Making clothing vs. Making costumes Is there a difference?

Posted by on Jan 9, 2015 in Sewing, Theory | Comments Off on Making clothing vs. Making costumes Is there a difference?

costume or clothing

Starting next week, I’m going to start writing about making your own clothing. I started writing this blog because of the amount of requests I got from my friends asking me how to make costumes. Costumes get a lot of flack on Project Runway. I constantly hear the judges tell contestants that something is, “too costumey.” When they say that, they indicate that costumes are poorly made items made from second-rate materials.

Here’s the thing – I’ve never once made a “costume.” At least, not by that definition. Let me punctuate that with some pictures.

black widow IMG_0282
 Okay, so all of those are my daughter in outfits I’ve made for her to go to Phoenix Comicon in. It’s worth it to my ego to mention that two of those three are award winning “costumes.” But the truth of it is that I never saw any of those as costumes any more than what you’re wearing right now is a costume. Why? Well, let’s look at the definition of the word “costume.”

costumeSee? Costumes is simply the clothing of a certain era. In that, when  make a “costume,” I’m simply making clothing that looks different from what most people would expect.

Tap outfit kimono
Beauty & the Beast HMS pinafore
 They look different than the clothes you’re wearing right now, but they fit the people they were made for perfectly. Their construction is no different from other dresses or clothing that I’d make, but they have different shaping or stylistic elements than modern day clothing. If a famous person wore some of these, we’d call it avant garde.

Okay, no we wouldn’t, but the point is that, whether you’re learning to sew clothes so that you can have things that fit you or because you want to make the best Elsa costume for your next Comicon, you want those items to fit beautifully, and you want your construction to be so good that you never have to worry about popping a seam because you bent down.

Is there a difference in costume and clothing? Yes, but only in the same way that there’s a difference in two editions of the same novel. They look different on the outside, but there should be the same content on the inside.

Did you learn something from this post? Consider:

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