Archive for September, 2012

Back in 2006 (I think it was 2006…..) I was costuming the King Arthur Faire at Hammond Castle, when I was struck by an epiphany. This — making costumes, creating designs, dressing people so they looked amazing — THIS was what I loved to do.  I mean, I knew that admin was never a calling, just a job. But this was the first time it occurred to me that there might be another way.  I thought, “Maybe I should start a business. Making garb, and selling it at faires.”

I polled my friends in the cast. “If I did this, would you buy stuff I made?” And they all said yes. I decided to assume they meant it, and weren’t just being nice, and within a few weeks I had a website and a sort of vague game plan. (Formal business plans? What are those?)

Things started off slow, but with promise. I did a few custom pieces for people, and vended at my first few small shows with limited success.  I paid attention to what people liked and what they didn’t, and started refining the things I had to offer. And year after year, things improved.  I got to the point where I could vend at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, with a five week run.  I started having Kate help me build stock, so that we could get more produced for each show. I bought a medieval pavilion to replace my original EZ-Up tent.

And then, I bought an embroidery machine. I wasn’t precisely sure what I was going to do with it, but I had some idea of doing embroidered pirate sashes and such.  I made embroidered pet bandanas. The original small satchel bags.

And then last year, I started delving into the world of geekery and fandoms.  It started with the Doctor Who Awareness Ribbon patch, which was so well received that for last year’s fall CTRF show, I did up a handful of other Doctor Who patches.  And I found that I could not keep them in stock — people went NUTS for them.  So, I started making more, and tapping other fandoms whenever inspiration struck.  By the time of this year’s Robin Hood show in May, I had over 100 different patch designs, was making daily sales through Etsy, and sold nearly 200 patches just at CTRF.  I also started adding these elements to my messenger bags, which had sold only okay before this.

By now, as we get ready for CTRF’s King Arthur show to open this weekend, Storied Threads has grown so large that I cannot keep up with it.  I’m still building stock for the show, and trying to fill orders at the same time — all in the two hours or so that I have in the evenings, after I get home from work.  I realized that it’s time for a change.

So yesterday, I gave my notice at my day job. By the end of October, I will be self-employed, depending on Storied Threads (and my Escape Fund savings account, when necessary) to pay my bills.  I will finally be able to do the thing I love, and call it my job.

I cannot wait.

All of the pictures in this post, by the way, hang on the wall next to my desk at my day job. Because sometimes, you need things like this to remind you that dreams are achievable.



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I got an e-mail, way back in May, from a photographer who had found me through Model Mayhem.  She had been hired to shoot a fantasy book cover, and wanted to know if I’d be interested in working with her to outfit the models.

I thought about it for about 15 minutes before saying, “Yes!”

The characters to be portrayed had very specific descriptions in the book — the girl needed to be wearing a white gown, and the guy in a sort of medieval outfit in blues, blacks, and grays. The tricky thing was that I had NONE of this in stock — it was all going to have to be custom made.

So! Teresa found some great models, and we all got together in the middle of June to talk about fabric, take measurements, and get the ball rolling. We were scheduled for a shoot at the end of July, giving me plenty of time to work on the outfits.

The day of the shoot arrived, and I was completely nervous that things weren’t going to fit.  I hadn’t had a second meeting with the models to do a fitting, and so I was just sort of crossing my fingers and hoping I’d gotten it right.  And as you can see — it was perfect!  We all arrived at the studio early in the afternoon, hair and make-up were done, clothes were put on, and approximately five million pictures were taken. And then we were all released, with instructions to not share these pictures until AFTER the book cover reveal in September.

Which — ta da! Look at this amazing thing I got to be a part of!


All photos in this post by Teresa Yeh.

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Avengers, Assemble!

I am, to borrow a phrase from Tom Hiddleston, uncontrollably excited for the Avengers DVD and Blu-Ray release on September 25.  This movie made me so happy when I saw it opening weekend that I then proceeded to see it in the theater — I kid you not — four more times.  This is an unprecedented feat of movie-going for me, and while I’m not precisely PROUD of it…I do own the fact that it happened.

I also loved this movie so much that, before it had been open for even a week, I had already started making patches inspired by it. And by now, I have a full line of Avengers-themed patches and bags, all ready for you to use as part of your DVD-release celebrations!  Here are just a few of my favorites.

I started, of course, with a Loki patch because (as anybody who follows me on any social media knows) I am a full-fledged member of Loki’s Army.  So, naturally, there are so many patches in my shop for him that I had to force myself to stop making more, and focus on some other characters. Like — Agent Coulson! Agent Coulson (and Clark Gregg) have been seriously growing on me since I first saw the movie. Re-watching the Iron Man movies helped, as did a viewing of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer”.

And of course, I didn’t limit myself to patches, either. I’ve got several different messenger bag designs inspired by the movie as well — Loki, Iron Man, Agent Coulson, the Hulk, and Hawkeye each got their own bag design. (Although to be fair, Hawkeye’s is actually a quote from Thor, rather than Avengers.) And my favorite part of that Iron Man design? The embroidered arc reactor actually glows in the dark.

And really, this is just a small sampling of the Avengers goodness in my shop. So head over, take a look, and stock up for that Avengers release party I just know you’re all planning!

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