So I have received quite a number of messages asking for advice on how to proceed in one of these costuming challenges that have been so popular recently.
Firstly i am kind of stunned that anyone would ask me for advice as I don’t consider myself an accomplished person or any sort of expert!
So this is just my ramblings on the subject and I know there will more than likely be a great number of people who disagree with what I say but hey that’s life.
The most asked thing is “OK I entered, now what do I do? I have so many ideas!”
Write down your ideas before they fall out of your left ear and are lost forever. Be concise, draw diagrams, even print out inspiration pictures and annotate them. Believe me, in 3 or 4 months these notes will be invaluable to remembering where you are headed in your challenge. Keep a record of where you find your information and inspiration such as websites or books, these can easily be forgotton and you may wants to go back to recheck things later.
Make yourself a timeline. List the items and when you plan to get them finished by, take into account you will more than likely required to do at least monthly check ins and sometimes this includes having an item finished each month so check the rules.
Know your timeframe, when can you start and when do you have to finish. Write this on your notes, I can’t remember how many times I have to go check the websites as I can’t remember how long I have to go!
Select your materials, tools and make a shopping list for anything you need. Collect or make your patterns, if you are allowed to make them before time starts. Put them into bundles i.e chemise notes, pattern and fabric in one bundle, sottana notes, pattern and fabric in another, you get my meaning right? I work from skin out on my outfits so I pile them up this way to prevent having to move stuff around my limited space too much.
OK next question, “how do I keep motivated?”
This one is really up to you, I personally am so practised at these challenges now that my mind just goes to, “the end of month is coming have I done what I needed too?”
I used to have a group of friends that would come around most Sundays and we motivated each other, but having moved away I lost that and now am one my own but I manage to keep going. So basically you need to figure out what will work for you, sorry this is a hard one to answer.
“How do I afford the correct fabrics?” “Do I have to use the expensive stuff?”
Well this is another hard one! It depends on the challenges rules, is it required to use only period fabric, or are you allowed to substitute more modern replacements?
I have a substantial fabric stash that I built when we had a better income but now I can’t afford to go fabric shopping so am limited to using what I have on hand, most of which is not considered “period” I don’t use linen as my skin reacts to it and comes out in nasty itchy red welts, but I can use a linen/cotton blend so I substitute whatever I can that gives the correct look for the outfit I am making.
Some of my favourite pieces have actually been made from tablecloths or curtains, which fibre wise are not period but they give the right effect.
Go with what you can afford, seems the best thing to say here.
“How do I maximise my points?”
I am totally the wrong person to ask this question to as I don’t enter any challenge to win it. I am not a competitive person, and just do this stuff for my own enjoyment.
I guess it comes down to how you view it:
Competition: The act of competing against others
Challenge: An instigation intending to convince a person to do something they otherwise would not do.
I personally enter these costuming challenges to stretch myself and hopefully manage to learn something new or do something better, it’s about my growth as a seamstress, I am not about gaining recognition or awards. I just want to relax and enjoy my sewing.
However I totally respect that some of you are competitive and are focused on the end results or getting everything as period accurate as you can. Fantastic, great, good on you! I cheer you on from my little corner and really hope you success!
I think that answers most of the general queries, I have messaged you all individually as well.
Best of luck to you all! Happy sewing!