Sewing The Sink the Pink Spring Ball. Feathery Heaven

This is my favourite of piece of all the looks I’ve ended up sewing. Ever. In fact, I want one for myself. In every colour.

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Glynfamous is Heaven (vis Liberace and Barbara Cartland)

This all started with a message from Glyn that read.

Glyn; I need a heaven look for the ball.

Me; Yeah, OK. I reckon I can take it on.

Glyn; Prepare.*

*which basically means “we’re gonna try something here, it may take over your flat and your life” And it pretty much did. And yes, that’s my utter disaster of a kitchen in the background. This is no fancy-pants operation, I work out of my tiny basement flat, dodging cats and all the other usual detritus of life.I took the photo below at 3am the night before the show. I had to lie down for a few minutes (unsurprisingly) and there she was looming above me, and almost finished and looking completely out of context,

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Yeah, that’s right. 4-bloody-bollocking-AM. Downing Red Bulls at midnight was not the best idea I’ve ever had. But at least I had solidarity cat keeping me company while the other two took off for whatever cat disco I wasn’t invited to.

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This look is basically a dressing gown with a flared sleeve. It may be a bell sleeve or I’ve even heard it called and angel or trumpet sleeve. At that point in the morning I was refering to it as “huge fuck-off/fuck off sleeves”. Fuck-off as in super huge. And fuck off as in “OMG, 5m to hem of this bloody thing when will it end?!”

Speaking of ends….enjoy.

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The bodice is three rectangles gathered at the shoulder and back collar. I reinforced the back collar with ribbon and used the same ribbon round the waist. It ends about mid-thigh where I added a full circle skirt. After pinning it on, I thought it needed a bit more volume at the bottom so I added three godets; one large one at the back and two at the front. It gave it so much more movement.

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The pic above is of the not-quite-finished-yet stage. The hem still needed work but I’ll get to that in a bit. French seams on all of it because it needed it. There was no way it was ever going to not have French seams. You can see how the front skirt piece curves up to allow for walking. The problem with that and the wide sleeve hem is that the inside of the garment is visible. Unfortunately, the feather trim was attached to a white ribbon and I wasn’t going to work so hard and have a big white ribbon flashing away and ruining the colour scheme. 4am glue to the rescue and it was all dried and hidden away by the next morning although I had to lock it in the bathroom to dry in case the cats got any ideas.

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The process of making this was so enjoyable. The chiffon part was easy if a little fiddly but stitching the trim to the chiffon was a challenge. I have to give credit to Rob at Sew Amazing in Bow here. He’s an incredible source of knowledge – he suggested I use three-step zig-zag stitch, a jeans needle (I know, on chiffon but bear with me) and run the thread through paraffin wax. It was a bit unorthodox but it worked!

My poor, poor, over-worked sewing machine. One day we’ll sew some nice cotton. One day. Maybe. This is a very impractical gown though. You ain’t hopping on the number 8 bus and going down to Bethnal Greean Tesco of a Sunday in this. It’s a gown for flouncing and romancing. And maybe fainting on a chaise longue if you’re careful.

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Oh go on, have a second pic. It’s only Beverly Knight! Glyn’s hat by Noel Stewart

It’s hardly a completely new design though. These type of gowns have been around for a while in one form of another. In fact, against my better judgement, I went into the M&M store in Leicester Square on Monday and saw this….

I must have stood there laughing for at least 5 minutes.

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I really think this is my favourite piece after “Conceptual Bride” last year. Conceptual Bride is still going strong and getting lots of wear. Last seen on stage with Years and Years at Brixton Academy.

I love the still of this clip, those gorgeous crowns by 8DIX make it look like something out of Where the Wild Things Are. Watch out for Foxxy’s awesome high kicks on the left. I think she’s in the Liz Hurley number I made so it’s good to see it getting about! Absolute powerhouse dancing from Raven Mandella, Jono Kitchens, JonBenet Blonde, Shay Shay and Rodent Decay in here too (and I think that’s Stoli on far right). Raven’s bum wiggle at the end is a particular highlight.

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Sequins, Fleas of Disco. 9 tearaway dresses for Sink the Pink at Glam Clam

Here’s a story of how I fought 13m of red sequins for a drag show in north London and won.

 

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Maxi More and Shay Shay

The Glam Clam was a really fun night of dinner and a show at the Dome, Tuffnel Park. The concept is the brainchild of chef and author Gizzi Erskine. She designed the menu, Collette Cooper and Miss Kimberely  and their bands provided the tunes and Sink the Pink provided the batshit glamour. Me? I had strong words with sequins until they fell in line. I’m still finding remnants of batshit glamour throughout the flat (in the garden, in the bath, in my shoes etc).

As beautiful as this fabric is, it frays if there are scissors anywhere near it.

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I mean, really. It looked like disco had exploded. They were everywhere and they stuck to me. I try to keep my costume work separate from my teaching but after I’d returned papers to my students sprinkled with unintentional sequins, I had to come clean and tell them what I’d been up to.

Oh yeah, sure Mr Landlord, (and your brother and your brother’s dog) you can come by tomorrow….

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I think I read online that it was a good idea to put newspaper down to catch errant sequins. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA …..draws breath …….HAHAHAHAHAHA. Cool, now I have sequins AND random bits of the Metro all over the floor.

But, it was totally worth it. In the end I had 9 different tearaway dresses. And all this just one week after I finished costumes for the Sink the Pink Winter Ball 2015

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The less I played with this fabric the better to be honest, I let the sequins work for themselves.

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I made two tunics for Glynfamous and Maxi More.

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A cowl neck dress for Miss DianaMight

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70s inspired plunging neckline for Raven Mandella (Glyn photobomb)

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Similar concept for Ted Rogers – but with plunging back

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Slightly more structured look for pretty Alexus Deluxe

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Wrap around number for JonBenet Blonde (bonus Maxi More photobomb)

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Longer dress for Shay Shay

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And, finally, an off the shoulder number for Foxxy (on right, Diana Might on left)

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That Foxxy. So shy….little did we know it was so very very short it was obscene. So i had to recut.

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Do I have any advice for using this fabric? Um, don’t? Lots of don’ts. Don’t involve too many seams or panels. Leave it alone and let it do its thing. Don’t rush. Don’t expect to some out of it unscathed (literally, I have scratches all over my arms).

And of course, Glyn wore the Diana Ross dress for one of the numbers too. Like liquid silver. Glyn wore it in the shoot for the publicity material for the show. One of my favourite creations of last year, which I am yet to post. I’m struggling to keep up!

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For some reason I can’t embed the clip I have of the show but if you fancy some grainy footage head over this way.

 

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Sewing the Sink the Pink Spring Ball 2016

After two years of bi-annual balls, Sink the Pink are  now putting on 4 balls every year. FOUR OF THEM in 2016. You’ll find me by the trail of sequins I’m shedding.

With this being the first ball held in spring, the rehearsal and prep period was much shorter so deadlines were tight. But all those years of Catholic School came in handy since I did the bulk of the construction in the two weeks leading up to last Saturday’s show (whilst still holding down my day job). I’m still a bit shocked at how much I produced.

So welcome to Church of Sink the Pink….we’re sinning in mixed fibres, Leviticus would have a fit.

  1. 20 tearaway nun frocks and habits. Plus two adorable pink choir boy tearaway frocks and ruffs

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2. One Garden of Eden Eve catsuit that had to withstand the death-dropping  ways of Raven Mandella. Oof look at the hair!

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Raven Mandella is Eve (is a hedge)

3. Circle skirt Sporty Christ for Glynfamous. I love how happy he looks here.

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Glynfamous is Sporty Christ

4. One Leona Lewisham Sister Act (and me in that cat dress again…no time to sew anything)

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Leona Lewisham is your Sister Act

5. Possibly my absolute favourite piece I’ve made. Feathery Heaven. Or Barbara Cartland, or Fluffy Prawn depending on who you ask.

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Glynfamous is Heaven (vis Liberace and Barbara Cartland)

I love it.

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Oh go on, have a second pic. It’s only Beverly Knight!

6. One of the earliest cat suits I’d ever made given new lease of life in a Bowie number.

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Shay Shay is Bowie (via a catsuit I made when I had just started this crazy ride)

And one last thing…things

7. Red Sequin dresses for Tainted Love. These were for another show last year and they looked so good, we rolled them out again. Originally, there were 9 tearaway (again, always tearaway!) dresses but I think 5 of these were reused last weekend.

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Yeah, I did alright here. I’ve been uploading pics on Instagram but I’ll be dealing with these piece by piece in the next few days on here. Until then, here’s the opening number…

 

There were so many, many wonderful looks, go search the hashtag #sinkthepink on Instagram, cheer up yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Glastonbury Ponchos for Sink the Pink

In June (or possibly July) this year, I was knee deep in costumes for the Sink the Pink Summer Ball and in the midst of it all, I agreed to whip up a quick look for the girls for a couple of festivals over summer. These were used for the girls on stage with Todd Terje at London Field Day 2015 and also Glastonbury. And wow, did they look like they had fun!

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Field day 2015, bunch of sweethearts.

This is by no means the most complex of costumes I made last year but. when you’re trying to unify ten diverse drag queens, you have to keep it simple. White, fringed ponchos and floral flair seemed to fit the bill. Nice bit of movement, nice bit of colour, done. The most difficult part was keeping them clean.

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Here’s the utterly beautiful, glitter-clad heartbreaker Foxxy Moron (above) showing us how it’s done at London Field Day on stage for Todd Terje.

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With the Summer Ball as well as these pieces, it was a very, very colourful time round mine.

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Screengrab from BBC livestream of Glastonbury

I got such a kick seeing them onstage. The set looked like loads of fun.

And look at how much joy the crowd get out of this!

As I mentioned, it was a very fast make, I think it took me a few hours once I had enough plastic fruit and the fabric unrolled and ready to cut. I’m calling this a triumph of “don’t second guess yourself and make sure you have a second set of blades for your rotary cutter!”

 

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Sewing Catsuits.

I swear this catsuit was not intentionally Flake-inspired. But it still looked pretty cool.

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Photography by Michaela Kidd  taken at Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club

Wait for it….


You see? Yeah, now, like me the night before it was due, bet you can’t unsee.

I seem to enjoy making a rod for my own back with all the panel details I put into these catsuits. Making this symmetrical was just another way I like to annoy myself too.

Actually, that’s misrepresenting myself. I love working with lycra. It doesn’t cause me grief, I’ve figured out where to get decent, non-see-through lycra at a reasonable price and I love how it completely changes once it’s on a body. I like figuring out style lines and how that throws shapes onto the body. So the body gives shape to the shapes I’ve cut in the panels and the shapes I’ve cut gives shape to the body which….repeat til fade. I don’t get anywhere near this type of thinking when I’m sewing or cutting though. It’s usually more like “how much more Erasure can I inflict upon the rest of the people nearby? Is it time to switch to Diana Ross?”

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I do love a bit of power mesh. 2015, year of the power mesh panel.

This look was commissioned by GlynFamous to be worn to a party he hosted in Singapore – way back in April! There’s a great shot here of Glyn in action. The Sink the Pink girls have had a heavy list of costume demands this year so I’m documenting the backlog while I have a break.

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Photography by Michaela Kidd 

Flaketastic, right? I love how the back turned out.  I’m also really pleased that Michaela and I had the chance to get these shots taken at The Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. It’s a fantastic venue that nurtures a lot of talent and hosts so many diverse events, a proper community venue that takes everyone in. It’s been a real privilege to be able to have had the chance to be a small part of it and get to know some of the staff.. It’s also been the home of Sink the Pink for year now and the club has grown so much in that time. So much so that it cannot be contained by the Working Men’s Club anymore and Sink the Pink held their (a few NSFW pics of bums in thongs in this link) last regular party  there a few weeks ago. Sink the Pink hasn’t ended though, four balls next year rather than two (FOUR!) and many other shows throughout 2016. Fun times!

 

(Please ask before using any of the images in this post. Thanks)

 

 

 

 

 

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PVC Rainbow.

We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto.

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This was another collaboration with one of my dearest friends, Glyn. I made this back in April to be worn at The NYC Downlow at Glastonbury. I’m not sure if that’s where it had it’s debut but it turned up at a roof top pool party after London Pride 2015.

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Sorry for screenshots (and the 14% battery, I tend to play fast and loose with my battery life). I tried to talk him out of PVC, I really did. If it were a matter of standing round looking wipe-clean and gorgeous, things would be different but he moves. He really moves and I wanted to make sure this wouldn’t restrict him.

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So far, so good, right? OK, time for some honesty. I made this fast, super fast without a fitting until the day before it was needed.  Also, I hadn’t had that much experience with this type of fabric before. I know Glyn’s measurements pretty well but this fabric has almost zero stretch vertically and not a lot horizontally. It was far too short in the body so I had to think fast and add an extra panel. We also decided to have the legs as separates from below the knee. It just looked better and was more practical given how little this stuff breathes.

If I were to do this over again, I’d incorporate a powermesh panel somewhere along a horizontal so it had more give. As it was, I used a lattice cut PVC panel along the yoke which gave us more stretch.

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I do love it though. I’m very aware of how lucky I am to be given all this freedom to just go for it creatively and have such wonderful people to work with.  It’s all down to my association with Sink the Pink, I’m beyond proud to be working with them.  I’ve learnt so much and really been challenged and I realised last week that problem solving is one of the most important skills when it comes to any creative project.

Also….this was completely unintentional. But looks very Kennedy Davenport RuPaul Season 7. You remember that stunning Rico Cavalli rainbow dress? I’ve only just started following him on instagram and his work is beautiful.

I have so much to catch up on blog-wise but I’m usually posting over on Instagram, there’s a lot of sequins over there at the moment (and me swearing about my crappy landlord and the shitty lights in this flat!) I wonder how much appeal blogs will still hold this time next year. I like them, a lot. But it’s so much easier to scroll and interact via Instagram (the wordpress app does my head in!)

 

 

 

 

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Drag Race against the clock. Sewing for the Sink the Pink Winter Ball

There are five, FIVE, days exactly til the Sink the Pink Winterball 2015 and all the super hero looks I still need to finish. I’m sewing faster than ever before!IMG_3562

There are two weeks til Glam Clam – that’s 9 sequinned dresses.

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And 4 days til Camp as Christmas and one pink fur coat deadline ( I may have already finished this by the time  post this – wild optimism speaking there).

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Sometime in mid-December, I’ll be in a position to (temporarily) evict the sequins from my life. Possibly. Bloody sequins.

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But sequin eviction will have to wait because, FIVE DAYS and ….

Six leotards/pants

Plus this (not-a-banana) banana yellow catsuit. You can probably guess what this is for.

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And the rest… Kimono, Cruella Deville coat, Tank Girl look, Storm (X-Men) look, cat woman and other miscellaneous capes and gloves. I’m on about 21 pieces in the last three weeks. And do I have anything to wear to the ball? Great big nope. I think I’ll end up going as Super Gran, I’m all hunched over and have no time to dye my hair so I’m already in character!

Somewhere in the chaos I was confused enough to agree to whip up this off the shoulder, one leg catsuit for Sink the Pink’s ‘Into the Wild’ night last Saturday.

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I’m actually kind of shocked at how much I’ve managed to produce. Especially, since last week, my overlocker finally carked it. Sad times, we’d been through a lot, I may have cried. Mainly tears of OMFG WHY NOW?!!! but I found comfort in my new ELNA 664 –  purchased from Sew Amazing in Bow, who are ace and super knowledgeable. It’s great. I can say with confidence that despite the bond I shared with my old workhorse ovelocker, I’m over the heartbreak and there’s no looking back for me and my ELNA. The only sting is, I’d had my eye on a coverstitch machine because it’d make the Lycra in my life so much more loveable but that’ll have to wait. This is by no means a hardship so I’l put my tiny violin back in its case.

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Last year’s ball was so much fun, I really can’t wait til this one!

Last year’s Winter Ball over here for dresses and here for catsuits. 

 

 

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