For those of you who have seen the movie 3000 Miles to Graceland, you know how much shooting and blood there was. For some viewers, that means more tension or excitement, and for others it means a queasy feeling in the pit of their stomach. For costumers however it means many, many multiples! For each jacket you see in a movie, there are generally at least 3 exactly the same. One for the actor, one for the stunt and one for the photo double or stand-in. If however, the actor has many scenes in the jacket, there will be even more. And, if there is fire, blood, explosions, water, or anything else that will change the look of the jacket, there will be yet more.
For instance, the shirt that Kevin Costner wore in the final scene… It was quite a few years ago now, so I’m not totally sure, but, I remember it being a huge number, maybe 10 or more.
I remember sewing Kurt Russell‘s jackets. They had orange lamb skin insets and when I took the finished piece to the iron, it pressed like a dream… that is, until I hit the steam button on the iron. At that moment, my stomach tightened up and the blood rushed to my face at the same time as I watched the orange lamb panel recoil from the steam and turn into a shrivelled hard piece of cardboard. We were under so much pressure to get these garments finished in time for camera, that I felt terrible. That’s the nature of our work. Things like this happen and we have to deal with them on the spot as fast as possible. I replaced the panel and those jackets had instructions attached to them, “Do not use steam”.
After the collar on Kevin Costner‘s Jacket was beautifully finished with leather lacing detail, we had to feed metal wire all the way around the inside of the edge to make sure that the set person could maintain continuity of shape through all of his scenes. Wire can be used in many ways, but, collars alway do as they’re told when you use it in them!
We worked out of a very dark studio space in the Bridge Studio. When I recall working there it only conjures up memories of darkness while working. We worked on a lot of dark coloured garments, and even the pale yellow dress that I cut and constructed for Courtney Cox seems dark in my memory. I lost my eyes on that show. Long hours with very poor lighting and the next thing I know I’m getting glasses.