I’ve made it to YouTube.


Costumer’s Notes Revamp Underway

Hello Gang!!!
Past time.. and overdue.. Costumer’s Notes is getting the attention it has sorely needed and greatly deserves. As some of you know, I’ve had a great deal of trials and tribulations over the past four years. So now is the time to get things cooking. And like any good cook, it’s time to assemble the ingredients.

We’re going “old school” with Costumer’s Notes…
I’ve been producing a ‘zine – on and off – since 1988. That year solidified my path as a costume designer. I won a title in the Comic-Con masquerade for most humorous, was chugging through my third year in the Fashion Design program at Mesa College in San Diego, and dreaming of a career in theater. I had some fashion illustrations appear in the local newspaper, I was producing costumes for the Living History Center in Old Town San Diego. I was also making beautiful ballgowns, and even had the pleasure of appearing in the Society Column in the local newspaper. Costumer’s Notes made its first appearance, a thin six-page tips sheet for wearing and caring for Victorian hoops.

Now – literally 20 years later, I’ve produced dozens of volumes on a myriad topics. Through my BA in Visual Arts and Theater at UCSD, to my MFA work in Art History and Design at UCD, I’ve managed to squeeze out these small publications here and there, responding to the needs of my diverse group of clients, friends, associates and fans. Costumer’s Notes provided the original foundation for my first book Costuming from the Hip, and articles have grown and spun off, appearing in magazines, on other websites and integrated into the fiber of other reasearcher’s work.

After a four year hiatus, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get back to work!

Old Concepts – New Features

Now that the .pdf is dominating the world of print and I’ve been producing all of my books in .pdf for years, it’s common enough to place on the web and have it downloadable. So, instead of a big bulky website with lots of individual pages devoted to articles, columns, photos and advice, we’re simply going back to our original concept of the ‘zine. However, instead of sending it out for printing, then shipping via the mail, we’re simply going to deliver the newsletter to the world as a .pdf that is easy to download and print.

When is the next issue coming out?

I’ve just paused for a moment as I work on it, and will be taking some photos in a moment. I’m hoping the first edition of this “third cycle” will be online before May 15. It will appear at Rakkasah West, just days away, in a crude form, to show around and get feedback from my friends and co-conspirators. The title? Spandex Fusion Pants

What else will be on the Costumer’s Notes website?
So the new slimmer, sleeker website is reduced to a few simple elements.
Main Page – Welcome, schedule and current issue.
Archive page – A list of available back issues.
Links Page – For dancing accross the web.
About us – Every Page Needs a Mission
Sign-Up – Basically, our policies page with information about signing up for our opt-in montly mailings. Also – links to the Costumer’s Notes Yahoo Group – A way to connect to a bigger community of like-minded costuming types!

We’re shooting for simple, clean, and user friendly.
Jakob Nielson would be proud! (And if you know what that means, e-me and we’ll talk!)

Thanks to everyone who has supported my adventures. Keep the mail coming in, let me know what topics you would like to see in future issues. I look forward to hearing from you!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Author • Costumer • Dancer • Historian


Adventures in eMail Marketing Software…

….The Monkey of My Dreams – Found!

On my quest for an all new-and-improved Costumer’s Notes experience, I’ve decided to invest in some improvements in my infrastructure – especially in the way my mailing list works. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with several services to manage e-mail lists and send out professional quality e-mails. Well – I’ve test driven three and the winner is MailChimp.

Visit MailChimp
MailChimp has a great – easy-to-use web-based interface that allows you to create fantastic e-mails. Here’s a sample of one I made recently for an SF/BA MECDA event with workshop leader Yosifa Rose.

I was impressed by the simplicity of the MailChimp interface and how quickly and intuitively I could navigate their system. So – Costumer’s Notes will now be sent out using this fantastic service! If you are a business, organization, dance instructor or – anyone really – you may want to check it out. (I compared them to iContact and Constant Contact and chose MailChimp!)

Now – back to the sewing table!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina


The Lifecycle of Makeup

Hello Friends and Costume Addicts,

On Sunday I performed at Setareh’s Hafla Grande and opened my “big” makeup kit to find an amazing assortment of truly old and icky stuff. My little “face case” that I carry in my dance kit has just the essentials, up to date and fresh products that can transform me from plain to performable in minutes.

However – that monster makeup box that lurks on one end of my costume dresser had some seriously scary products in there. Since I had packed up my mini face case, I had virtually abandoned the myriad products that were languishing in my big box. Time for a clean-out!

Makeup gets old, it goes bad and it spoils. There is a life cycle of makeup that starts with it being unpackaged and used until the ideal end date. Unlike the science experiments in the back of the fridge that look foul and smell worse, makeup looses its freshness without notice. Bad makeup can cause blemishes, skin infections, pink eye and worse! So how do you know when it’s safe and when you should toss it?

Makeup should be disposed of based on age, and the general rule of thumb is:
Up To Three Months – Liquids that touch the eye such as liquid eyeliner and mascara
Up To Six Months – Sticks that touch the eye, such as eyeliner pens and pencils.
Up to Two Years – Moist Cosmetics for the rest of your face – foundation, lipstick, cream rouge etc.
Up to Three Years – Dry Products like powder eyeshadow and blush as well as mineral makeup.
Three Years and Beyond – It’s too old to use safely. If you love the packaging – clean it out and clean it up. Save the package as a keepsake in a treasure box or refill with newer products. Never be tempted to try on old makeup out of nostalgia.

Of course, if a product smells funky, has separated, is of unknown life-span, or is just out of style – give it a toss. There’s no use keeping outdated products that take up space or that you inadvertently use past its prime.

So – here is a hot tip I got from the ULTA website. Label your makeup when you open it. Good idea. My solution – Use a dab of nail polish! One dab for each “quarter” of the year, a different color for each year. So – if this year is “orange crush” then I would put four dots of that nail polish in an inconspicuous place on my new product. Middle of next year when I find that item, I will know it was opened in the fourth quarter of the year. Visit this page for more ULTA tips on makeup longevity. For inspirations new ways to apply makeup check out the instructional videos on the Sephora website.

Streamlining my makeup to just the essentials has netted me a savings in both time and money!

Now – off to rescue and clean some makeup brushes, toss some old makeup – monster box – here I come!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina • •


Big Bra for Retro Styling – Inspiration for the Week

Hello Fellow Costume Junkies!

I recently got a hold of one of these babies and it is really a nice bra that makes a really nice vintage/retro look…

Here’s the Bra – The Va-Bien – Available in Many Places – but take a peek at it on the Bare Necessities website. At $44 it might seem pricy — but if your cups runnith over – and you
are making your own bedlah – this might be worth the investment. This model goes up to a G in some band widths! (I’m sure it’s avaible from other websites – hunt for the best deal!)

Like the bra line? Here are some inspirations for how to use it to make a nice retro
look — Here are just a few vintage dance clips from the ’50’s on YouTube Taheya, Naima Akef and Naima again.

Notice that in these clips the bra is essentially a strapless – but with a decorative “strap” that goes up the center to the neck. Think about the strap as more of an embellishement than a source of support.

Of course, with a convertable bra of this type – you can make your belly dance costume with any strap style you desire. But for women in need of true support for magnificent bounty, I would stick with a classic set of wide over-the-shoulder straps to a V in the back near
the closure.

Nothing like a little Retro/Vintage Bedlah Glam…

Dawn Devine ~ Davina