As a child, Halloween was always my favorite holiday. Even then, the idea that I could be somebody glamorous or scary or powerful just by changing my clothes positively captivated me.
I was 13 when I realized I could actually wear this stuff In Public other times than Halloween. I started with the Renaissance Festival, teaching myself to sew my own garb because there was no way I could afford to buy it. From there, I grew into movie re-creations: Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and more complex creations.
I learned leatherwork, sculpting, corsetry, quilting, hand-embroidery, machine embroidery, pattern drafting and draping, couture sewing techniques and how to bite off WAY more than I can chew where a costume is concerned. The only place to go from there was up, so I did. I packed up the cats and the sewing machines and went north to NYC, to get a Master’s in Fashion and Textile History, Theory and Conservation. This experience has gotten me hands-on with museum collections and objects in some of the finest museums and textile collections in the country, and I’ve been lucky enough to learn from some of my personal idols over the course of my graduate school career. Straight out of school, I landed a job in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, dressing and photographing their 19th century costume collection. This led me down another rabbit hole – that of historical costuming.
Once you’ve been hands-on with enough extant pieces, you start to realize that dressmakers a hundred years ago weren’t perfect either – hems are uneven, seams are poorly sewn, ripped out and resewn, things are let out and taken in to fit different bodies, and really, none of it is all that difficult. So I started making my own, from the corsets outward.
After finishing the documentation project at the Met, I moved back into the world of conservation, heading up a private textile conservation lab specializing in cleaning and preservation of current couture and designer apparel, most commonly wedding gowns. A few years later, I decided to take the plunge into working for myself, and I left to open Snapdragon Designs. At first I tried to work out of my home, but my needs very quickly exceeded the space available, and thus The Studio was born.
So what’s next? I aim to be the best local source for historical costuming patterns and supplies in Central Ohio. I’m currently designing and testing my own line of historical patterns, taking costume work on commission as time permits, and teaching and hosting classes of my own. I look forward to the business evolving and growing based on the needs of the local market, and most of all I’m excited to expand onto the web with my brand new storefront!