Monday, May 26, 2014

Mundane Monday's Costumer Spotlight -Loren Dearborn

Our next costumer spotlight is Loren Dearborn

What started you in costuming and what was your first costume?

My mom's an artist and we didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, so she often made my costumes, and she was the one who first taught me how to sew.  So that's where it started but I didn't really get into making my own costumes until around the end of college.  I lived in San Francisco then and did some events with this group called the Cacophony Society, some of which required costumes.  Through them I found out about the Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild and eventually I started going to their events.  I think my first was this mermaid costume I made for a Halloween costume party my roommate and I were throwing in college.  I basically made a long strapless stretch dress out of a sparkly fabric then sewed panels of cellophane to make a tail that sort of draped out behind me.  This blurry old photo is the only picture I have of it.

Many of us are not fond of our first few costumes, but can you tell me a couple things that you did like about yours? What about them inspired you to continue and make more?

I think from the get go I had my own sense of style with my costumes that continues to this day, not sure I can put a finger on it but even with those very early attempts it was there - even if fit, construction and materials were not!

One of your costumes that first drew my attention to you and your costuming was your pink 18th century pirate that you wore to Costume Con 26. I was just learning about about Historical Costuming and there you were with a very historical shape, but it had a very unique twist. Can you share with us, why you choose to undertake that dress.  Are there any interesting things you learned while making that dress? 

There was a wonderful Pirate Feast in Maryland that some friends and I'd been going to for a few years but I was tired of wearing the typically dark and ominous pirate costumes and wanted to do something totally different.  A few of us talked about making pink pirate costumes instead - and this was mine!  I'm not sure I learned much construction-wise while making that since it was a pattern I'd made a few times before, but I DID learn just how different you can make the same pattern look by using different fabrics and colors.

Which of your costumes is your favorite and why?

I think my favorite costume may be this bright floral 1780s gown I made.  I just fell in love with the fabric, so much so in fact that when I had the chance I bought some more so I could make a matching petticoat.  

What inspires you most when choosing what costumes you want to make?

That's a tough one!  I am certainly drawn towards certain styles, color and patterns, but putting my finger on exactly what it is that compels me to make a new costume is hard.  Costume events help shape that, in that I may be searching 1880s silhouettes because of an upcoming event during that era, but I guess  what really inspires me is fabric.  I see a fabric and fall in love with it and have a vision as to what I think it should be.

Which costume did you learn the most or progress the most as a costumer and why/what did you learn?

I think the Duchess Movie's Victory Gown reproduction I made was maybe one of the biggest leaps I made in costuming, in learning how to take a period body block (18th Century) and use that as the base to draft a completely new garment (the jacket) that fit well from the get-go.

Are there any fields in costuming that you think are interesting, intimidating or that you just haven’t gotten to yet, that you still want to try? What about that specific part of costuming makes you want to try it?

Tons!  Most of my experience has been in the late 1700s through 1880s, most other eras are a mystery to me and seem daunting as a result.  I'd love to learn more about time frames outside my comfort zone, but also techniques I've never tried.  I look at some of the amazing armor I've seen cosplayers make and think, I'd love to try that sometime!

Any big projects planned for the future that we can look forward to following and /or its big reveal?

I don't know that I have any big secret projects planning for the immediate future, but I'm a bit obsessed with Game of Thrones at the moment, so look for a lot of Cersei Lannister's gowns!

In true Mundane Monday fashion please share a couple links that you found interesting or inspiring this week. 

I've been fascinated with Sarah of Mode Historique's posts on the chemise gown.  She just came back from England where she was studying one of the few chemise gowns still around and has been posting interesting updates on what she's learned. 

I thought this post on Archeology and Art on reproing a Mycenaen barbecue was pretty cool.

And I also loved Katherine's of the Fashionable Past's 1920s hoops.  It's rare you see people reproing the Robe de Style look so it's very cool to get a tutorial on hoops for that style of gown.

You can follow Loren at her blog: A Costumer's Closet

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