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Next month, I’ll be back vending at the Robin Hood Springtime Festival in North Haven, CT. We’re always looking ahead several shows, as we prep stock and think about displays and such, and looking ahead to this show has also had me looking back at another Robin Hood Faire, held at Hammond Castle in Gloucester, MA many years ago.

Back before Storied Threads was even an idea, I was the costume designer for this show, as well as several others produced by Pastimes Entertainment. I had started out with Pastimes as just a bit-part actor, and grew into the role of costume designer over the years. It was a great position, that allowed me to really grow — both as as seamstress, and as a designer looking at the overall aesthetic of a show.

Alan-a-DaleIn 2004,  Alan a Dale was being introduced to this show for the firist time. He was being played as a bit of a medieval rock star, and I wanted his costuming to reflec that — but in a medieval way.  The choice I made was to intentionally push his costume about 100 to 150 years forward from the time period of the rest of the show. While our women were in sideless surcoats, and most of the men in loose pants and tunics, I put Alan in tights, and a jacket and hat inspired by some 15th century figures in Medieval Costume in England and France, by Mary G. Houston. My idea was that he was a trend-setter, somebody who others would look to for their most cutting-edge fashion choices.

PJ GreenThe other character I did a major build for that year was Prince John. Over the course of the story, Prince John was rescued from even worse villains by the Merry Men. While there, he changed costume to dress like one of them, and “fit in”. Of course, he does it in ostentatious Prince John style. The director, Paul Stickney, told me he wanted an outfit that looked like John’s version of Robin Hood’s own green forest outfit, and he drew me a sketch that reflected his vision. Everything was exaggerated, and I chose satins and impractical gauze fabrics to replace Robin’s cottons and leathers to the desired hilarious effect.

I can’t believe that it’s been 12 years now since this show! I sometimes miss doing proper costume design, and projects like these are the reason why.

 

Upgrading Banners

Storied Threads Banner Sign

Our first gridwall banner. Functional, but not much else.

When we started doing conventions, I knew that I needed a sign to place above my gridwall to let everybody know who we were. At the very beginning, I simply brought my fabric painted sign that I had used at renaissance faires, but it quickly became clear that wasn’t going to work – if for no other reason than I had to hang it ON the gridwall, eating up precious display space! So, I bought a sign holder that would rest on top of the walls, re-worked my logo into a horizontal plane, and had it printed and laminated at Staples.

And it did the job, I suppose. It told everybody what business was there. But I knew from the start that it needed something more. For one thing, I wanted a way to let everybody know that the things they can buy at Storied Threads are all handmade. The number of people who assume that we buy blank bags and scarves and simply embroider them FAR outweighs the number of people who realize that we make everything from scratch, and I wanted to be able to communicate that more efficiently.

Storied Threads Banner Sign2

New gridwall banner – so much nicer!

The second thing I came to realize was that while my sign was functional, it wasn’t very eye-catching. And while I rely on my product itself to catch people’s attention, conventions can get crowded, and having something more flashy above people’s heads could only help draw people in.

So – new sign time! I used the same photo that is on my business cards, re-worked the logo, and added that simple word “handmade” – and the result is a lot more impressive! We’ll be using this new sign for the first time at the OtherWhere Spring Steam Faire on Saturday, and I’m excited to see it in action!

AeronautWhether you’re taking kids up for balloon rides at the county fair, or commanding a crew of privateers sailing the skies, the job of an aeronaut is a thrilling and important one.  Without you, everything comes crashing down!

This merit badge also pairs beautifully with our Steampunk Insignia Patches – just choose the small size and a color scheme to match the Aeronaut!

This new design is available as a patch in our Etsy shop and on our website, and as a sticker on Redbubble. The airship without any text is also available on Redbubble on t-shirts, phone cases, stickers, and much more!

GoddamnDelightIt’s been two years since I was given a certificate for being a goddamn delight to work with. If I have a certificate, it must be true, right?

Photo by Lauren Dubois.

OtherWhereExclusivesWe’ve always offered a handful of steampunk themed items in our shop, mostly in the form of patches.  It’s never, however, been one of our largest categories.  When we were accepted to vend at the OtherWhere Spring Steam Faire, however, I felt that we needed to beef that up a bit. It inspired me to introduce a Steampunk patch to our line of geek merit badges, and earlier this week I started sketching out some ideas for an Aeronaut geek merit badge as well.

In addition to these regular offerings, however, we have made three messenger bags which will be available EXCLUSIVELY at this event! All three use some really cool steampunk designs from Urban Threads, and we will have two of each for sale at Mill No. 5 on April 30. These bags will not be made available on our website, so if you want one, come to Lowell, MA for the Mill City Steampunk Festival!

WarOfWorldsA Martian tripod straight out of the dawn of modern science fiction is shown here, looming against a purple night sky and threatening the Victorian London skyline with its heat beam.

The great thing about our embroidered bookmarks — besides just being awesome bookmarks — is that are still fully functional as sew-on patches, too! Use it to hold your place in your favorite novel, or sew it on a bag or jacket to show your literary loves to the world.

MartianTripodRBThis new design is available in our Etsy shop and on our website. It is also available on Redbubble on shirts, skirts, phone cases, and more!

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