Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thrifty Costume Design Part VII: Steampunk Hats

A big part of the Steampunk look is goggles.  More specifically, goggles perched on top of hats. Hat's were going to be the easy part of this equation. Goggles, not so much. It's probably the kind of thing that I should have been more on top of. However, I have a very strict policy of "prevent nudity first-worry about details later."

As we got through the dress parade and into dress rehearsals I slowly plugged away at the pages of notes I had left to do. "Goggles?" The Director would ask."Yes." I would say.  "Goggles?" The actors would ask.  "Soon." I would say. From where? Truthfully I had no idea, as I knew this isn't really the kind of thing Yale has many of lying around and I couldn't remember any being in any shows in the past few years. I asked a couple of friends who are into aviation stuff-no dice. I Googled "DIY steampunk goggles" and of course plenty of options came up. Now the question was: with time definitely not on my side how the hell am I going to make goggles with shit from the hardware store and hot glue?

On Opening day I still had visions in my head of gluing goggles together. (More than likely at around 7:30pm) I stopped into the costume shop so I could work on distressing a couple costume pieces and ran into Tom one of my Yale bosses and the costume shop manager. We chatted for a bit and then I noticed, there on a table, in the middle of the shop were these:


Oh snap, goggles.

Me: "What are these? Where did they come from?!"
Tom: "Oh we bought a few pairs for Romeo and Juliet. I think those came from Australia."
Me: "Can I HAVE THEM?!!!"
Tom: "Yes-are you OK?"
Me: "I am now. Do You have any more?"
Tom: "Well... I think I have some vintage ones in my stash..."
Me: "I'll take them, I'll take them all."

Once back at the Carriage House, in the space of an hour I completed the following hats:

For the silver goggles, I simply tightened the goggle band so it fit snugly on the hat and BAM! The safety pins are to add some extra shiny bits and to keep the goggles from accidentally sliding off.  I also had to spray the goggles down with a matte spray paint because they were waaaay shiny and reflected too much light.



These vintage brown resin driving goggles also had an elastic that simply fit over the brim and I was able to finally utilize the brass safety pins I bought at a flea market months ago. Again: fast, easy, bling that's oh-so punk.


These are vintage metal goggles that are green and came in a little tin. I painted them gold with acrylic craft paint so they can easily be restored back to green if need be. I stitched a chain to the hat brim and held things in place with more of the safety pins and I was done, with time to spare.



And that ladies and gentlemen, is how Tom saved my ass. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate his generosity at loaning me these. I'm sure I  could have made something happen in time, but it would not have been nearly as authentic or cool. Sometimes, as a costume designer, you just have to fly by the seat of your pants and have faith your friends will be there to help.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My (Half-assed) Vintage Couch Quest

Ever since rearranging the living room I have been on the look out for a vintage couch. (And a new desk, and chairs.) I say this quest is "half-assed" because while I have been looking whenever I am at the thrifts, and sporadically checking Craigslist, I haven't really gone out digging for one.  While I do expect a little serendipity to help with this venture, I can't really expect it to do all the heavy lifting.  Just when I think I'm going to give up, I get inspired by my fellow bloggers, and my late nights are spent combing Craigslist with a serious case of couch envy. (And Craigslist envy for that matter.)

Of course all of my problems could be solved by living close to Dana and her and her Son-In-Law's store Mid2Mod. Look at this beaut they just picked up:


Texas, however, is a bit of a hike.

This couch was spotted outside a Salvation Army by One Gal's Trash. The kicker is I know she lives near my Mother in the Portland, OR area. Unfortunately I saw this picture a few days after it was posted. Otherwise Mom would have gotten a phone call.



On the same day I saw the couch above I was looking through my backed up Google Reader and saw Oh So Lovely Vintage had a post about decorating your retro modern home. I was immediately drawn to this photo:


Coincidence?! Well, yes, I guess it is. I'd like to think this is a sign that the thrifting gods will soon bestow me a beautiful aqua sofa.  Crazy, I know, but I feel like I'm getting closer.  I have found that the best place in the New Haven area for decent furniture is Helping Hands, which I have raved about before. I keep stopping by and they keep almost having what I'm looking for.

A few months ago this took my breath away:


It was in perfect condition, under $100, mid century, tufted, curved and...white. A white couch is something I just cannot do. I have lived with one before in a roommate situation, I don't recommend it. Especially when you have cats that are prone to vomiting.

Recently, on the trip when I picked up the gingham mugs, this set was siting in the front of the store:


Again: perfect condition, each piece under $100, curved. The color is actually stripes of orange, gold, and chartreuse, the fabric is velour.  Oh and Helping Hand's delivers?! My only gripe? Those little cushions all over the place. They didn't quite snug up against each other along the backs.  Those little end bolsters were overstuffed and rolled around a lot. I just know the cushions moving around so much would  have driven me nuts, and I know the cats would be knocking them all over the place. (What can I say, they are rowdy and they've got hairballs.) Ultimately this set is close, but not quite perfect. Had the backs been a solid back with some tufting, I would have bought them in a heartbeat.

So the hunt continues and maybe when Fall rolls around I'll have a little more time to look. At least I keep whittling down my criteria.  And until I find the perfect couch I have plenty of photos to look at and dream about.  Oh yeah, and there's a Pinterest Board.

ETA: In March the fabulous Pam at Retro Renovation put up a post where folks could upload pictures of their fabulous couches. (Mr. Modtomic uploaded several, natch) Whilst scrolling through and pinning I discovered this:


PEOPLE THERE IS A SECTIONAL!!! This one is/was at a shop in Orlando, FL. Again, a bit of a hike. But it warms my heart, and gives me hope.  (And yes, I think that might be a taxidermy giraffe.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: Nothing to Report Except Irene Is Gone

Obviously Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene put a damper on any thrifting possibilities for the weekend. Fortunately my home escaped unscathed without even loosing power and there was no flooding on my street. In Connecticut a few shoreline homes were lost to the sea, and there is major flooding inland. All in all, it could have been much, much worse.  My thoughts are with everyone all over the East Coast who have to deal with Miss Irene and her aftermath.



I'll be back in the blogging groove this week, so stay tuned. I have more Measure for Measure posts, a Vintage Kitsch'n post about eggplant, and my (half-assed) quest for a new couch to share with you. Hopefully next weeks TSM will have some goodies, since there are plenty of Labor Day sales happening at the thrifts.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Goodnight Irene

I have a few fabulous blog posts started, but have not been able to finish them due to emergency preparedness for this Hurricane Irene who is ever so slooooowly headed this way. She will get here, when she gets here and not one minute sooner thankyouverymuch.

I have stocked up on supplies, and we have cancelled our shows for this weekend. Last night was spent battening down the hatches on the set so it doesn't blow away.

I have photos of my fabulous hurricane lamp to share with you.



I got this at a Goodwill for a dollar. It's in great condition and even has a sizable reservoir for the oil.


The only problem? No oil. I should have gotten some on Thursday when I was doing my first round of shopping. Thing is, it's not as available as it was when I was a kid, so I looked in all the wrong places first. I should have gone to Walmart or one of the monster hardware stores.  I intended to hit up one of the small local hardware stores, but just couldn't make it to that side of town during their business hours. Oh well! Ikea may be running low on bathmats because of back-to-school but they still have plenty of candles and batteries.

My only real concern at this point is loosing power. As long as I still have the Internet, I will try to catch up on posting this weekend. To everyone else in the East Coast blogosphere: stay safe!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thrift Share Monday

Now that Measure for Measure is open, I have a little more time to get back to thrifting. Garth came up from New York for opening night and we managed to hit up Helping Hands before his train on Friday afternoon.

I left with these cute Fire King mugs for 50 cents each.




Garth bought a tote bag with a Synchronized Skating logo and something else which he would not divulge. He says it is a birthday present. I suspect he found a couple of State Trays since he got to that aisle before me and then tried to distract me with a ceramic Indian Chief. Fortunately, my birthday is next month so I won't have long to wait.

I'm linking up with Her Library Adventures Flea Market Finds today.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Even Hipsters Won't Buy This

Some vintage clothing is hip, and some is just plain wrong.
What really scares me is the empty hanger that probably held a matching skirt. Or heaven forbid, pants.
I've never thought that attaching knits and fabric together was a good idea, this just proves my point.


Seen at the Bridgeport, CT  Goodwill.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thrifty Costume Design Part VI: Opening Night!

Another openin' another show...

8:50 am: I overslept. Even though I still have tons of stuff to do, I am just that tired that I slept through  my 8am alarm.

10:00 am: I am supposed to meet Becky, my assistant, at the Rep to work on notes and do laundry. At this point I am still in my apartment trying to get out the door. I leave 15 minutes later, having showered but not eaten breakfast, nor prepared any food for the day. (Anyone who knows me will know this is not how I usually roll.)

10:30 am: I pull into the parking garage and think "Is FroYo World open yet?" and "Would this be the worst breakfast idea ever? "

10:40 am: Becky suggests Atticus for breakfast. I say "Hell, yes!" We each order the Atticus Complete Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon, and 2 pieces of cranberry pecan toast. I eat all the toast as Becky is gluten intolerant and I'm already on the train to Stress Town and have no idea when I'll have time to eat again.

11:30 am-3:30 pm: I spend doing laundry from the previous night and distressing a couple of costumes. Distressing means taking perfectly good clothes and making them look like crap. In this case, I'm making it look like one character has been in jail for several years. It was especially heartbreaking this time as I had to spray dye onto a really nice mens vintage thermal shirt. But C'est la Vie! The things we do for art...

While I was distressing, Becky tackled some sewing notes.

3:30 pm: I head off to the train station to pick up a friend while Becky goes home to pick up a few things before we meet back up at the park. I swear no matter how hard I work and how much I prepare, I'm always working on the show until the last minute.

4:30 pm: Finally, some Steampunk goggle action.



5:30 pm: Becky makes some kitty ears for the prostitutes.


6:00 pm: A certain Vinyl Whore helps with shoe polishing and ironing:


7:15 pm : Dinner with Garth in front of the stage.



8:00 Curtain!


10:30 pm: Opening night party at The Director's house with Champagne and a giant spread of Italian food. It gets no better.

Our Opening Night was a great show with a wonderful audience. Now, life is about just running the show and playing catch up. (What do you mean I'm almost out of paper towels and toilet paper? Jeez...) While I will be back to my regular assorted blog posts, I will still be occasionally posting about Measure for Measure until Labor Day when we close.  After all I still need to show you where we landed with Mariana's costume.





Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thrifty Costume Design Part V: Dress Rehearsal

I think I may have failed to mention that this show takes place outdoors, in a park. Edgerton Park to be specific, which once was an estate. It has tons of character and is my favorite place in New Haven. Let me give you a tour:

The set is on a flat piece of the property where the house used to stand:


Isn't Vladimir's set amazing? You can read more about it and watch a video interview at The New Haven Register web site.

Our dressing rooms are in the old Carriage House:


Who wouldn't want to work here?



We were supposed to have our first dress rehearsal Sunday night, but because it rained like, 6 inches that day we had to stay indoors. We felt the most productive use of our time was to have what we call a Dress Parade. All of the actors get in their costumes and stand in front of myself and The Director. Then, we judge them.


No, not really. We just look at the clothes and then The Director and I discuss any changes that need to be made.

Monday was spent frantically doing the notes and finishing a few costumes. The actors had the day off so I was able to get the clothes to myself for the whole day to work on them. I even managed a trip to the gym.

My assistant and I continued our work all day Tuesday. In the evening, everyone got back into their costumes and we worked through the show, looking at the costumes and the other technical elements.



Wednesday, more work during the day and final dress in the evening. We managed a full run of the show without stopping. For all of the lost time due to the rain, this was a minor miracle.


Tonight is Opening Night! My assistant and I still have plenty to be getting on with. The actors will still be rehearsing for a few hours in the afternoon while my assistant and I finish our notes. I have to say I am very happy with the results thus far. Now if you will excuse me, I just need to fine tune a few more things...


Monday, August 15, 2011

Thrift Share Monday: New Vera

You know what we haven't had around this blog for the longest time?  Vera Scarves!

I found a couple of beauties at Savers when I was looking for belts for Measure for Measure. Both are sheer silk and according to the signature are probably from the 60's.


The green one with the dots is my favorite and was only $1.


This one with leaves is so pretty with it's blue, greens, and browns. it was $1.99


I'm keeping them both!

I'm heading into my tech/opening week for Measure for Measure so posts my be sporadic depending on my work load. If you are visiting for the first time from Her Library Adventure's Flea Market Finds  or Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share be sure to check out my series on how I use my thrifty skills to design Steampunk costumes for a local Shakespeare company.



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Need a Barbie?


Because the West Hempstead, NY Savers has like, a million of them.


Sanitary wrapped for your convenience.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Tray Update

Oh Nerds, it's been too long since a tray update happened. I recently got lucky though.  The trip to the Goodwill where I found my plaid Bermuda Bag also yielded me this:


Yes, I already have Cape Cod. In fact it was the first tray I ever thrifted.  This one will be living at the home of the Vinyl Whores who are even more obsessed with Cape Cod kitsch than I am.


I will be keeping the coasters. Interesting how they still managed to cram all the towns from the large tray onto the tiny coaster. You'd think they would scale back.


New to the blog? Find my whole collection of these souvenir trays here or at the "State Tray Status" tab at the top of the page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thrifty Costume Design Part IV: The Fittings

After I've gone through the process of choosing clothes to represent my sketched designs, it's time for the moment of truth. Will these clothes actually work, or not? You've measured, you've sized, but will the clothes fit the actor?

To refresh: the Mariana sketch. She's a girl in love with a man who doesn't want her. Why? Who wouldn't want this hot babe?! Well, it's complicated. Mariana's a nice girl with a bit of an edge, she hasn't been around the block-but she knows where the block is. This both attracts and repels Angelo who is desperately trying to put on a front of pious respectability.


Here we have the pulled costume ready to be fit, very similar to the sketch. You don't always find what you want when searching Costume Stock, but I get lucky more often than not. It's a similar skill to finding bargains at the thrifts. I also usually grab a couple back up options in case something doesn't work or fit at all. In this case, since everything was pretty perfect, I only brought an extra overskirt and an extra pair of shoes.


The next step is to drag these clothes, plus the couple backup choices, to the rehearsal hall to do fittings. We do them at rehearsal so I can see all the actors at one centralized location since they are always scheduled to be there for specific blocks of time. I make appointments with the Stage Manager a day or two before and I get the schedule emailed to me the night before. In the morning my intrepid assistant and I load up Scooter Subaru with the clothes, shoes, and accessories for the actors we'll fit that afternoon. I usually do anywhere from 5-7 fittings in an afternoon, they usually take 20-30 minutes. In addition to the time these 5-7 people usually each have more than one costume-sometimes as many as 3 or 4. On average that means hauling 15-20 multi-pieced costumes to rehearsal, packing and unpacking the car, and we try to keep it all organized and relatively wrinkle free. It's a good thing I own a station wagon!

At rehearsal I meet Vanessa, the actor playing Mariana, for our fitting. First, we try on two other costumes. She has a couple scenes in the beginning of the play as a general townsperson and as a prostitute. After we get those clothes squared away, it's on to the good stuff.



First a big thank you to Vanessa for permission to photograph her fitting and to write a blog post about it!  Second-It works, it works, it works! The foundation of the costume is great, it just needs some fine tuning to take it to the next level. As you can see the blouse fits perfect. The skirt is going to be taken up an inch or two in the front to land above her knee and stay the same length in the back to follow the line of  the bustle. We are also going to stitch a bar tack on the zipper in the place we want the zipper to stay open. We don't want it creeping open on her while she's busy onstage. Actors should always be able to wear their costume with ease.


The suspenders were adjusted on the corset to sit in the right place on her body and will be stitched in place. Notice on the corset there is a gap between the edges of the lacing. My assistant and I will put a fabric placket behind that so we don't see the blouse and skirt business underneath. We'll also tack all of the overskirt draping so that it will stay in the same place every night. We'll probably also add a bustle pad to the back of the over skirt skirt to give it more fullness.

Now I have to say, that every thing looks great, but I am not as jazzed about those boots as I thought I would be. I think that they look kind of clunky and are not sexy enough.  Combined with the bustle, the shoes widen the line of the costume-which is definitely not something any of us want.

So we switched it up and tried on a pair of boots we had picked out for her other costumes. So. Much. Better. Vanessa looks taller and the costume looks less cumbersome. These have a much "sassier" heel which is right for her character.


These are a pair of Fluevog boots I pulled out of stock. They have been around the block, but being Fluevogs, they are still in great shape. Likely I will do something to "Steampunk" them up, either paint the heel and toe,  or add some buckles or something. Likely, too Vanessa will wear these for the entire show so I need to do something to distinguish the boots for the other characters.

Only a few more days until our first dress rehearsal! Now it's time to do all of the notes from this fitting and the others. I will probably not have time to write an in-depth post about Costuming next week but I will post some pictures of our progress before we open the show on the 18th.



Monday, August 8, 2011

Thrift Share Monday

I didn't really hit the thrifts too much this week. I had a lot to do, getting ready for Measure for Measure fittings. I did manage to get to a Goodwill with my assistant one day when we had a two hour break between fittings. Before we went in the store she asked if we needed to be shopping with "blinders on", meaning for the show only. "Oh, hell no!" I replied, "I would never make you do that." In fact I picked up this Bermuda Bag for myself, about 2 seconds after walking in the door. It's very similar to the ones I have in my Etsy shop, though it's a different brand.



I love the wooden clasp.


The lining is in excellent condition, leading me to believe it wasn't used much, despite the moth hole in the plaid fabric.


It even had this weird little bag in the inside pocket. I'm guessing it's for change. I'm keeping this one. Due to the moth holes though, it's quarantined in the freezer for the moment.


I also swung by Savers on Thursday morning in a quest for a maxi dress for the show. Last summer those ugly things were popping up like weeds. Now I can't find one to save my life. (I managed to find something in costume stock eventually.) But I did snag this out of the furniture section for myself:


Hello, mid-century, folding magazine rack for $3. How are you today? I actually debated not getting this, then I thought, mid century. $3. You'd be a fool. It was the stamp from Poland that sealed the deal. It's the only identifying mark I can find. 


Anyone have any ideas on a maker or designer?

I'll be heading out to do some more shopping for Measure for Measure tonight. So I'm sure I will have plenty of goodies to share over the next week. Though tonight's trip will include the Mall (shudder), you just can't find good goth stuff second hand. 

I'm linking up with Her Library Adventures for Flea Market Finds.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thrifts of Terror: Words With Friends

I can't tell if Marissa was BFF's with Bunk, or with Sam? 
Or maybe it was the Summer of Sam?
Most likely she bunked with Sam.



When I first looked at this I swear I read the letters that had fallen to the bottom as "Godot."
I thought-"Oh theater camp, they must've bonded over some Beckett."
Oh wait, that was "GoodT  imes."
What can I say? Theater brain.

Seen at the Hempstead, NY Savers