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