From the beginning Threads in Motion put the definition of create into every piece
“To produce through artistic or imaginative efforts
Create and Inspire
To make your own”
Fifteen thousand costumes have been created by Threads in Motion over the last 26 years!
Now when you start to do the math you will see that works out to nearly 600 per year. Each costume requires a minimum of two hours to as many as fifteen. Taking into account that the competitive season is four to five months long at best, you begin to understand the dedication and discipline it takes to be at this job all these years and still love it.
Threads in Motion began when I decided to take my love for working with stretch fabrics and design a line of active wear for cyclists, runners and general fitness buffs. There were few places the average person could get wild looking cycling shorts or running pants other then the basic blah colours. Never one to be afraid to wear something different I went in search of crazy prints and bright colours. I found ways to incorporate them into pieces that were not only comfortable, but fun. During that first season I was approached to put together some costumes for a local baton club. Knowing my ability to work with stretch fabrics this opportunity was not beyond my scope of expertise. Within a month the word got out about my work and before I knew it I was busier then I ever anticipated. That first year I did about 200 costumes and the active wear then became sequined and glittered. Instead of running pants, I was making neon MC Hammer pants with Fringed Jackets! I developed my pattern making and grading skills by making each costume a custom piece. Every costume has always been cut with a specific set of measurements for the given wearer. So regardless of whether you are a local twirler that I can measure myself or a skater in the UK who sends her measurement’s and sketches by post I’ve always taken the time to create a piece based on an individuals measurements.
If you know me, you know that Colleen Elston and Threads in Motion are one in the same. However by no means will I claim that I alone have made this company a success for almost three decades. Without the support and encouragement of my husband, all these years, I wouldn’t have made it through those first years of 15 plus hour days for months on end. My two daughters have always been a source of both inspiration and unconditional love. Both have become excellent cooks something they learned out of necessity.
I would not be able to put the time and creative energy into a costume without learning how to be a good delegator. Over the years I have enlisted many friends to aid in the construction process. My close friends soon realized that if they wanted to visit with me they would be put to work. Sometimes even the parents of my studio groups would spent time hand sewing or piecing things together while their kids were in class. Over the years all the women who have helped me have either been friends or become friends. I have always loved to share my talent, never afraid to take the time to teach a skill or explain any of my tricks. Without realizing it, I was becoming a teacher and mentor. As I shared my knowledge, some gained the confidence to go on and create their own successful sewing endeavors. All these women have played a special part in allowing me to grow creatively as well as an entrepreneur. We have made a bond that only someone running on four hours sleep and a head full of glitter can understand.
I owe my creative gift to both my grandmothers. One taught me to be patient and skilled and never be satisfied with work I wouldn’t be proud to call my own. My paternal grandmother and grandfather came from a long line of gifted tailors. I may have never sat and watched how they worked or learnt from their teachings but they gave me a gift passed on through our genes that I don’t take for granted.
I have often been asked when I knew that I wanted to be a designer? I can honestly say that I’ve ever not thought of myself as a designer in some form or another. Some of my first memories are cutting out paper doll clothes that I had designed and coloured myself.
My grandmother didn’t have a sewing machine so she taught me hand stitching. Every stitch had to be neat on both the front and back. It was a test to try to make it hard to tell which was the right side and which was the wrong. Her words are with me with every piece I create.
“If you can wear it inside out you have done a good enough job”
Twenty-six years ago I started Threads in Motion with different intentions, so now as I open up onto the Social Media platform what path will I follow…?