I haven't written in awhile...it happens. I've been doing a lot of sewing and costuming (read: a lot of not finishing projects before moving on to the next ones!), and I'm very excited about the things I've been making. I've been thinking about craftsmanship and sewing skills a lot...I am getting better, but I seem to be on a plateau of skill. I'm going up very little by very little, not in great leaps and bounds. I think part of it is my lack of knowledge concerning some things, like various types of stitches. I use whipstitch for EVERYTHING. I only recently learned how to buttonhole stitch. I know that other stitches exist, like hem stitch and blind stitch, and my fault is in not sitting down and simply looking up how to do these and then actually DOING them. Whipstitch doesn't bother me, myself, and I even kindof like how it looks when binding corset edges, or turning up a lower edge with bias tape, but other times it's just NOT the thing to have sticking out. Despite the stitches being very regular, it has that home-made feel I'm growing to hate. if I ever wanted to make costumes for anyone other than myself, anyone demanding or called a "client," I will have to improve my repertoire of handsewing techniques.
I don't have the desire to sew for other people, though I do have the desire to make money at costuming. I have a couple costumes that could be saleable if I refurbish them, or so I think. ARE they saleable? They're all used (since I made them for myself, and wore them), some more than others, and the craftsmanship only so-so. Refurbishments will improve some things and not others - for instance, I recut the bottom edge of my very first renaissance gown, bound it properly, and plan to remodel the skirt...but there are still some small things that I couldn't fix without completely deoncstructing the costume. The idea is to NOT make the costume over again, just to improve it. I don't plan on asking a lot when I attempt to sell it - I see some costumes on eBay for $600 - $800, and while they appear nice, I wonder if that's a reasonable asking price. I know that my construction is not perfect, and some of my methods unorthodox...are these people selling their homemade renfaire garb truly infallible seamstresses? Or do the buyers not WANT something so perfect? Lots of questions do I have, and really they are more like walls I put up. I tell myself it won't work, so I shy away from listing the gowns on Etsy or eBay...it's such a small fee to list something on Etsy that it's almost stupid not to give it a shot.
I do not want to get into making samples and made-to-order costume pieces like corset, chemises, bloomers, or full gowns. Back when I was employed only by myself, I was constantly generating idea for ways to make money doing anything and everything I was decent enough at. Now I don't have the time nor the desire, and after trying to sew something for a former "friend," who made my life miserable during that regrettable process, I just don't want to go into that again. I see nothing wrong, however, with making a costume for myself, wearing it for whatever reason or event it was made, realizing I will not wear it again or it will be replaced with something else, and then selling it. I was encouraged by a passing conversation at the las (and first) Gaskells I went to about a month ago, in which a lady said she had bought her dress from a gal who does exactly what I desribe - makes the costume, wears it once or twice, cleans it, then sells it on eBay. The lady at the dance said that they two are the same measurments, so she knows that the gown will fit her, and has purchased several items from this shop. Encouraging! There ARE people my size out there in the world somewhere, who go to faires.
So I have a handful of costumes that are ready to be 'Furbed, cleaned, and sold:
- My Very First Renaissance Gown
- Victorian Mardi Gras dress
- Dickens Daydress
- 1870s stripey polonaise (possibly)
And probably some more I can't think of right now. I'm a little reluctant for things like the polonaise and the robe a l'anglaise I made a couple months ago, because the arm movement is limited, and they are not all that easy to wear, or there are flaws. I would hate to suffer returns. see? This is me getting in the way of myself again!
Anyway. I have a lot of plans for new costumes this year, 2009. Obviously a new Dickens dress is in order (it's about time), and also the big project - Halloween uber-feathered robe (also an item to be sold) and chemise dress. I've swiftly pumped out a steampunk costume I plan to hang onto for awhile, and I've got some faire garb to finish up soon (eek! faire season has officially started!). I'm sure, as well, there will be other projects along the way for various dance events, or my own random desire (hello, new Robe a l'Anglaise, just for fun!). I don't like solidifying a "schedule," but there are some things that definitely have to get done before certain dates.