Monday, October 6, 2014

Clowns in Simultaneous Contrast

Today I finished Trixie's clown costume. That makes three clown costumes. They've been a big study in fabric arts for me. I'm completely captivated by this ability to take something flat (fabric) and make it three dimensional and functional on a body. Trixie's was the most difficult, because I couldn't find a pattern in her size. I ended up adjusting a larger pattern. But then I still failed to get the torso long enough. It's a little tight. The good news is, I know just how to fix it. I mean, I know how to fix it the next time I make a size 2T clown costume.

I can never really just make something. I need to have some theory and reasoning behind whatever design decisions I'm making. On a rare occasion, I might fall back upon "it just looks right," But that's the exception. (I can thank architecture school for the incessant design-reasoning.) On these clown costumes, the colors are studies in simultaneous contrast: each clown costume is a short spectrum of colors around a single primary color, with a flower of the contrasting secondary color. I love primary colors: so strong, so bold, so forthright. I think of bold and primary colors as being wealthy, without the corresponding price tag. The costumes are also filled with circles and circular patches and polkadots of all sorts, because circles and dots are fundamentally happy. Happy clowns are better than scary clowns when it comes to kids!

I spent about 10-12 hours sewing each costume. With sewing, I find I can do some parts while taking care of the kids. You know how some activities are easy to do while taking care of children and some are not? Also, those activities change with the age of the children... Well, right now, sewing seems to fit well with kid-care.

The boys have reconsidered wearing the clown costumes for Halloween. They think perhaps they will be clowns. After I added the patches and pockets with tricks, they decided the costumes were cool. This is interesting to think about: how much are they influenced by the functionality of their costumes? I'm thrilled that they will wear them because the costumes were so much work; they're so beautifully made – heirlooms, really – that I hope they will keep for a long, long time. Mattias's blue clown costume above is still listed on the Etsy store for a small fortune. You can check out all the built-in tricks there.

If you want one, let me know, okay? I could squeeze out a couple before Halloween. As it stands, however, they are too awesome for spec on Etsy.

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