Below is a collection of questions I have received over the years. If you have further questions, feel free to send me an e-mail on my contact page.
Q: Are you an opera singer ?
A: I wish ! I can’t begin to innumerate how many people asked me this question when I first began dressing up for the operas. It is my all-time favorite question and never gets old.
Q: Do you get paid to dress up ?
A: No. No entity ─ not the theater, nor the Met, nor any other organization ─ pays me to make appearances in character.
Q: What does “Toi, Toi, Toi” mean ?
A: Since starting my blog, this has become a major FAQ. “Toi, Toi, Toi” is lingo in the opera world for good luck and also conveys best wishes for success to the performers. After a singer has been interviewed during the Live in HD transmissions, the host of the day will usually wish the person “Toi, Toi, Toi” for the next act(s). It is almost synonymous to theater’s “break a leg.” Relatedly, I choose it as my sign off to wish my readers all the best in life.
Q: How long does it take to sew a costume ?
A: That depends. For my own personal comfort (and stress) levels, I like to allot 2 months to create an outfit. Since costuming is not a full-time job, I work on them at my leisure.
Q: Do you have a formal education in costuming/fashion ?
A: No. Many have asked me if I have a degree in theatrical costuming and fashion design and I don’t; I’m entirely self-taught in sewing through articles and videos online (you can read about how I taught myself to sew in my post about Madama Butterfly from 2016).
Q: Where do you source your materials ?
A: Most of the fabrics I use for my outfits is purchased online since the selection is far greater (and usually less expensive) than what I can find in my local area. Fabric Wholesale Direct in Farmingdale, NY is one of my most reliable outlets for costume satin and the 3 meter width jacquards. Their prices are unbeatable ! For a truly unique and constantly rotating inventory, I love Fabric Mart Fabrics in Sinking Spring, PA. I became a member of their swatch club (Julie’s Picks) and have learned a great deal about different fabrics through it, all while reaping the benefits of discounted prices. I’ve even used fabrics from the swatch club to create some of my opera outfits as detailed in an article I wrote for Fabric Mart’s “Fabricista” blog (link below). http://blog.fabricmartfabrics.com/2020/03/fabricista-guest-postjulies-picks-goes.html
Q: What do you do with the costumes after you’ve worn them ?
A: This used to be a problem as my endeavors became more elaborate. Thankfully, I purchased a store rack where my costumes have their home.
Q: Do you ever design costumes and/or clothing for others ?
A: Not yet ! However, I am open to designing and sewing custom work for individuals seeking an outfit for special occasions.
Q: What kind of sewing machine do you use ?
A: I am the proud owner of two Baby Lock machines: a regular sewing machine and a serger, which I acquired in 2018. I adore them both !