly. But storing these costumes takes up most of Unit J, which is half the studio and half the rent – a whopping $1,500 a month.

We have our peak seasons for the Costume Closet (Spring: Bridal/Prom, Fall: Bridal/Halloween), and the in-between months of alterations as our bread and butter. This income alone is not always enough to cover the expenses of garment building and maintenance, let alone to allow us to take that next big leap. Now we need the capital to grow and bring in the costume clientele to match the level of our custom clientele.

Please visit any of our pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) or our website ( on July 1st for the link to the campaign. There will also be a video from the Studio with more information about the campaign. If you are unable to make a donation, that's okay! Please share any post from us with your friends and family. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Feature Friday: How to dress like Grace Kelly

Today's Feature Friday will focus on the fashion of Grace Kelly, courtesy of About Style.

1. The Circle Skirt

In the 1950s, Grace often wore dresses that featured a fitted bodice, a nipped-in waist and a full skirt, a silhouette known as the “New Look” made famous by Christian Dior, one of Grace’s favorite designers.

2. Simple Separates

Grace looks cool and casual as she sits on a makeup counter wearing a sleeveless black mock turtleneck and plain beige pants in 1954. The black top pops against Grace’s porcelain skin and light features.

3. Minimal Accessories

When Grace Kelly won the Academy Award for Best Actress for “The Country Girl” in 1954, she turned heads in a gorgeous sea foam gown designed by famed Hollywood costume designer Edith Head. The simple 1950's bag and minimal jewelry ground the ensemble.

4. Solid Colors

Grace often wore solid colors, specifically blue, pink, white and her favorite color yellow, like this Asian-inspired dress she wore to the Golden Globe Awards in 1956 where she won the award for World Film Favorite (Female). When shopping for a gown, select a solid color that complements your skin.

5. Simple White Shirt

Even in this casual white shirt and red-and-blue silk scarf, Grace looks stunning in this outfit circa 1955. One of Grace’s best accessories: red lipstick.

6. Tailored Pants

Just a few days before she left Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier III in Monaco in 1956, Grace wore this collared shirt with belted tailored pants that accentuated her tiny waist. With a printed scarf in her pocket and simple flats, she looks effortless and fuss-free.

7. The Kelly Bag

Originally named “sac à dépêches” when it was first produced in 1935, this Hermès bag was renamed the Kelly bag in 1956 after Grace Kelly carried it in front of her to hide her pregnancy. The Hermès Kelly bag is still one of the most coveted bags today. Can’t afford a Kelly bag? Opt for a structured vintage 1950s handbag.

8. Starlet Sunglasses

On the set of “Mogambo” circa 1953, the ingénue exudes Hollywood glamour in her dark sunglasses, pants and simple strapless top.