Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s Friday! Today is the launch of Burlesque Galaxy! It’s also one week until the American Burlesque Collection opens their special Halloween exhibit with a very exclusive dinner and tour.

And now for your tip! Previously I told you how to salvage spilled rhinestones

Keep a magnet handy to pick up fallen pins and needles from around your sewing area.

This works very well on carpet — just hover the magnet close to the surface and the pins will magically appear. It’s so much nicer to find those pointy little things with a magnet than your foot!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

 

Published in: on 25 September 2020 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Another Friday is upon us! Here’s your tip!

Hand wash your rhinestoned costume items.

You do not want to be subjecting those babies to the violence of a washing machine. Dry cleaning chemicals can damage the finish on some stones.

Fill up the sink with cool water, add a little gentle soap, and give them a nice bath. Don’t twist or wring. You can roll them up in a towel to get out excess water. Then let them air dry.

I often just take my little bits, like g-strings and gloves, into the shower with me after a show. 

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 18 September 2020 at 1:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Bikini

Dear Constant Reader,

Recently Scratch bought me this vintage pattern:

Yes, that’s a bikini, designed by famed pin-up and photographer Bunny Yeager! The pattern has only one size, no seam allowances, and directions are fairly minimalist. This is not for the beginning seamstress.

I decided to try it out without any alterations, just to see what size the base pattern was. I picked some fabric I didn’t care much about in case this was a major fail, but was still pretty in hopes that the garment worked. First step was tracing the pattern (you don’t cut something of this historical value!) and adding my preferred seam allowances.

There was a note that the bikini should be lined in white cotton broadcloth, which was a great suggestion. Not only would that reduce any see-through issues with the fabric, but the bottoms were designed with only two-pieces, which would leave a seam at the crotch. With a lining, all seams would now be enclosed.

Cutting and sewing the bottoms was pretty straight-forward. However, there are no instructions for working with the elastic. I frequently make panties, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal — and it wasn’t. To my great surprise, the bottoms fit almost perfectly. The only hitch was that my elastic was on the older side and wasn’t as elastic as I thought, so things bag a little more than I expected.

I had my doubts about the bikini top, as the sole pattern piece was a rectangle with a casing on the top and the bottom. I expected a darted triangle, but I’m game for anything. Thanks to a clever neck strap, the cups are adjustable, attractive and support very nicely. Admittedly, I’m not as well-endowed as some of the BeauTease, but there’s not an insignificant amount to lift and keep covered.

And here is the final result!


Photo by Scratch

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 15 September 2020 at 12:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

I had a hard time coming up with a tip today.  Everything sounded too frivolous on such a weighty day.

Take a little time today for quiet contemplation.

I’ll be thinking of those I love and of everything for which I am grateful. That includes you, Constant Reader.

Be well. 

M2

Published in: on 11 September 2020 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

It’s a great Friday! The American Burlesque Collection opens today! I’m at the museum in Salem as you read this, which brings me to your tip.

Schedule your social media posts in advance.

There are a number of them out there, some built in to platforms and some separate apps. It’s so much easier to create a bunch of posts when you have the time and energy, then set them up to go out whenever you want. It’s important to stay connected to your fans, but also not to burn yourself out.

Speaking of staying connected… check out Burlesque Galaxy, premiering September 25th, to keep you connected to burlesque even in these socially distant times.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 4 September 2020 at 11:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Review: Burlesque

Dear Constant Reader,

Time for another review. I’m tired of having a stack on unreviewed books on my desk!

Burlesque: The Baubles…Bangles…Babes by Martin Collier (1964).

This is a little paperback, just 150 pages, printed on cheap pulp paper that’s now crumbling. The only vaguely high-end thing about it is a several full page photographs and a fold-out page in color. This
“story of an unique American institution” was written when the business was limping along and its part-nostalgic, part-snarky, part-affectionate tone reflects that. The back cover promises “An under the bangles look at a dying art that still has lots of snap left!”

The book focuses on comics and strippers, presenting them in alternating chapters. The chapter titles vaguely classify the performers, but it’s a thin rationale. Sherry Britton, Sally Rand, Lili St. Cyr, and Lilly Christine are profiled in a chapter called “The ‘Non’-Strippers.” Most of the performers profiled are still well-known today (Gypsy Rose Lee, Rose La Rose, Dixie Evans), with a few less famous, like Brandy Martin and Penny wolfe.

The most valuable parts of the book are interviews with performers, including transcribed recordings made by Ann Corio and Redd Foxx. Reading about burlesque from the lips of these legends is worth seeking out this book.

It ends with a fairly gloomy prediction about the future of burlesque — there are more strippers, but fewer talents, too many gimmicks. He does predict burlesque will still be alive in 1990, if nowhere near what it once was.

If you can find it, give it a read, but don’t pay too much for a copy.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page.

Published in: on 2 September 2020 at 2:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Happy Friday! Tonight I’m teaching Blonde Bombshell, a one-hour on-line workshop as a fundraiser for BurlyCares. Go here for more information and to register. It’s pay-what-you-can and every penny goes to BurlyCares to support our Legends!

Also, in just one week the American Burlesque Collection opens to the public!

Now on to your tip!

Your costumes will be happier in the dark.

Sunlight is no good for fabric. It will fade and degrade in the light. (Take my class Caring for Your Costumes to learn more!) The best place for your costumes are in a closet or inside drawers. I know that’s a luxury not everyone has. Storage boxes are one option. If you keep your costumes on a freestanding clothing rack, just toss a sheet or a similar cloth over it. Added bonus is that it keeps out dust as well!

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 28 August 2020 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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The American Burlesque Collection

Dear Constant Reader,

I’ve been a little quiet lately. It’s because I’ve been working on…

ABC Logo - white bg

…a burlesque museum in Salem, MA!

I know this seems like a terrible time to open a museum, but Scratch had an opportunity and grabbed it. The museum is planning some virtual events as well allowing a small number of people to view the collection each day.

And the collection is worth viewing. Of course, there are costumes. They’re the very first thing you see. I was helping to dress some mannequins and dreaming of a time when the museum can afford to have Schaeffer Arts make custom mannequins. That’s a costume that belonged to Raven Roland on the left, and one made by Hedy Jo Star on the right. And there’s even more…

Not only can you see a poster adverting Lynne O’Neill, The Original Garter Girl’s garters, but also one of her actual hand-made garters. There are one-sheets from movies like Gypsy and Teaserama. The museum has 48 of the 50 individual photos that Lili St. Cyr would sell, as well as a letter that accompanied an order to a fan. There’s a lot more, but I don’t want to spoil it.

Here’s one last tease, the exhibit on burlesque comedians, in progress:

You can follow the American Burlesque Collection on Instagram or Facebook for more tidbits!

The museum opens Labor Day weekend! So soon! Must get back to work!

M2

These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 26 August 2020 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

This week really got away from me! I had so much I was going to share with you. Here it is Friday and those missive are still on my desk, unfinished. Ah well, perhaps next week. Here’s your tip!

Shoulders down and back!

My mother was constantly saying that to me when I was a kid. When you let your shoulders hunch, not only is it terrible for your posture, but you look uncertain and like you’re trying to hide. So push those shoulders back! Even if you don’t feel confident, especially if you don’t feel confident. Changing your posture can change your mood!

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 21 August 2020 at 1:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Here we are — Friday again! How does that keep happening?

Here’s your tip!

When working with stretchy fabric, stretch it before applying decorations.

If you stretch the fabric to the size it will be when you’re wearing it, your decorations will lie flat. I like to pin flat fabric to my ironing board and use a form for things like gloves or garters (a one liter soda bottle works nicely!). If you’re gluing rhinestones, make sure there’s plastic or a silicone mat under the fabric, so the glue doesn’t stick to your work surface or another section of the garment.

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.

Published in: on 14 August 2020 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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