How did you learn how to sew and make costumes?

I learned to sew in high school and I think anyone, whether or not they really want to make clothes, can benefit from basic sewing skills; but I learned to sew spandex and sequins and fringe in the late 1980s, when I was making costumes for strip joint feature dancers while my knee was too messed up for me to work as a dancer. Since every outfit was unique, and I was presented with unusual challenges like making a breakaway astronaut costume or a light-up skirt or gloves with wings attached, I learned to experiment. I learned that if you keep an open mind, you can make anything happen. Also, the dancers wanted their costumes to come off in interesting and unexpected ways; they didn't want to just take off clothes, they wanted special costumes that were more memorable, and inventive breakaways that made audience members gasp with delight. So basically, I learned by doing things I didn't know how to do until I did them successfully! But the basic sewing skills I learned in basic sewing classes, including draping and construction, were what made it possible for me to understand how to do get started when I designed and made Bambi's lobster costume:

Ask me anything about Burlesque!


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