MULTI-TALENTED ANDREA SCHEWE
Fabric chosen & sewn by A. Schewe
CONTINUED / PART VII
Goose Mother: Maybe we, as a group, can get the Henry the Eighth pattern re-issued. You are correct tho’ that pattern is quite pricey to acquire. That could end if we could get it re-issued; making the pattern affordable and easy to acquire. OK, that was my rant.
Now, we are in the early 2000s and you’re still pumping out Renaissance patterns along with some other types of patterns.
Andrea Schewe: The Simplicity on Stage line was instigated by Simplicity and the first two pattern designs sold moderately well. It occurred to me that, due to the fact that the first two patterns in that line were for 1950’s costumes, it might be far less complicated for a high school or amateur production to find what they needed at the local thrift store rather than to sew costumes. Costuming an amateur play is one of the most difficult types of costuming to do. The budget is limited, the amount of time people can sew is limited and the skill level is usually limited.
However, Simplicity was willing to try a few more in this series. I suggested a set of costumes that could be used for a number of plays and musicals. This became the second and last set of “Simplicity on Stage” patterns. This included two women’s and one men’s pattern for turn of the 20th Century plays, such as My Fair Lady, Music Man, Carrousel, The Importance of Being Ernest, etc. My goal was to make them very easy, but give them the correct shapes for that period. One of the patterns is based on a costume I wore (and made for myself) playing the part of Lady Sangazure in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta , “The Sorcerer.” This set of patterns sold well for a number of years, but not well enough to do any new ones. (Simplicity 9686, 9699, and 9723)
Simplicity is a business and sales drive everything. If something sells really well, they ask me to make more and if something doesn’t sell well enough, it’s gone! End of story. This is why there are never very many patterns in larger sizes. We issue them and then the sales aren’t strong enough to keep them in stock.
Goose Mother: Yes, I think many of us are aware of that. That’s the way with just about everything these days. If the demand does not meet the expectations of the company, the product disappears.
Andrea Schewe: I love to make kid’s costumes. Some of you may remember I got my start with a costume I created for my then two year old son. Anne Geddes is a photographer who makes beautiful photo-shopped pictures of tiny babies in nature. She has babies sleeping in acorn shells and nestled into roses, and so on. Simplicity asked her if she would design some baby costumes for them, but she wasn’t interested, so … lucky me! The first one I designed sold well. Simplicity then asked me to produce a second pattern of Ms. Geddes inspired baby costumes. (Simplicity 7868 & 8273). I also “ghost” design, or perhaps I should say “pattern make.”
Many of the licensed costumes in the catalog are made by me. One I think turned out well was Buzz Lightyear. (Simplicity 9385). Another was one of the Disney patterns I made. It was a toddler version of Peter Pan, Tinkerbelle and Captain Hook. (Simplicity 9844). When models are needed, Simplicity calls several modeling agencies and a number of models come to try out for the job. I was told to not worry about making my costumes easy to fit, because they will just keep trying different models until they find a model that fits my costume. I think that is hard on the models, but it is easy on me. Well, the little boy in this Peter Pan package was hired to be the model because he was the only one who would wear the Captain Hook wig!
Goose Mother: That’s funny. Sounds like typical kid! Go figure.
Andrea Schewe: Renaissance costumes were still the mainstay of my work at this time, and Simplicity wanted more. And now Simplicity added a new twist; this time they also wanted a toddler costume. Since the King Henry VIII design was so well received, I suggested making a baby costume fashioned after a painting of Edward VI, Henry’s heir to the throne. (Simplicity 5517) At the same time, I made another pattern for ladies (Simplicity 9929) and a men’s pattern that I hoped would take the place of the now gone Henry VIII. (Simplicity 5574) The photo of the two men on this pattern is really awful. I don’t like the fabrics I chose and the men look REALLY out of place and inappropriate with their too short hair and glued on moustaches. However, I had the opportunity to sew it up for what is called an editorial shot and that photo turned out great. I chose a beautiful brocade, (I hope everyone appreciates how well I matched the fabric motifs in the front) and the model is gorgeous. (See photo above; from costume catalog).
Simplicity 9929 & 5517 (Baby Edward)
Goose Mother: Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I really like it. I like it enough that I would try and match fabrics as closely as possible. And yes, you matched up the motifs beautifully! It certainly adds to the richness and quality. And you’re right, the model is quite handsome and looks appropriate for the time period. Actually, to be honest, I think most of the Renaissance photos on the patterns were done rather well or at least the ones I’ve seen. But, yeah, the guys on the envelope of Simplicity 5574 look rather out of place, but I do like the costumes.
Photo on Envelope; Simplicity 5574
Simplicity 9686 (Simplicity On Stage)
Montage of Simplicity On Stage
Simplicity 9699 (Simplicity On Stage)
Simplicity 9385 Buzz LightYear
To Be Continued ……