Tag Archives: dressmaker
Being contacted to make a scare clown costume was not my idea of fun.
When first contacted I was in shock.
Thoughts ran through my brain like ‘perhaps I am being stalked by a scare clown’. This was when all the hype of scary clowns chasing people on back streets was all about. ‘Perhaps when he shows up for his appointment he will bring a large knife and stab me’ I know now how irrational these thoughts were but at the time I was incredibly intrigued. I have not met a more lovely celebrity than Cliff Dorian.
I didn’t realise that being a scare actor was actually a job let alone a money making enterprise. Which as much as it brings serious joy to the lives of those children and adults that see the Pennywise costume, it is also one of the many faces of Cliff Dorian notorious Australian scare actor.
Cliff arrived at our first appointment with no knives and seemed a rather gentle soul. As we sat and drank a cup of tea together we started discussing the design and how he really wanted to pay homage to Stephen King’s Pennywise and soon decided that we match enough to begin the design process together. I drew up a quick sketch with his measurements
Little did I know the long and extremely hard stitching journey I was being commissioned upon in producing the Pennywise costume. The days when your in the sewing room for several hours at a time are just a necessary function of my business to create whatever look I have been commissioned to make. Here I am with Cliff Dorian in one of several fittings over the creation process journey we went on together.
We had to think a hell of a lot about every facet of the design process as making each piece of the garment was totally different to anything else that I would make custom for the 21st century. Cliff was very particular about what he needed and was very easy to work with in discussing viable solutions to each part of the design process that we had. From the way the collar was frilled to how the pantaloons blew out. How to create something that will move with his body in a fabric that would be versatile enough to last wash after wash and performance after performance. With months of work in the sewing room we made something quite beautifully horrible.
We looked at everything that was being offered in the market and looked at how our costume would be different to other cosplayers doing the same thing. Cliff as a professional cosplayer wanted the best finish possible. We discussed even making the garment in silk but decided for functionality it would be better to use a cotton nylon stretch blend. we searched everywhere to find proper images of the original costume so we could make it as realistic as possible but different enough through fit and fabric that it is not an exact copy. As copying the actual design 100% would be breaching copyright on the Pennywise design. Which is both morally and legally wrong. So we continued the design process onwards for months back and forth determining every single detail to perfection. Pinning every piece in place and making multiple changes to the look to fit and to the style. Like the length of the jacket to get the right proportion to Cliffs body. Everything had to be just right. After I completed my part we sent the costume over to Amanda Smythe to do further customisation to get the costume to look like it’s come right out of a sewer and look like the alien monster that Stephen King wrote about. We had a blast working together and at the end Cliff and I attended one of Cliff’s multiple Halloween events. Halloween at Lithgow. Here’s the final result
Here we are having a cuddle at the end🤡
Professional photograph by Lighthouse Photography Sydney.
Professional scare actor Cliff Dorian
Custom Costume pattern making and sewing The Dressmaker Secret Culture.
Professional Costume further customisation added dying and special FX Amanda Smythe
Mask by Shattered FX
Leave a comment | tags: blood, bob gray, cliff dorian, clown, cos, cosplay, costume, costume designer, cutting, Design, dressmaker, Fashion design, fun, gutter, halloween, happy, home alone, I.T., IT, kid smuggler, lithgow, murder, pattern making, Pennywise, pinning, scare clown, scary, sewing, Stephen King, stitching, trash | posted in costume, Designer Inspiration
Designers and original makers are dying out. We are going extinct and being replaced with big machinery and cheap overseas labour. Not only that whenever we make something that is authentic it is copied. That I don’t mind. I just want to let people know that working with our hands and a sewing machine is an art form and the fact that you meet someone who can sketch an image, draw their own pattern, cut and sew from start to finish is rare nowadays and I’m amongst the youngest in this field in Australia that can make anything from the beginning.
When you look at a dress in a retail store that costs $350 it has went through so many hands for each piece and the fabric sourced all over the world but made in less than an hour. When an authentic creative makes you something for $350 +++ it would of taken many more hours or days to produce. The sewing of retail clothing is hardly done in Australia nowadays and is mostly done in India, Bali, China, Phillipines, Turkey etc where the dollar is cheaper. I don’t mind that but do not compare an authentic designer or creative who makes one off designs or capsule collections to the mass produced market or to something you buy from the retail store.
For 19 + years I have been slowly learning my craft. Just bits a pieces here and there picking up every piece of knowledge that I can from people, from books and just generally learning as much as I can of anything at all that I can apply to my field. It is my obsession and my dream. I am young to be running my own business as a Designer Dressmaker but I created my job because I saw a need in the market. Plus until I started calling myself The Designer Dressmaker nobody else had put those words together. The decline of dressmaking and especially dressmakers that make their own patterns is obvious in Australia adding further value to what is left. We are a dime a dozen. Help contribute to Australian dressmakers or local dressmakers if you aren’t Australian because otherwise we may just die out and who shall you buy an authentic designer dress from.
I’m going to rock this year. You should too. 🤘🏻
Leave a comment | tags: art, Arts, Arts and Entertainment, Australia, authentic, beautiful, Brand, Business, clothing, costume, Design, designer, dress, dressmaker, EBAY, ETSY, fashion, Fashion design, inspiration, love, marriage, Photographer, Photography, pieceworker, Runway, secret, secret culture, secretculture, Shopping, Sydney, Textile, unisex, Women | posted in Women
Making an entrance onto the Australian Fashion arena late in 2016 we have CRBN with lead designer Whitney Duan. The label is so different to regular Australian fashion labels. Which is what makes it so very interesting.
They are here to change the rules on gender.
So you are curious? How can CRBN change the rules on gender?
Well with time staking . Men are wearing skirts. Women are wearing the pants and actually whatever they want. I mean why as a female should I wear a dress? I want to wear a skort today and I don’t care!
I want to see men in dresses not just because free balling is comfortable but why not? The only thing that has been holding back men from wearing dresses is that dresses aren’t made to fit the male form by the consumer market. Hence why CRBN is a game changer. Men can choose to wear what they want from their range. The fact physically it is a dress or a skirt is just a label and a social image that has been underpinned by oppressive social expectations handed down through generations . Its just a name we gave it to identify what it is but would it be so bad if we named a pant a skirt and a skirt a pant. In the end its the same fabric with the same stitches, the same cotton that holds it together. Just like the difference in gender. Gender is just a label male, female and most recently we have added in no gender which btw is still a label. All these names and boundaries we create ourselves as humans.
‘We have so many people wanting to dress and expand their new style from mundane commercialism. Plus with drag queens now tapping into the mainstream industry with Ru Paul’s drag race/ we have an untouched market’
Melbourne Designer & Stylist
Whitney’s background is in Philosophy and Art History so her perception of gender is quite in tune with a general move by society to become less gender specific. We are after all a society who wants whatever we want when we want it. Socially we just want to be able to wear what we want without the backlash of social expectations. In fashion ‘different’ is the new ‘cool’. So as unisex clothing gains momentum and is starting to be seen as the new cool there are so many self styled innovators who are picking up the product and trying it. CRBN is a blend between fitted and baggy streetwear with styles you could wear everyday casually or dress up to go out and party in with an emphasis on comfort. Now that we already have so many people out there who are innovators gaining awareness of the product and trying samples of unisex clothing in their day to day lives. Its time for early adopters like you and I to support unisex clothing and pick up the trend and deliver it to the growth stage and mass market before unisex is totally accepted and adopted into our society. So I ask you. Can you challenge your own thinking that you have been taught from birth? Can you try something different to see how it fits and feels? If your not excited by now to break the rules and kick back the boundaries of social expectation then I’m probably howling to the moon.
While working alongside CRBN as one of a select group of consultant pattern makers I sat in on quite a few late night fittings and meetings behind the end product. In collaboration of their first range I found Whitney and her partner radio spokesperson and author Eden Duan to be quite unique individuals in fact their strong bond and communication was the back bone of getting things moving at the rate that such a large collection could be developed. Developing a range this large requires so much time and effort away from regular day to day existence and as a power couple they worked together to make CRBN from just an idea to something tangible something that any designer could be proud of. Whitney Duan designer of CRBN is the new kid on the block. I am loving her cool style and needed to share it. She actually gets how contemporary humans are feeling. Lets just erase some of the labels and start again. Fashion is now geometric lines, contemporary, rule breaking, minimalistic, unisex clothing.
Author: Ashleigh Renee Evans (Secret Culture)
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Leave a comment | tags: art, ashleighevans, ashleighreneeevans, Brand, clothing, crbn, crossdressing, Design, designer, designing, dressmaker, fashion, gender, history, inspiration, pattern, patternmaker, philosophy, Runway, rupaul, secretculture, shop, trend, unisex, whitneyduan | posted in Women
The dress is beautiful. Absolutely stunning! Embellished in gorgeous Swarovski crystals and fine lace. The silhouette is off the shoulder panelled with a gorgeous fishtail with lace and Swarovski detail. The bodice is covered in lace as well and embellished lightly in each flower with Swarovski crystals.
Leave a comment | tags: beautiful, costume, custom, Design, dress, dressmaker, evening, fashion, Fashion design, fashion designer, formal, gorgeous, inspiration, life, New Year, one, one-off, onpoint, secret, secret culture, secretculture | posted in Women
sewing is not just a craft to me. It is my life. Something taught from my mother from when I was deep within her womb. The sound of an industrial machine humming to the beat of my mothers foot. Falling asleep to the hum every night while my mother worked to support our family from home as her grandmother did her father. Dressmaking was not meant to be an easy job and can take quite a toll on each and every one of us. The smell of new fabric on the bolt. Knowing where to place that flower, bow or lace come second nature. Drawing a pattern and cutting the fabric so the flow of the garment falls amazingly. It’s just what I do. It’s something deeply instilled in my person. Not many girls can say they have grown up playing hide and seek amongst rolls of fabric or playing cut out the doll costume when they were 4. Or even that their first injury was from sticking their finger into the turn wheel of an industrial machine while it was sewing.
I do not sew just because I can sew and I have been taught from a young age how to guide a needle through fabric. I sew because sewing brings great joy to my life. The joy of creation and design. The ability to design from a line to a piece of fabric is something that is a dying art. I have more than ten boxes of fabric that I have hoarded over my lifetime and it makes me feel alive just looking and feeling the fabric. The endless possibilities and innovation I visualise as I run my finger across the fabric. Such beauty to be made. Not just to follow the trends set by other designers but to innovate new trends through my own creation. You can put ten designers in a room and get them to draw patterns of the same design and every one will be different. I don’t care if people copy me or my designs because no matter how hard they try it will never be the same. It will never have the same quality or finishing. I care only for creation and the joy of placing a needle through thread.
Leave a comment | tags: Design, dressmaker, Fabric, innovation, jpurney, seamstress, third generation | posted in Women
While others are outsourcing to other countries in poorly paid factories with poor lighting and poor facilities.
Mothers are sewing in these factories and have children who are going without and workers are being paid the wrong pay so you can wear your cheap and nasty looking clothing.
Not only this the poor worker is working in filth while sweat is pouring off them because they are working so hard that the term sweat shop actually is relatable. Their arms and wrists are aching because every day they sew the same thing all day long making the same movement. Later on in life they will be riddled with arthritis and their backs will be bent from bending over a poorly lit sewing machine.
There are those of us that just don’t want to be unethical. We can see the damage it has caused to countries and the affect fast fashion has on land fill. The worst and most heart breaking affect is on the people who by their circumstances are subjected to unethical design.
We live in such a throw away society. Every time we buy something that is throw away. Something that’s cheap and in fashion that will be out of fashion next week we are contributing to this problem.
It’s not just the designer but it is also the consumer at fault here.
Meanwhile in Australia. Piece workers are doing a similar thing to compete with a market that is just so hard to compete with just so they can make a name for themselves and beat fast fashion. You see in Australia the minimum pay for piece work is $40 an hour. That being said so many designers are unwilling to pay this price because they can get it cheaper overseas. It’s a sad industry when you have to be underpaid in your own country to compete with your overseas competition. I personally have sewn piecework for labels and one in particular from Newcastle Australia who wanted to pay just $10 per garment. The garment would take me an hour to make. I could not believe the hide of this woman. So bloody cheap. Unbelievably cheap. While she gets $40 for a pair of shorts expecting me to sit there and sew all night for $10 per pair. Not only that she would be calling me to have them done overnight when I had not even had a chance to sew them. As a dressmaker and daughter of a dress maker I was quite offended by this. That’s why I felt I should speak out because she the designer who does not even design her own clothes is still doing the same thing paying pittance to other piece workers so she can get $300 for a dress. it’s disgusting. She doesn’t even make her own patterns or make any decisions in the design process. Now I hear she’s outsourcing her pattern making for $5 a patten somewhere is Russia. For someone who outwardly claims to be ethical I am so ashamed of this woman saying she is a designer and pretending to be while she profits off her unknowing customers. She just profits off actual designers and dressmakers who want so badly to use their craft that they are willing to sew for almost nothing.
My personal experience during this process was that I would be doing all nighters until 5am in the morning sewing and while the sweat was pouring off me I could not help but relate to my overseas counterparts. Who could not choose to give up their careers as piece workers.
So as you can see even if you think the company is ethical it sometimes is not. You really need to investigate to find out before you buy.
Leave a comment | tags: Design, designer, dressmaker, ethical, pieces., pieceworker. piece work, unethical | posted in Women
Ok I’ve said it before many times. A quilter is not a dressmaker. But a dressmaker is 100% the person you go to after having your wedding dress stuffed up by the quilter.
So you know she’s a friend and she can sew but can you trust her to sew your wedding dress?
Well according to myself not unless she has knowledge of pattern making, fitting and fabrics.
It is very different sewing straight lines and showing you can appliqué a few stray cats on a cushion to hand sewing beads and lace to dresses
Fitting the dress to the human form adds a whole other dimension. You have to know how much to fit the dress so it’s not too tight and it’s not too loose. You have to know how to alter the pattern so you can change the style to suit the bride. You also have to help the bride choose the right style steering them away from bad taste moments. Remember that dress you really liked on the hanger but the style just didn’t sit right and looked horrible.
Sewing a wedding dress is much harder than the average sewers sewing level. If you are a quilter and have succeeded in making a wedding dress well done but I bet you will never attempt another one unless your a glutton for punishment.
The nicest wedding dresses are designed especially to suit the bride and made with the highest quality fabrics and needlework. They should have a mixture of hand and machine sewing and fit just right with the right style to suit the body shape.
Leave a comment | tags: beide, bridesmaid, bridesmaidzilla, bridezilla, clothing, designer, dressmaker, machinist, marrisge, pieceworker, quilter, sewer, sewist, textiles, wedding | posted in Women
So I didn’t realise how hard building a website is and starting a business until I bought my go daddy domain 4 years ago. Here’s how I did it. First off I used my domain and my friend attached it to my blog until I could figure out how to build the website. Now the best part of Wix is how easy it is to build the website with them. You don’t need to know how to speak the language of html which I still can’t speak either. You just need your photos and the ability to upgrade your account $$$. The wix website editor allows you to add pages and buttons as well as background images. Portfolio pages and even a shopping cart. The thing that is off putting is the cost. A website is something I wasn’t willing to invest in until I was sure I was ready. Since I bought my domain four years ago I’ve completed a diploma in fashion design courses in marketing and management as well as admin inc book keeping. The list goes on. I’ve also worked as an intern for Suboo resort wear. Had some work experience working for we are handsome swimsuits resort wear as well as Jenny rose fashion leather textile designer. I’ve worked for a famous shoe designer in Sydney years ago Donna may Bolinger. I’ve seen the back entrance and the front entrance of fashion. I might not like the social and ecological effects it has on our society but I just want to make clothes and share them with people. I want to make changes in this world. I don’t want to leave a heavy foot print. I want to find a better way to make fashion environmentally friendly and I want to build my own factory overseas with a crèche with training and proper pay. I’ve worked for nothing and worked for something. I’ve been a pieceworker and a dressmaker. I’ve made custom designer outfits I’ve designed and I’ve had to pattern make copies of pictures for clients. I’ve been an advisor for new fashion labels who have no training and I’ve been advised by my mentors. Now amongst working permanent part time as a blood collector and running my business as a pieceworker and custom designer dressmaker. Everything I’ve ever done has been directed to this moment and I feel on top of the world. I might not of been an overnight success but even I realised if you start building something now it will eventually become a success. If you share the passion you have for your dreams with people they will eventually become addicted to your energy. If you fail get back up on that horse. Don’t ever give in. Don’t ever let your fears get the better of you. Be brave. Be humble. Be beautiful. Stress does funny things to people but If you don’t let it get to you then you will succeed. Eventually. Take every single lead that comes your way. The people who fail are the people who don’t try, who give up and forget their dreams. I’m ready and I’ve just launched my website http://www.secretcultureshop.com
If you like what you see please follow my blog, like my facebook link on the right hand side or follow me on Instagram #secretculture or Twitter Ashleighreneepatel.
Don’t forget to live, love and be beautiful;) xx Secret Culture living the dream
Leave a comment | tags: Business, culture, designer, dreamer, dresses, dressmaker, godaddy, happy, life, love, lover, pieceworker, secret, website, wix, Women | posted in Women
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Leave a comment | tags: amykovacs, artist, ashleighpatel, batemansbay, Bodalla, Design, designer, dressmaker, kovachrome, Newcastle, Photographer, Photography, secretculture, sneakpeak, southcoast, summer2015, turross | posted in Women