Sew on Monday 3/24/14, Amway Arena, Orlando, FL was the 2nd Florida tour date I got to work for Miley.
This was a crazy busy day 10 hour day of sewing from beginning to end. Normally on a tour like hers, everybody has two sets of costumes to reduce the wear and tear on them and to have a back up set in case one gets damaged.
Miley’s tour just started on Feb 14, so wardrobe was still getting caught up with her second set of costumes. Lots of what arrives on the show has to altered slightly, but also rigged for quick change, which is what I spent most of the day doing.
These are sewing tricks you can’t learn anywhere, but within the performance industry and precisely why I’m writing a book on costume rigging, because none exist that I can find! Today I will share some inside secrets to costume rigging with the tricks I did on Miley’s costumes.
I started out the day hand sewing a pair of black spandex gloves into the fancy black lame and rhinestone cuffs trimmed with black and white fluffy tails. This way Miley could slide her hands right in, vs putting on the gloves, then cuffs, saving time and keeping any parts from getting lost. (I got to slide my hand into Miley’s existing gloves, they gave me as a sample… sadly it did not improve my ability to sing 😦 but I did feel the urge to stick my tongue out! =P)
On this particular costume I also had to make a little square black spandex bag for her wireless microphone transmitter with a Velcro tab and sew it to the back of her black stretch lame and rhinestone chaps, also trimmed in black and white fur. Next I altered her black crystal stoned triangle bikini style top, so that the neck halter strap matched her other top in length and so that it was one continuous strap vs tying behind her neck and becoming a nip slip hazard! This way all she had to do was slip it over her head and hook it in the back with some heavy duty flat hooks. My friend Geoff called me from Cali while I was in the middle of this project and when he asked me what I was doing, he was quite surprised with the answer! I later sent him this pic…
The next project was to cut the rubbery tops off of a pair of thigh highs… you know, the part that makes them stick to your leg without having to wear a guarder belt? Then I hand stitched the rubbery part to the back inside bottom of Miley’s black mesh bodysuit with the red V design down the middle. This was to prevent an on stage wedgie from happening!
The next project was simple, I needed to Zig Zag stitch the ties to two bathrobes in the center back to keep them from getting lost and making them easier to put on and tie around the waist as the ties keeps slipping out of the side loops.
Next I was handed the Furry Pink Gorilla costume. All that needed was a dart at the neck opening to make it fit better.
Many times I am asked to fix personal clothing items for performers and crew. This time, I replaced two bottoms on a pair of funky black dancer pants and miraculously repaired some giant gaping rips several inches long, in one of the male dancers black and blue flannel shirts. This was a bit of a joke backstage as everyone in wardrobe was teasing him and telling him to “give it up” and throw the raggedy ass shirt in the trash! He insisted it was his favorite shirt and begged them to try to fix it. I have seen this problem before and was able to Zig Zag stitch the dangling threads together and make a patch out of thread by repeatedly treading over the same torn area until it became resurrected. He was so thrilled with the repairs, he did a happy dance and laughingly cursed the wardrobe crew for saying it couldn’t be done! He then skipped off into the sunset with his favorite shirt in hand.
The next project was a bit interesting… The female dancers wore panty hose under their high cut bikini style bottoms. To prevent the cotton crotch of the panty hose from showing, it had to be folded down the center from front to back and stitched closed. I did about 25 pairs of these with my good friend Candas doing all the pinning. I can’t imagine these being worn more than one or two shows in a row.
My last project was making another wireless microphone rig which consisted of making the wireless bag out of nude spandex and attaching it to a nude colored elastic with clear bra straps.
At this point, I had run out of time and everyone from wardrobe was out working the show, which I could hear in the background. I packed up my sewing machine and poked my head out into the arena to catch Miley on stage. She was wearing her bedazzled weed body suit and her little gold car had just left the stage and was being driven to its road case in the backstage area.
My girls had dropped my mom off backstage, where she was waiting to spend a few days with me. I snuck her up the side VOM, so she could get a glimpse of Miley onstage, introduced her to my boss and a few friends, then we left the venue and headed for my house.
Gina Vincenza Van Epps aka Psycho Seamstress
A List Wardrobe Seamstress,
Stage Wear, Costume & Couture Design & Fabrication