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About mcgrewsadmin

Big fan of all art forms, systems theories, cultural studies, fantasy and sci-fi, costume and fashion history, monsters, essays, novels, biographies, films, politics and most music.

Crotch Maintenance and Repair (NSFW?)

 

Here’s a jeans repair process that help soooo many people!

 

It’s not always glamour projects and new wardrobe in the costume studio! Favorite jeans and thunder thighs eventually lead to maintenance and repair situations. We perform quite a few of these procedures here!

 

I’m using my own jeans here to show you (this is Jen). And my jeans here are women’s 515 Levis. The butt area fabric is worn pretty dang thin and there are already some holes in the inner thigh areas.

 

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These repairs always remind me of making riding breeches and jodpurs with extra fabric on purpose in the seat and inner thigh, in advance of someone needing it.

 

First,  turn the jeans inside out. Stick a tailor’s ham underneath the crotch/butt area so it’s elevated and you’re staring straight down at it.  Flatten out each area at a time, then drape and trace some muslin pattern pieces for areas that need coverage and reinforcement. You can create your pattern piece’s mirror-image by folding the muslin in half, then cut.

 

Keep your new patch pieces as flat as you can, as well as the jeans’ crotch area.

 

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Be thrifty. Make your patches from legs of other recycled jeans that are a good color/texture match.

 

Below, I’ve already cut my first patch piece from recycled black denim and have glued it in place. I used barge cement because it was on the table and handy.  Almost any fabric glue will work. If you glue your pieces, it’s easier to stitch them on than if you’ve pinned them. Put some weights on them and let them set and dry before sew.

 

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To reinforce this butt area I’m making two of these pieces and I’m avoiding the jeans’ existing flat-felled seam areas here so the layers won’t be too bulky for my sewing machine.

 

You can feel the seams underneath the areas you’re tracing.  You get better results with multiple pattern pieces. They’ll lay flatter and you’ll achieve a better overall result.  A pants crotch/butt is a curvy area and there’s no way to do this with just one pattern piece!

 

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Below: All my patch pieces are cut out and glued down. You can see my chalk lines defining the shape and borders. I’m attempting perfect butt symmetry here.

 

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Now get your free-arm sewing machine threaded up in a matching color and stitch your patches on. Keep all your fabrics flat and pucker-free. It’s why you are applying two or more patches rather than one big patch.

 

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I straight-stitched them on, then went around a few times with a zig zag stitch. I want the patch edges to not curl up or fray. If your machine has a low gear like this great old Viking does, use your low gear in the bulkiest areas for more control, power and less chance of needle breakage.

 

Enjoy your repaired, reinforced jeans! This process is good for those old favorites where you (or your client) don’t mind a bit of frankenstein-ing.

 

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P.S.-

 

I’ve had these jeans for years and they’ve already been through some previous alterations.  I lowered the back pockets (which were too high on the booty) plus shortened and tapered the legs (which were too long and too wide).

 

When I removed my jeans’ back pockets to reattach them, I did this when they were new, so it’s almost impossible to see the previous stitching marks.

 

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When it comes to jeans, women seem to be pretty picky about what works for us and what doesn’t. I think it’s a universal refusal to unquestioningly accept whatever manufacturers put out there!

 

Maybe sometime in the future I’ll re-dye these jeans with some nice, intense intense fiber-reactive dye. That’ll get them nice and black again like when they were new!
My old faves…. sigh.

GIANT Convention Props: USANA 2016

USANA Supplement Bottles built by McGrew Studios’ production designer and props specialist Hraefn Wulfson. USANA annual convention 2016.

Precision cut foam pieces with plenty of sanding, assembly and a Screen Goo custom painting process to make the show’s 3-D projections look amazing.   Moved in this fun time-lapse video to the convention’s set location at downtown Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena with crew Paul and Eliza Crosby plus Mike Bishop.

Big Custom Steampunk Guns

 

One-of-a-kind steampunk weapon by our own Crit Killen. This fantastic piece won the “best elements” category in the Crown of Cogs Fashion Show at 2016’s Salt City Steamfest. Congrats, Crit!

Modeled during the show by our own Hraefn Wulfson.

Perhaps you’d like to have a version of your own?

Call us: 801-596-2210.

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Custom steampunk medals created and awarded by Fashion Show Coordinator Eden Lustgarden.

 

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Hraefn, gunslinging at the Exhibit of Victorian and Edwardian dresses and shoes provided for Steamfest by Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute‘s Archival Collections.

Barf Pockets

Definitely as awesome as they sound.
Sometimes all a costume needs are the final detailed additions– in this case, new POCKETS!

Heroically, two pairs of khaki trousers sacrificed themselves to become the new pockets and dropseat we added to Bill’s existing coveralls.  Now he is the essence of “Barf” from Mel Brooks’ hilarious Spaceballs film.

Thanks, Bill for having us make your new pockets and for sharing your photos.

May the schwartz be with you!

Photos: Mark Loertscher Photography

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Custom Pageant Gowns: 16th Century Miss Italy

Custom 16th century dress for the lovely Jami Solveig Cirone, Miss Italy/Miss Multiverse 2015.
http://missmultiverse.com/ 

 

The pageant’s historic/cultural segment showcases the contestants in costumes that pay homage to their national and cultural heritage. This dress we made helps Jami honor hers.

 

 

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The gown has more than 12 yards of burgundy velvet in it plus a number of silks and laces. We cartridge pleated five whole widths of velvet (more than 260″ total inches at the waist) onto Jami’s teeny 23″ waistband. We made two petticoats and a hip roll to develop her incredible silhouette and topped it with a hand embroidered bodice. She has hanging sleeves plus quilted sleeves that lace onto her bodice. Within her bodice we installed quite a number of steel stays, lacing stays and grommets. Our hand detailing on the outside includes numerous brass beads and jewels, freshwater pearls, fabric flowers, lace trimmings plus exquisite custom brooches by artist David Powell: @POWELLARTSWORKSHOP on Instagram.

 

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Together we looked at many examples of period dresses, hairstyles and ornamentation in museum costume books plus portraits of notable Italian women.

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David’s wax carvings, ready to be cast in bronze.

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Prepped to cast multiples at one time:

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Freshly cast bronze brooches before they are cleaned up and polished.

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Photography session with Simon Blundell:  http://simonfoto.com/
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Brilliant hair and makeup by Amber Pearson. http://amberpearson.net/

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On display for a time in the parlour of our Pierpont Avenue location.

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Incroyables Coat: Rock Star Clothing

Custom tailoring for Douglas Hunter, a Salt Lake music legend and one of PorchFest‘s founders.  An Incroyables coat in electric blue corduroy with blue leopard fur.
We adore Hunter and the way he looks here in Simon Blundell‘s photos.

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Les-Incroyables

Costume historians differ a bit on the subject of the Incroyables, but generally agree that the wild fashion trends of this hipster-punk subculture developed in reaction to the Reign of Terror, 1793–1794, when even aristocrats’ servants and others merely associated with aristocrats could be and were being executed.  We are told that the giant lapels, shaggy haircuts, bows and scarves of the Incroyables should be understood as an exaggerated mockery or aping of aristocratic fashion.  Wikipedia reminds us that “Incroyable was an 18th-century French nickname for a yo-yo, then a fashionable toy.” The women’s (Merveilleuses’) fashions spawned even more talk and scandal.

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Mini-Me

We tailored a custom suit for Mini-Me.
Yes, that Mini Me. Mr. Verne Troyer himself.

 

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Utah computer hardware giant Fusion IO hired Verne to help them announce their new product at a major tech convention, and they wanted him costumed thusly.

 

However, Mr.Troyer did not own a Mini Me costume. The Austin Powers films by this time were already over 11 years old and any costume pieces that might have been saved from those movies were long gone, unavailable for rental.

 

So Fusion hired us to create one. A custom jacket and trousers.  I was super excited, expecting to have Mr. Troyer in the shop with us to hang out, sign some headshots and take a bunch of fun selfies, etc. But that never happened.

 

The only thing the producer gave me was a sheet of measurements. They were fairly complete but also absolutely unbelievable. I couldn’t find out who had taken them or when they were taken. There was no shop info or tailor’s phone number in L.A. to call to confirm anything.

 

Nervewrackingly, I made the outfit, duplicating the iconic Mini-Me costume from the films, scratching my head the whole time, saying, “this can’t be right, this can’t be right.” But it was.

 

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The producers picked it up, paid their balance, and went on their way. I checked in with them about a week later and they told me the suit looked fantastic, that Mr. Troyer loved it, and that he wanted one of his own to wear in case he was asked to appear again as the Mini-Me character.
“Great,” I said, could you put me in touch with his management?” And they said they would, and then things got busy and well, yeah it never happened.

 

I wondered why they didn’t just give Mr. Troyer the costume as a thank-you takeaway. Like, who else would it have possibly fit? The measurements corresponded to a few standard toddler sizes but there would definitely have been some issues. I’ve always wondered if someone at Fusion took the costume home and dressed up their kid as Mini Me for Halloween! I guess I’ll just never know.

 

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Fusion IO’s YouTube video was shot live. It’s a film inside a film.  The video’s aspect ration is vertical and doesn’t showcase the great technical details and fit of the costume. We never did get any still photos of Mr. Troyer wearing it. But we are nonetheless very proud of this project.

 

Through custom tailoring and styling, my staff and I have dressed many celebrities and models. We’re usually quiet about these events, honoring the trade we are in and its long tradition of discretion.  I don’t think I’ve publicly talked about the story of Mr. Troyer before.  Dredging up files from old hard drives results in this sort of reflection, as well as other thoughts.

 

And these involve telling you a sort of cautionary tale about how you should be careful what you ask for.

 

Around 2004, I was moving our original Pierpont Avenue studio from its loft space to downstairs into a newly available storefront. It was pretty exciting. On impulse one day at a second-hand store, I bought a babydoll with a squeeze feature in his tummy. He’d say one of several pre-recorded things. “I love you.” “Nighty-night.” Or, “hehehehehe.” It was, in truth, a little creepy and visitors sometimes freaked when they saw or heard him. He hung on a peg in fairly plain view, and the key to our basement was attached around his little neck.

 

My idea was that we needed an official key that everyone could always identify, find quickly, and that wouldn’t get accidentally locked downstairs or get lost. This little doll was like our hall pass.  “Grab Verne and follow me,” I’d shout sometimes, “we have to go find those doublets or that file or whatever in the basement.”

 

We’ve since moved from our Pierpont Avenue shop. At our new location, our shop’s basement doesn’t have a lock at the top of its stairs. But I still have Verne. He’s a keepsake. He’s worn a number of different costumes over the years, including a tuxedo vest first sported by a bottle of fancy whisky, given to us by a client.

 

Our Verne is silent now, his squeeze-y talking device batteries long depleted, the whole apparatus dissected from the zippered opening on his back long ago. A few years back, Sora, one of our most awesome interns, lovingly sharpied in his third eye. Our old basement key is still attached around his neck. He still hangs on a peg. This time in my office.  I’ve reflected often over the years about the vagaries of sympathetic magic, but have never experienced a better example of its wily nature.

 

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Custom Mascots: Clinique

Custom mascot costumes for Clinique.

In face-hiding as well as face-revealing varieties, at the preference of each store’s regional manager.

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

 

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To ‘hide’ or to ‘reveal’ is always an interesting consideration when you plan to create a walkaround or mascot for your business or product. The face-revealers interact the most purposefully with shoppers, passing out free samples during a department store grand opening.  The anonymous mascara-wearer is far more mischievous and sees through a scrim of metallic fabric.  For all twelve of these costumes we used high density closed cell foam and replicated the Clinique logos with pretty satin-stitch embroidery over appliques.

 

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)

Katrina Kirkland, Naia Folidei and Rory Sepulveda pose in costumes designed as popular Clinique Cosmetics products at the grand opening of the Meier & Frank in Riverdale. The one-story department store is the eighth in Utah to open and is expected to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city. (Robert Hirschi/The Salt Lake Tribune)