Dear readers, I'm so excited to share my work on Netflix's GLOW with you! Set in the early 1980s in Los Angeles GLOW follows Ruth (Alison Brie) a struggling actress looking for her breakout role. She stumbles into a casting call for a female wrestling show filled with a ragtag group of actresses, hairdressers, models, stunt women and the lone real lady wrestler. We follow the group on their journey to become GLOW- Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.
GLOW takes place in 1985 and working on period shows always presents some challenges. Vintage clothing is abundant in California and the 1980s aren't that far-gone. However, the birth of fast fashion and constantly developing fabric technology means often recent clothing was made quickly with sub-par materials. Elastic was a big problem—it deteriorated in the waistbands, vintage leotard edges and sock bands. I ripped apart so many skirts and leotards to overclock in new elastic to make them wearable. Active wear like leotards were worn to bits, so it was hard to find enough pieces in good shape to begin with.
My main duty on GLOW was to make custom leotards. I made over sixty leotards in all shapes, sizes and colors. Costume designer Beth Morgan would send me inspiration photos, sketches and vintage pieces to replicate. I drafted a collection of basic leotard patterns from size extra small up to extra extra large and used these as my base. It's much easier to modify an existing pattern (often called a block) then to draft from scratch! Every time I made a new style or size I drew a technical flat. A flat is a simple drawing of the garment, showing style lines and silhouette. By the end of the season I had a whole wall of drawings that Beth could go to when designing a leotard, all she had to do was point, pick a fabric and off I went! This was especially handy when there was a leotard emergency and I needed to build one in just a few hours. We had a large collection of modern and period fabric to chose from for tight situations.
Making women of many sizes and shapes feel comfortable in their leotards was a big responsibility. Most of the leotards are lined, making them feel a bit more study and thick enough to wear underwear and bras under - something not usually worn under dancewear. Some ladies liked a very high armhole and wide straps, others liked the leotards cut super high on the hip, or to have a deep plunge in the back.
GLOW was such a fantastic show to work on. I was pregnant with my daughter and delivered just a week and a half after we wrapped, so that made everything just a bit more memorable. To be in the company of a mostly female cast and crew at such a pivotal moment in my life was really special. When I got close to my due date I brought in my friend Valerie Keiser to help me with the sewing and I couldn't have done it without her. I hope you enjoy the show and all the crazy leotards we made. Catch the whole season on Netflix. Comment below with your favorite look from season one!