Several years ago one of my good friends Shado started playing the Gypsy King out at faire. When he needed his costume made he came to me. He needed a long vest of sorts according to the costuming guidelines. As we sat discussing his ideal costume he kept saying how much he would love to have something like a coat like the one in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Now I am a good seamstress. I am not the greatest in the world, but my work is pretty nice. After doing a little research and finding a metric ton of images online I made him a couple of sketches as to what I thought he would like. He loved them and I was ridiculously intimidated by them. I did not want to make this coat.
As it turned out he could not really afford to have this coat made by me or anyone else at the time. He was sad. I was relieved. I mean I wanted him to have the costume he wanted, but I really was afraid I couldn't produce the thing for him. Instead we made him a simple long vest.
He liked the vest and it worked well. It just really was not what he wanted. Honestly as his costumer it was not what I wanted. It was not bright enough nor regal enough. I mean he was supposed to be the gypsy King for crying out loud.
As the years have passed he has spoken often about how someday he will have the Iosef coat made (his characters name is Iosef). He would speak of it longingly with a wistful smile on his lips. It was however mostly a pipe dream and he knew it. Getting the money and a seamstress that could do it at the same time was unlikely to happen before he stopped playing this character.
So I decided to gift the coat to him. Of course I didn't tell him this. Heavens no. Half the fun is in the surprise. If he knew it was coming I couldn't make him cry and that just would not do. So I put on my best Secret Squirrel impersonation, and began to plot how to make this happen.
The first thing I had to do was to enlist the help of some other people to help pay for this thing. It was going to be expensive and I knew that. I contacted all the other gypsies on cast at faire and they thought it was a great idea. Everyone was more than happy to throw in some money on the project.
Next I had to enlist the help of his wife. I needed her to make sure he didn't go and do something dumb like commission the coat to be made on his own. I was pretty certain that wasn't going to happen, but I would rather be safe than sorry. Besides having a co conspirator that close to the mark is always a good thing.
This is when the first snag came about, because when is there not a snag or 12? In December his company decided to send him to India for six weeks in the spring. He was going to be gone for all of the workshop process. I wasn't going to be able to do things like fittings anyways, but I would have at least been able to figure out a way to get measurements and sizing off of him if he was here. Now I was going to have to find a way to get them before he left.
I concocted some story about wanting to reverse engineer the shirts I had made him for a patterning project. If he had thought about this he would have realized I was full of it. I loath math. If I wanted a pattern of his shirts I would have just taken an old shirt and patterned it. Thankfully he didn't think about it and I was able to get all the measurements I needed. I just had to hope he didn't eat too much curry while in India.
The next task at hand was to find a seamstress. The coat is complicated and I still really didn't feel confident enough to make it on my own. Unfortunately most of my candidates were either busy with other faire commissions or were busy with new born babies. My options were very slim. I spent months trying to find someone I felt comfortable handing this project over to. I was finally pointed to a friends mother and decided to use her. She does good work and given enough time she should be able to get it done in time.
The thing was though, this was my baby. This was my idea. This was something I knew I should be doing no matter how afraid of it I was. Every time I went to call her to get the ball rolling I would freeze up.
So I caved. I appreciated all the offers I had gotten, but it was just something I was going to have to do on my own. I would just have to deal with my own fears face on like a big girl. I was going to make the coat.
Tune in tomorrow for the exciting next part of our story in which I sew and pray a lot.