renovation project

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renovation project

Postby RichardFlatter » 04 Oct 2007, 17:06

Hi im currently renovating some old puppets which came into my possesion. Can anyone recommend some fabric stores and also is it necacery to use a sewing machine? Would hand sewing be adequate?

cheers richard
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Postby Chris » 04 Oct 2007, 17:13

Well people made beautiful puppets long before there were sewing machines. So of course hand sewing is perfectly adequate, in fact it is the best for much puppet costuming. But its all a case of how well you hand sew. But a machine is limited in its use anyway. It doesn't finish off, or deal with tiny detail in a small space.

As for recommending fabric shops - where? You could be anywhere. Only someone local can recommend a local shop. And it has to be local - you need to be able to see and handle fabrics when choosing for puppet costumes.
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Postby johnstoate » 04 Oct 2007, 20:39

I always like to have a rummage in charity shops for fabrics. A lot of them sell odd fents and such, but you can buy odd bits of clothing and cut them up for the bits you want without feeling guilty about it, or spending a fortune! :D
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Postby Richard Coombs » 05 Oct 2007, 15:54

Hello Richard ..same advice as John : Charity shops are great.

Womens full length deresses , or two piece suits ( skirt and jacket) provide a lot of yardage of fabric when you cut them apart at the seams and lay out all the stuff they yeild.

Mens suits do too ..but in general the way female clothing is cut ..you get 'bigger bits' from a ladies suit than a mans ( just my own experience )

If I am doing a one -off puppet this is really the fastest way to find materials.

My local needlework shop sells nice printed cottons , but they are really aimed at the patchwork market , and are pricey.
By contrast we have 4 charity shops in th town.....so it is a regular event to find me doing a fast walk round all of them scanning all the rails.

Im not looking for what the clothing actually IS ( mens/ womans /kids /or size ec) just is it GREEN ( say) . Then I stop and handle the fabric ..will it sew easily? , does it crease? , how would it stand up to wear and tear etc.

I think the Charity shop ladies must be used to me by now ! LOL

All this is for the 'outer layer' ie the visible 'costume' itself.
For the Inner layer , Charity shops win hands down for Curtains / bedding / linnen tea-towels for cheap yardage of good strong cotton or calico type farics.


If I need to make a puppet with a 'duplicate' , or if for any reason I think I might need a carbon copy of that costume in the future , then I venture into Birmingham to the Rag- Market and by a few meters of something to make sure I have enough.

But really you cant beat the Charity SHops.

As has been said beofre on here , Id be wary of buying cloth from internet sites ...however good it looks on screen , you really need to get the feel of it between your fingers to know if it will withstand the rigours of constant packing and use , which is the fate of a P&J puppet.

......................................

If you are buying 'new' materials , expect to spend almost as much for the trimmings as you do on the fabric
Unless you just use 'Ric-Rac' ( Davide Wilde knows my aversion to this stuff : except on Joeys) ...then gold braids , orother trim , and some nice buttons , or bits of lace for cuffs etc all add up.

Not a Cheap Hobby ..but a Fun one :-)
Good Luck
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Postby CvdC » 05 Oct 2007, 22:11

yes I agree with Richard. Womens underwear is also very good for lining. But when you go searching through the charity shops be sure to feel the quality. In fact it is a good idea to put it up to your cheek to feel how soft and slippery it is.
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Postby Richard Coombs » 05 Oct 2007, 22:42

...Steady Chris ...or the next time you try to come over for a Mayfayre , you might just find that Interpoll stop you at Passport control LOL
:-)
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Postby Professor Eek » 05 Oct 2007, 22:59

The rubbing womens underwear against your cheek is a good way to test the fabric but please ensure the woman is out of them first or you could get into trouble. :roll:
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Postby CvdC » 06 Oct 2007, 01:08

No no if anyone starts to look at you with suspicion simply speak to them with your swazzle and wag your hands at them as if you were operating puppets. Then they will understand.

Also let me just say that coming into the UK is already something of a trial. I think they get the passport control people to watch Faulty Towers videos for training. The nastiness is almost ritualised. When I went to France for a few days and returned I had to run the gauntlet all over again. When I said I was simply going home (to my sisters) after a brief trip abroad they really gave me a hard time. I was being just a little too presumptuous calling England home.

As for ric rac. Well what can I say? It's so Tickner. But if you want to brighten up an edge it makes life so simple. Recently I couldn't find any and nearly had withdrawal symptoms. I had to drive around to several haberdashery shops before I could get my fix. Now I keep a supply in red blue and yellow, large curves and small.
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Postby lesclarke » 06 Oct 2007, 12:34

I'm a fan of Ric Rac, I find the pattern very satisfying in an appropriately retro way. But not on everything of course. Plenty on Punch, Judy and the baby in moderation, Joey can get away with a fair bit, Toby's ruff, Hector's 'skirt', the Beadle... definitely not on the Policeman.

As with many fabric things these days 'it's not what it used to be' and the colours are less subtle, the yellow is usually too bright and the red not deep enough.
Mind your head, ...on that light fitting!!!!!
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Postby James » 10 Oct 2007, 13:56

Richard Coombs wrote:If you are buying 'new' materials , expect to spend almost as much for the trimmings as you do on the fabric
Unless you just use 'Ric-Rac'
Not a Cheap Hobby ..but a Fun one :-)


Very true. Have taken to buying vintage trimmings (pre war and 50s) of late, the quality is superb and the designs appealing (probably more for non Punch puppets, as some of the sequinned stuff wouldn't be suited for a knock about show) but they're not cheap.

I'd advise a trip up the fabric shops on Berwick St (five mins or so from Covent Garden) for those with an unlimited budget.
Still haven't had my copy of the Evening Star, the delivery service is terrible!
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Postby CvdC » 10 Oct 2007, 21:26

That, James, is the problem with ric rac. It may be cheap looking but it does take a knocking. For instance I used frog clasps on the front of Punch's costume. But I have had to abandon these as the stick tends to rub on them and they very quickly frayed.
There seems to be a balance between a fine looking costume and one that will wear well.
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ric rac?

Postby Trev » 12 Oct 2007, 07:52

Forgive my ignorance, please, but what is ric rac?
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Postby CvdC » 12 Oct 2007, 07:58

Image

Don't get too excited. It is a humble bit of stuff
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Postby Miraiker » 12 Oct 2007, 14:13

An excellent picture of ric rac Chris,

now can you tell me what a frog clasp is please?
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Postby Chris » 12 Oct 2007, 16:04

Perhaps I can help Miraiker:-

<a href="http://www.postimage.org/image.php?v=PqclucS"><img src="http://www.postimage.org/PqclucS.jpg" align="right"></a><br><br><center>FROG CLASP</center>
Last edited by Chris on 12 Oct 2007, 20:07, edited 2 times in total.
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