by Dot Speight of Rumpelstiltskin and designer of the Dolly Board
From as far back as I can remember the glitz of show people excited me. I wanted to be just like them as I looked on wide eyed at their beautiful costumes which shone and sparkled as they caught the light….. that was the beginning.
My mother taught me to sew from the age of around 8. I asked her for a sewing machine for Christmas and she bought me one… It wasn’t quite what I had in mind as it was a plastic child's one…. “No Mother,” I said, “ I want one like yours! A real one."
After much persuasion and promises on my part that I would not get my fingers caught under the needle, she agreed to let me use it. She is 86 now so I am sometimes showing her a thing or two, haha!
Before I make a costume I spend more time running the process around my head than I do in the actual sewing, it’s a thought process I go through each time from the music that will assist the routine, to the shape of the dancer, to the performance that has been choreographed. I get lots of inspiration from the shows I have seen in Vegas (I visit this country a lot), magazines, social media etc. Once I know which way I’m going to go with it, I cut and sew!.
Then comes the best part! This is the part that brings the costume to life, the crystallizing using non hotfix flatback crystals and crystal sew on stones. I use E6000 to glue the crystals and to pick up the crystals I use a jewel setter.
My life saver and best friend is the Dolly Board, without her some of the intricate designs I create would not be possible, I don’t have time for stones falling all over the floor like they used to before I designed this board and I definitely don’t have time for sewing appliques to a cushion (a former thing I did which was very annoying).
I cannot imagine designing my costumes without the Dolly Board, it would be like trying to mend a car without your tools!
In the attempts to get the size right I ended up with all the different sizes from a small child to adult size 14- 18 ‘Hour Glass’To have all 5 sizes at my disposal is very useful as I can work on more than once costume at a time for several customers whether they are a small child to an adult.
The Dolly Board has a handy built in handle and is light but strong enough to be transported, I have on many occasion been seen taking my work on the train when I am travelling, out comes the Dolly Board, complete with a costume on it and then from my bag of tricks I retrieve the glue and the crystals and start crystallzing. I could never do that before, its like any time, any place anywhere.
The most wonderful feeling for me is when I see my costumes sparkling under the lights on stage just as I remember when I was a little girl.