Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The mess that took a month: 25 fair maidens

You probably though I had been goofing off for 2 months, not getting a thing done because it's summer. Well, you are only partially right. I did spend a few weeks on the road with my mom traveling to Mt. Rushmore, but about a month before I got on the road I got a phone call from my aunt that spiraled into what proved to be the biggest mess of the year (comparable to the wedding cake fiasco of 2009).
She directs plays for the Humboldt Light Opera Company and was trying to get the costumes together for this summers production of The Pirates of Penzance. All the girls in the chorus line needed two costumes, one for each act, and as one of the Companies few connections near the LA garment district I called in to make the Act II costumes for 25 maidens.

With samples in hand I headed off into the very dirty streets of the garment district to seek out fabric for the project. My poor Toyota Echo made the drive home with a bolt of fabric hanging out of each window and a trunk full of ribbon and lace. I adapted an old top pattern that I had made in clothing class back in the 11th grade to have lace and pintucks down the front, and hacked up a pajama pattern to make the bloomers, and pretty soon I was color coding a spreadsheet to make 25 pairs of bloomers and 25 tops for girls of every shape and size.
My little apartment looked like a sweat shop as I cut out 50 garments, all labeled with sizes and names for custom fit. There were needles and pins and white thread covering every surface that wasn't stacked high with piles labeled things like "size L for short girls, need lace, pintucks done."
With the help of my fantastic mother when it came down to the line, I managed to get all the machine work done before hitting the road for our camping trip. I was driving across the Salt Flats in Utah sewing bows on each pair of pants by hand. I mailed the huge box of underware from Casper, WY and hoped for the best.
Two weeks ago the show opened, and I was forced to Facebook stalk my cousin's friends to find a few photos of my handywork so I could prove that I have been doing something all this time. I have to say, I'm glad I didn't have to wear this in front of a crowd!

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