Every superhero has an origin story, and, even though I don’t wear a cape (usually), folks are very curious about the origins of The Singing Seamstress.
I’ve been sewing since I was a young girl and performing since high school. The two did not come together in a meaningful way until I was past my opera phase.
My opera career consisted of mostly singing, dancing, and reacting to scenery. I played everything from a nun to a lady of the night to a peasant and everything in between. Because I am a tall woman—a presence with which to be reckoned, if you will–a lot of costumes didn’t fit quite right. Even after the costumer had her way with things, I would often come in behind her and fix things myself.
I got tired of being in the background, so I switched to musical theatre after five years in opera and started getting juicy lead and supporting roles. Now that I was out in front, I didn’t want to settle for just any old costume, so I started making them myself.
People started to take notice. Other actors began asking me to make their costumes as well. It went from two to four to half the cast and then full productions rather quickly. (Costuming a full production is a LOT of work by the way, and it’s a mostly thankless job, unfortunately.)
Somewhere in all of this, a fellow actor asked me to make him a Santa suit. Compared to my more recent creations, it’s a very simple affair–washable but sturdily made. Eight years later, it’s still in use and still looks like the day I delivered it to him.
He was so impressed that he got me in contact with the Lone Star Santas, the largest regional Santa group in the nation. I went to their annual shindig to hawk my wares and received quite a few suit orders. These folks were so impressed that they got me an invite to the largest Christmas performer group on Facebook (over 10k members). From there, I just posted pictures of the things I created. Between this and word of mouth, my Santa business grew by leaps and bounds.
Sometime after the Santa suit, another actor friend contacted me to help her BFF with his daughter’s wedding gown. They had originally taken it to “a lady at church,” and the gown needed a lot of work still. I had never worked on a wedding gown (unless you count the gown I found at Goodwill and modified to be my Halloween costume as the Bride of Frankenstein). Though nervous, I figured it couldn’t be all that complicated.
Well, I was both right and wrong about the last bit. All the fundamental parts were there, but the only garment more constructed than a bridal gown is a man’s blazer and some cosplay costumes. So, it was a steep learning curve–and I only had a week and a half to sort it out.
I managed to get everything in the right places, but, to this day, I still hate strapless mermaids. I also think I consumed a whole bottle of wine on my own to calm my nerves. After recovering, I realized that I could really make a go of this and decided to start networking in the local bridal industry.
I have since won six industry awards for my bridal work and am in The Knot’s hall of fame. It’s super cool to be recognized for my work when I love it so much.
I am more than blessed to love my life’s work. It has taken me a long time to get here, but the journey has certainly been illuminating. I eagerly look forward to all the new suits, all the new dresses, and all the new friends I will be making in the future.
Until next time, dear reader. May your bobbins be full and your seams straight!