Arabian Nights, quick-stitch days!

My Neanderthol came home from college on Monday and asked if I’d be happy to make his costume for his role as the king in his drama class’ upcoming production of Arabian Nights. Of course, I said yes. That’s when he said could I make four other costumes as well…

I have always made costumes. Over the years I have probably made thousands of them. For ‘Pandemonium’ we enlisted the help of an army of parent helpers to create 120 Greek Chiton (with some adorable daffodil-mask accessories for eight of our big boys – what a picture they looked!); ‘A Walk in the Jungle’ had a variety of  costumes from little clouds to butterflies via assorted jungle ‘wild things’; ‘Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?’ required another hundred and twenty costumes including Shanghai cabaret dancers, some mad scientists and Spanish flamenco girls and boys. There are many more productions that I’ve been involved with, including the memorable ‘Unintelligent Lobster’ (and yes, Jasmine Smith, I DO still have the photos…!), ‘Singing mermaids’ (complete with ultra-violet make-up’ for that classic under-the-sea fluorescence effect, of course) and ‘quadrille dancing playing-cards’, to recall but a few from the dusty depths of my memory.

A few years back, when I first decided to take a break from teaching, I created a small business making costumes for stage and screen, which is where the idea for ‘Sew Iconic’ came from if I recall accurately. If you don’t already know, this was the book that I wrote a couple of years ago, that gave instructions for making ten dresses from iconic movies as well as lots of background information about the films, costumes and designers that I really loved researching. It sold well, particularly in the US and Finland I am told.

I made some costumes for friends at Rugby Theatre, including King Rat’s watery cloak of Evil as well as some intriguing costumes for their 60th anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice’s classic 80’s stage show, ‘Chess’.

All of this is in addition to augmenting my class dressing-up box frequently, creating ‘suggestion’ costumes for class assemblies and of course, all sorts of costumes for my own children to attend various birthday parties and their own school plays too.

I’ve probably spent half my adult life sewing costumes of some sort or another!

Sew (please pardon the pun there!) I will be engaged for the next few days with Ali Baba and his brother, a peasant, the Vizier and the King costumes – there’s shiny gold, sumptuous green satin and acres of white/green/yellow ochre silky fabrics all over my studio. I should go and get on with them.

Can you tell I am procrastinating?

Ho hum 🙂


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