Currently I am designing costumes for the Human Race Theatre Company’s production of An Act of God, opening November 2nd, 2018. For this show I get to build articulating wings among other goodies. I am also a Museum Instructor at the Dayton Art Institute, leading tours and teaching workshops.
I have a BFA in Theatre Performance from the Ohio University Honors Tutorial College. While studying there I began working in the costume shop and found it relaxing to sew! I designed mostly for black box shows there, and when I first came to Dayton in 1999/2000 I managed the costume shop at Sinclair Community College. I have also been the Company Manager/Wardrobe Mistress/Costumer at DCDC and the Lead teaching artist at a local puppet company.
Do you have a favorite decade you get inspiration from for designing?
I have taught sewing and art at The Dayton Art Institute and the Rosewood Arts Center, and do commissioned work as well for other theaters. I just gave a mask workshop/Cosplay crash-course at Wittenberg University a few weeks ago.I love Vintage! 1930s gowns, 1940s suits,and 1950s dresses are my favorite! Also fantasy and anything period….
How has your designing changed over the years?
I have become more subtle in my color choices. I have come to enjoy obsessing over the details. As sewing strengths evolve so does your ability to make educated changes and choices.
How do you continue to build skills?
I take on challenges and I build things I don’t know how to make. I work with temperamental fabrics and temperamental peoples! Anything for a challenge 🙂 I sew. A lot. I research time periods, I take things apart that are built in an unfamiliar way. I sew. A lot.
Do you sew costumes for others?
That’s the bulk of what I do. Included in these pics are a dress for the Jane Austin festival, a dress and cape for a Cosplay character, a series of Disney princess dresses for a toddler, and my kids Halloween costumes!
Let’s get personal. What is your dream job?
In a way I am already living it. I am a singer-songwriter and a jazz vocalist. My dream job is designing and building elaborate costumes for the weird music videos in my head. Oh, the pretties. I would also like to develop a line of fashion clothing for transgender/gender-fluid youth.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone that wants to get started in costume design?
Working in the theatre you get to experience a lot of body types and DEADLINES. Working in dance enables you to know how to create garments that flow with the body. Working in art enables you to break the mold and design things you have to figure out how to build. Daydream, and work hard. And ABSOLUTELY learn how to meet deadlines and prioritize your task to work smarter, not harder.
I am in the process of moving all my work to Patreon, a site for artists and creators to get a suitable income.
More of Ayn’s Work.
Thank you so much Ayn for sharing your talents with us!
Behind the scenes~
Last week I made 5 shirts, finished a wedding dress, multiple alterations and helped Santa out!
There is still time to sign up for my T-Shirt Quilt Intro Class.
Thank you for reading,
Dream it! Sew it!
Latest posts by Tracy McElfresh (see all)
- The Challenge of Smoking Jackets - March 18, 2019
- Rosewood Art Centre Fashion Show - March 16, 2019
- Sewing curvy patches Sewing a Tips in Under a Minute w/ Tracy McElfresh - March 13, 2019