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For a long time now I have been working on writing a how-to manual forcostumers, always starting off with the idea that such a book had to be simple, straightforward, and instructional, like a cookbook, or a Chilton's guide to auto repair. Everytime, I fail. First, because my personality intrudes; second, because, (I've slowlyrealized) costuming, both design and construction, is an art, and can't be expressed inpurely mechanical terms. My writing becomes personal, I start to advise my prospectivereader like one of my students, and the whole thing passes into a different areaaltogether: the "self-help" book.

At length I've realized, this isn't so bad. After all, if there are selfhelp books for shy people, "co-dependent" people, dieters, children ofalcoholics, and every other group on earth, why not costumers? Why should we need any lesssupport and advice than other mortals? Particularly, since we are, by and large,underpaid, overworked, and a complete embarrassment to our families? We do something for aliving or hobby, that by any standards other than our own, is insane. M.Celestine G.Ranneysays it best: "I make clothes for imaginary people." Clearly, one way or anotherwe need psychological support, as well as the usual technical help, even if only to makebetter clothes for imaginary people.

However, I still think that to be useful for a costumer, this book needsa structure that is as compartmentalized as a cookbook. If I want advice on anything, Iwant it to the point, not buried under a mountain of theory. So here it is, chopped intobite-sized portions that are easy to digest. Don't read it all at once; it's not that kindof book.

This Page is part of The Costumer's Manifesto, originally founded by Tara Maginnis, Ph.D. from 1996-2014, now flying free as a wiki for all to edit and contribute. Site maintained, hosted, and wikified by Andrew Kahn. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details. You may print out any of these pages for non-profit educational use such as school papers, teacher handouts, or wall displays. You may link to any page in this site.