The bride wore Nude Power Mesh and Tulle. Sewing for Sink the Pink

I had loads of fun sewing this catsuit for Sink the Pink’s Wedding themed night. As ever, my muse and collaborator on this was Glynfamous.

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This was made around the middle of April and I think I’ve only just managed to put the memory of all that gathering of tulle behind me.

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12 inches is enough, right? ; )

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My output has been pretty literal lately – chickens, Flamingotits, pineapple dress, Divine, Diana Ross (haven’t posted some of those yet) – and these bring me a lot of joy, to the point that I end up laughing to myself and startling the cats. But this look was one of the more conceptual costumes I’ve made this year. I really wanted to make it beautiful.

Glyn started by emailing me (two links maybe not safe for work, transparent dress = nipples. The horror etc) this with a preference for ‘preferably peach, maybe nude’. Here’s another pic. So the inspiration was only Alexander bloody McQueen. Something like this had to be nude-toned, and to make life more difficult for myself, I decided to make the shoulder detail symmetrical. Because, obviously, I like to hate myself.

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Not quite symmetrical here but you see where I’m heading. The tulle was folded once lengthwise, then I ran it through my overlocker on a gathering setting. The tension wasn’t quite high enough so I held one of the threads down as it fed through to increase it – just thinking about that makes me wince for my poor old loyal Janome. Sorry girl, I put you through so much, sequins, PVC, fake fur… and you never let me down. Rather than piss myself off and stitch the tulle directly on to the cat suit, I stitched it to a power mesh panel and hand stitched that to the cat suit.

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I hand stitched the zip at the back and it was finished but not quite ‘done’. A few beads, later and I was finally happy with it. I like a bit of movement and it breaks up the colour.

So, there is is. McQueen-inspired wedding cat suit. Although I think I may have been subconsciously channelling my parents’ chickens.

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This is one of my favourite photos of Glyn ever, on stage being piggy-backed by Steph of The Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club. I’ve taken this from the Sink The Pink Instagram account – NSFW.

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I also made a little something for myself, more on the cat print dress later…

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Chicken costume for the win. Sewing for Sink the Pink & Glynfamous

That’s right, chicken dungarees for Sink the Pink. We’re into surreal sewing territory here. Fluffy, messy, faux fur forever everywhere . I had to do these fairly quickly so I didn’t have time to think too hard about wtf I was actually doing with my evenings.

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Sewing faux fur can be a massive pain in arse but that’s mainly because I hate hoovering and I worry about clogging up my machines. There are a lot of tips about using faux fur about, some I found useful, some didn’t apply to this project. Things like, ‘Shave the seam allowance’ – sounds fun but not worth the bother.

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‘Keep the nap or pile going the same direction, cut through the backing rather than the fur and allow for the bulk in seam allowances’ – these are all good pieces of advice. That and, ‘clean your machine as you go’. The main thing to keep on mind is not to be intimidated, it’s going to be fine. Much like the advice I see on sewing with stretch fabrics, it’s not ‘OMFG so scary’, it’s fabric. It’s not the boss of anyone. Go slow, enjoy it.

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I added a little chicken tail at the back here to really chickenify the look, Glyn styled it perfectly with red heels, hat and wig. Chicken winner! It even looked good free range outside a few weeks later.

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I wish I had a clip of the performance this was used in but you’ll have to click over to this clip of Wang Rong Rollin and their chicken song. It’s batshit enough as it is but imagine a gang of drag queens crowded onto a stage and flapping their wigs while it plays.

I rolled out my cat dress yet again for that show, don’t judge. But, let’s face it, noone is that likely to notice my repeating looks against the backdrop of drag chicken J pop. Besides, I love that dress. More on that one later

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Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball. Let’s talk about Flamingotits

With the most humility I can muster…how cute is Amyzing in this?

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I banged on about it enough on Instagram so I think it’s obvious how much I loved making this

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I was aiming to translate the joy and celebration of the poster for the Summer Ball into lycra form. That’s what I told myself but I was having so much fun adding sequins, beads, eyelashes that it just took on a life of its own.

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I’d never appliquéd anything before but it was surprisingly easy. As long as everything was tacked down first, it worked fine. The fact that this piece is symmetrical created a rod for my own back but there was enough time to do it right. There will be many more of these in the future!

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The back looked a bit plain so I added a heart at the base. Luckily, the feather bustle started just under it so it was still visible. The feathers gave me a bit of a dilemma, all those dead birds. I consoled myself by buying second-hand boas to minimise the cruelty. They’re stitched onto hip pads with can be detached, which means they can be stored separately and won’t fall apart so quickly. This extend the lifespan of the piece and the lifespan of the feathers. Once the bustle is off, the leotard has a little skirt made of lycra ‘feathers’ so it can be worn like that too. It’s very ‘Dancing on Ice’.

The eyes took ages to get right. I kept changing my mind, the flamingo looked angry, sleepy, sneezy…all the seven dwarves. I’m still not convinced (maybe longer eyelashes?) but there’s so much else going on, it works ok.

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I didn’t get many pics of the pineapple dress next to it but I’ll post about it shortly.

One more. This was lifted from the Sink the Pink Instagram account and taken at the after-Pride pool party hosted by STP. Drag queens in a pool – this is both a terrific and terrifying idea. Mascara waterfall. I made the PVC number on Glynfamous too but that’s another story.

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Pineapple headpiece by Ciara Monohan

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Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball 2015 – part 1

The Sink the Pink Summer Ball was so full of love and fun. And safety pins and many, many sequins. With the ball, Pride, Glastonbury and other festivals it’s basically camp Christmas round this time of year. I’ve been pretty flat out swearing at PVC, feathers, glitter, chiffon and loads of lycra. At last count I’ve made about thirty pieces in the last three months. I think. But I’ll limit this to pieces I made for the Summer Ball.

First up, 6 outfits for dancers. The brief was ‘sexy, voodoo-esque, nature-loving, hippy’. The choreography was fairly intense so no headresses or anything that would impede movement. I didn’t want to make it too dark so I ended up with this.

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To be completely honest, I couldn’t settle on the design for these for ages. I toyed with using neoprene and making huge neckpieces but it wasn’t working out. Once I decided on that teal colour and started slashing the tops and pants, it became easier.

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Of course I had finished these a week before the show but in that week I decided I hated them and took them apart only to remake them exactly the same way. What a twat. What a mess

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I was lucky enough to dress Chester Hayes, Aimee, Laura, Brooke, Raven Mandella and Ted Rogers. I love these guys. They could make anything look good. They’re super fun and very professional. Love them to bits.

Go check out Chester – (that’s a safe for work link) and the rest of the pics on the Sink the Pink Facebook page….might not be SFW.

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I’ll get round to posting the rest soon

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Sewing drag for Sink the Pink

I feel like I’ve barely stopped sewing for those beauties at Sink the Pink. It feels like I’ve run away and joined the circus.

Clockwise from top left;
Shay Shay for the Glory’s LIPSYNC1000 competition last Wednesday, what a face! An amazing show, very high standard and wide-ranging variety of drag from all competitors.
Glynfamous in purple/yellow catsuit for Radio 1 party.
Joan Oh as Divine – her life may be filth but that look is fab. Red dress and hip pads. For Sink the Pink’s Bad Taste Ball 21st March
Glynfamous – silver/black cat suit and shoulder piece. Bad Taste Ball 21st March

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And ….

Glynfamous in Nun’s headdress (habit? Veil? All that Catholic school and I still don’t know). Bad Taste Ball. Made after getting a 1:30am text the morning of the show ….
Clown Romper for photoshoot after original costumier was injured. Really, poor guy – protect your hands people. From scratch, no pattern, no measurements. Sheer force of will and swearing. Waiting for publication before I go into detail.

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I made a couple of things for myself but I haven’t had the time to look in the mirror, let alone take photos!

My laptop is still out of action so I’ve improvised with arranging these pics, excuse the haphazardness.

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The Versace leotard. Eat your heart out Liz Hurley – Sewing for Sink the Pink’s Glynfamous.

And so I ended up sewing a leotard for Sink the Pink’s February show, Fashion Fart. For a few days last month my living room was filled with 5 bags of drag and the beautiful Glynfamous. I bloody well adore him, heart of gold and as cute as he was a hundred years ago when we met (in the late 90s). We started with the idea of tearaway trousers and a Lagerfeld homage but settled on That Liz Hurley Versace Dress. You know, the one with the safety pins. A couple of texts later and we ended up turning the dress into a leotard. It was a much better idea. More room for movement and dancing and it’ll get more use as a leotard.

If you’re ever looking for massive safety pins, let me save you a day of running round like a blue-arsed fly. U & I Trimmings – Ridley Road Markets, Dalston. It’s chaos in there but they’re worth stopping into.

That was the difficult bit, the rest was just a matter of not freaking out about the fact I had an afternoon to finish it off.

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A few hours later, I took it down to make sure it fit. Fresh off the plane from a holiday in Vietnam and straight to the show, that’s dedication. And a hell of a tan!

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In socks but still in heels. Always ready

I’m sure there’s a narrative involving the unicorn, the rainbow and that piece of tape on the wall so, go ahead and choose your own rainbow-unicorn adventure.

So shy.

So shy.

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She’s a stunner.

Photo below is a screen shot this link. Be warned if you go clicking around in that album, might not be safe for work. But do it if you can, witness the beauty of Jack Irving’s amazing inflatable costumes and other incredible pieces. Remember that sea anemone outfit Lady Gaga wore last year? That’s a Jack Irving. He’s amazing.

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Apologies for any weird layout on this post. My computer has given up on me so I’m improvising.

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Fabric Chat returns #FabricChat

Fabric Chat is back! This Friday 9pm -10 pm GMT on twitter and we’ll be there every week. #FabricChat is an open twitter discussion in which people have a chance to talk fabric, ask questions and share knowledge and projects. Every week we’ll focus on one particular type of fabric but there’s also room for other sewing-related topics. It was originally started by Leila of Three Dresses Project in 2013 and ran for over a year, I’m really pleased that after a hiatus, it’s coming back. Leila’s compiled an archive of previous chats – it’s full of useful information and will give you an idea of how it works as well as topics we’ve covered. If possible, we’ll try to avoid repeating previous topics. It’s also a great way to connect online to other people who sew. Leila and I will share hosting but Fabric Chat is open to everyone so come along and say hi. You’ll find me on @smittenness and Leila on @lbreton . We’ll confirm this week’s topic by Thursday so let us know if there’s anything in particular you’d like to discuss. This is really about collaborating and sharing so input is always welcome.

Fabric Chat starts this Friday 6th March

When: Fridays 9-10pm (GMT) 4-5pm (EST) but feel free to stick around longer!

Hashtag: #FabricChat Current hosts: @smittenness & @lbreton

Looking forward to seeing you there.

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