Couture Costumes and Corsetry Green Policy

Couture Costumes has always been a "green" service. I have been an environmentalist since heading the paper recycling program in grade school and participating in solar living workshops though the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in junior high. Here are some of the ways Couture Costumes works to protect the environment.

Reuse: Creating something new from something already existing has often been a design challenge that I have embraced. For example, the Meat Ball Dress was made out of a rather unattractive circa 1960s wedding dress, an old taffeta skirt, left over ribbon, and a bustle that had lost its dress. The 1630s Cavalier dress is another example of a dress that was destined for the dump and was rescued and remade into a new, wonderful dress.

Recycle: Shopping for stock in an ongoing process. Almost all of the thread, elastic, bias tape, twill tape and trims that I use are salvaged from thrift store, garage sale and estate sales and the like. All of the machines that these clothes are made on are second hand except my blind hemmer. All of the hangers the clothes are hung on are salvaged. Many of the fabrics I use for mock ups, interfacings and linings are salvaged. On a large project it is often not possible to salvage the main components. An example of this would be the 1851 Day dress. The wool paisley and skirt lining were new but the lace dicky and cuffs were made from old placemats. The tatted bows were made from thrift store crochet thread. The waist band, snap tape, thread, sleeve lining and bone casing were all salvage. Some times the nature of a project allows for more recycling. The Fire Fairy and Will o' the Wisp costumes are made almost entirely out of scraps from other projects and thing people had given me.

Reduce: I want to provide people with the very best value possible. This means that I want them to be able to use their costumes in as many ways as possible. The two best examples of this are the Fire Fairy & Ruby 1870s dual purpose costume and Lady Elizabeth Villiers Dress which doubles as both a day and evening dress. Both costumes were made with special feature that allowed pieces and layers to be used individually and in more than one way.

Probably my largest environmental contribution is my Dickens' Fair costuming. Every year I hunt though the thrift store all year long for things that can be remade into costumes for the fair and pass these along to other fair participants. This year I have a large stock of drawers and chamises made from duvet covers and petticoats made from table clothes and quilted petticoats made from comforters.