When people find out I am a costume technician for a living I get a lot of "Oh that sounds like fun." or "That has to be fascinating!" I smile nod and try to continue the conversation without the other person fainting from excitement. Then there are times when I hear, "So, can you make my wedding dress then?" It is at that moment I reconsider the relationship that person and I currently share. To keep you on good terms with your costumer friend, here are my top three things to stop saying to a costumer (in no particular order).
1. "You must make your own clothes."
No, after sewing all day not all costume technicians go home and whip up a closet full of clothes out of their old curtains. A chef sometimes just wants some fast food. A costumer sometimes wants an of the rack dress.
2. "Can you help me with my costume?"
Whether it's Halloween, Comicon, or a Wedding we will not "help" you with a costume project. The reasoning is that "help" normally means "do all of the work for me for free". We get paid to do this as our day job. You would not ask a carpenter to "help" you build a house while you sit on a sun chair sipping lemonade. We will build a costume for you if you hire us and compensate us accordingly. (If I was numbering these in order of frequency and annoyance, this would be #1.)
3. "I thought you might like my extra scrap fabric/old clothes."
Scrap fabric indicates that this fabric is not large enough to make anything except a Crazy Quilt. We have no need for tiny swatches of trim that couldn't be used on a doll's pillow. We will only accept donations for our stocks if the clothing is washed, well taken care of, and if we do not have ten items identical already on our racks. Let us know exactly what you're donating. Send pictures. Now buttons are another story. As long as they are in one piece we will take your buttons!