Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Post: Brooke of Custom Style!

I'm drinking tea in England, but that doesn't mean things are going to be quiet over here at Cation Designs! I've got some spectacular guest bloggers filling in for me over the next two weeks. Next up is Brooke, who has my dream job: she's actually a professional costumer! I first met her through the VPLL's 1912 project, and somehow we just hit it off! She is so encouraging, and I get warm fuzzies every time I read her comments. Seriously, people, not everyone who works in fashion professionally has to be a jerk: learn from Brooke! Anyway, she's giving us all a glimpse of her glamorous world today:

Hi, everyone! I’m Brooke. *wave* You might recognize me because I’m usually hanging out in the comments here on Cations Designs. First, I’d like to thank Cindy for giving me the honor of posting to her blog! She’s the first (and possibly the last) brave blogger to trust me with her readers. (I’ll try not to run off any of your followers, Cindy!)

Let me explain my back-story – no, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I live in the Dallas, TX area and I’m a professional costumer in the film and television industry but began my career in a theatre costume shop. My little corner of the blogosphere is called Custom Style – which started out as a free version of my previously unsuccessful website for my home business and has slowly morphed into something a little more fun as I’ve learned what people enjoy reading.

I love Cindy’s blog because I’m a sci-fi/fantasy geek who loves retro style and sewing. I’ve worked for Barney & Friends (aka “The Purple Dinosaur”), so since this is Cation Designs, I suppose you could call me “The Purple Sewasaurus Rex," hehe.

Anyway, enough about me – let’s talk about sewing and stuff! =)

In keeping with the theme of “travel” while Cindy is off enjoying a good cup of tea (so jealous – I love London!), she has suggested I explain how I pack what I need when I get a call to be a traveling seamstress.

What I take varies from job to job, but I often need to travel with my own kit of supplies, whether I’m sewing or simply working as an on-set costumer. When I get a call to work as wardrobe crew during a shoot, I always take my work apron, which I made to hold the bare essentials I always need to keep actors’ clothing looking camera ready.

My custom-sewn on-set apron. It’s been used and abused for years – I think it’s time to make a new one.

It holds a small water bottle, scissors, double-sided tape, tiny sewing kit, lint roller, various sponges, Sharpies, pencils, pens, Wet-ones, some other things, and the daily shoot schedule paperwork. If I need to carry a walkie-talkie, I clip it to the apron’s belt and use my personal ear-piece with mic. And I carry my work camera in the pouch on the belt (costumers take lots of continuity shots on set).

Apron contents: The standard size Altoids tin is my small sewing kit, and the smaller Altoids gum tin is the perfect size for my double-sided tape. There’s even a “secret” pocket for my chapstick & emergency hairband.
I also wear a lanyard around my neck, which holds a wad of safety-pins, folding scissors, and an itty-bitty flashlight.

When I’m working in an actual costume shop, I might only need to bring some good scissors.
Sometimes, I might only need to bring myself. And other times, I might need a basic sewing kit
with pins, needles, scissors, ruler, chalk, etc. 

My basic sewing kit. It’s a plastic tool box I bought years ago in the hardware section of Walmart.

Then there are the times I have to be a one-man-portable sewing shop. For those jobs, I have to take everything from my sewing machine to my iron – and hope I have everything I might need to do whatever a designer throws at me. (I don’t usually know exactly what I will be sewing and/or altering until I show up the day of.)

This is what I took to my most recent job. The brown box is the perfect size to hold my machine and I can stack my basic sewing kit and iron (in the little IKEA bag) on top, and the tabletop ironing board fits behind the stack on the rolly-cart.
(Like a smart human, I always carry a towel. *grin*)

And to wrap up my post about sewing travels, here are some of the fabrics in my stash that have a London/travel theme:

My favorite is the “Tube Map” fabric – I’m currently trying to decide on a dress or skirt style to make with it. For some crazy reason it was labeled as “Road Map” but I know the London Underground when I see it!

I hope you and your husband have a great trip, Cindy! And maybe you will catch some Star Trek reruns in German on the telly – it’s hilarious because everyone sounds like they are speaking Klingon. =)

Oh dear, I don't watch Star Trek, Brooke! I'm sorry, but I'm all about Star Wars...we can still be friends, though! Thanks for showing us what a professional sewasaurus rex arms herself with -- these are definitely not the two piddly arms that most T. rexes have! And you'll have to excuse me, but I might just have died from jealousy over that Tube Map fabric!


  1. I love this post - it reminded me so much of my days as a costume crew head! LOVE the London fabrics, too!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed some costuming nostalgia with my post. =)

  2. Replies
    1. hehe - It's just a little folding cart from Walmart. I think it holds something like 150 pounds!

  3. I wish I had that cart when I was hauling my new sewing machine from the shop...
    And I love that we get to see the levels of costuming. Thank you for sharing!

    1. It is a handy little thing! It folds up and it was perfect for lugging all of my stuff from my car down the elevator into the depths of the huge American Airlines Center where the film shoot was. Glad you enjoyed my post! =)

  4. What an awesome job!!! Definitely a dream job!!
    PS I love Barney the dinosaur!!!

    1. Sometimes, it's a really fun job. Lots of times, it is just a mad rush to make something work to satisfy the "higher-ups".

      I used to be annoyed by Barney (especially the songs) until I worked there and learned to appreciate the whole production. And after working on set with the constant repeating of the songs over and over and over - the actual show is amazingly short! =)

  5. Great post! I work in theatre as a stage manager, and it always amazes me what a wardrobe person might have to fix on the fly. I'd have you on my crew anytime! Also, I have that exact same WalMart toolbox - bought it probably 10 years ago - for my stage manager's kit. Mine's mostly full of office supplies, but I think we store saftey pins in the same compartment :)
    I am super envious of the tube fabric - the underground map is one of my favorite graphics, and I think it'll make a fab dress!

    1. Thanks! Ahh yes, then I'm sure you've heard the expression "let me chew some fabric and I'll poop a costume." lol.

      I have a lime green version of that toolbox too - I keep a bunch of beads in it. =)

  6. Great guest post, I love those fabrics! Wow you're sewing stuff is so tidy, you can come and sort my stuff out anytime! XxxX

    1. Thanks! Yeah, that's the tidy set up for photos. You should see my box immediately after a job is finished and I just throw everything back in the box to go home. =)

  7. Oh, and Cindy, thanks again and I like Star Wars too! =) My little sister is actually a HUGE Star Wars fan, so I read a bunch of her books (even though I am more partial to Trek). And it's never too late to watch a show even if it's old. You might like Deep Space 9 - it's my sister's favorite Trek. =)

    1. Hi Brooke!

      My mom and I recently came across your guest blog post on Cation Designs. I really love the "Tube Map" fabric you posted a photo of!! I have been looking everywhere for a print like that! Where did you get it? If I can find it somewhere online I would love to get some.

      Thanks for your time!
      ~Emily Hendrix


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