Making a custom made costume
This girl knew what she wanted. Firstly, she is a fast food fan, secondly, somehow she discovered the scene in the fabulous Science Fiction Movie “The 5th Element” where the cops pull into a McDonalds “drive thru” and order from girls in Jean Paul Gaultier designed uniforms. “That’s IT!” she realised, that has to be the costume she’s going to get made for her halloween party.
In she came, with a printed out screenshot picture of the costume, and, being a graphic designer, had also specified Pantone colour matches.Very efficient. And very helpful.
Together we defined how the bottom half of the skirt would look, as you can see, the screen shot doesn’t show that far. I took her measurements.
Then we both went around town and compared samples. Once we had chosen the fabric and confirmed the design, I was able to confidently draw up the pattern pieces. The client had come in two months before she needed the costume. This is good, it gives us time to think about the design, and to make sure we source the best materials available, and also allows time for adjustments and fittings. It also enables me to fit it in between other jobs.
Fitting a corset
A corset is most comfortable when it’s made to fit your body shape. As you pull it tight, if the pressure is evenly placed around your rib cage then it’s more bearable to wear for longer periods than if it’s squeezing more tightly in one place than another, which can happen if the corset is designed for a slightly different body shape to your own. I also prefer to use a fabric that has a little bit of stretch, because it can allow for a little bit more movement. We made up a sample corset, to preserve the fabulous fire engine red corset fabric for the adjusted pattern. So I cut out all the pattern pieces and prepared them for a fitting. The paper pattern is then adjusted from that fitting, then it’s ready to start cutting out the real deal.
To best fit the corset I ask the client wear a bra that gives her the best shape for the purpose. We do the corset fitting before sewing in pockets for boning, so it’s less bulky to pin and therefore gives a more accurate fit. If the client is wearing support to give her the shape required, then boning is not yet necessary for this step. I use this time also to define the corset edges, neckline, the length and best curve line around the body. Once the corset is made and the boning is inserted, the client can choose to wear the support bra or not, as the corset should provide the support needed. I always imagine the corset will be pulled possibly four centimetres or so more tightly than the fitting and make sure to allow for that in the final make. it’s an intuitive guess, as this amount varies with size and muscle tone.
You want to look out for ‘spillage’ too. The cup area should be the right shape and volume to contain the bust, and not create an unflattering overflow and crease line at the top, around near or under the arms.
We had about 4 fittings in total, to double check the coset, and skirt and the gloves, and confirm the size of the M symbols. Check it out! I even made gloves too!
It was a pretty hot outfit and fun to make. I was so encouraged by her excitement to try it all on and wear it to her party. She looked pretty fabulous.
If you need a custom made costume, or are interested in getting styled up for a costume hire, you may contact us via email in the form below, include dates and your size in the information, or call to make an appointment:
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