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November 23, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Cirque costume designers take advantage of Stitch Factory’s offerings

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Joe Schoenmann

Veronique Marcoux works on part of a costume for a Cirque du Soleil performer. A group of Cirque costume designers and seamstresses are stitching and sewing, measuring and adjusting costumes in the Stitch Factory, a co-working space for designers that is equipped with industrial machines, dress forms and working tables

Cirque Costumers at Stitch Factory

Genevieve Manda works on part of a costume for a Cirque du Soleil performer. A group of Cirque costume designers and seamstresses are stitching and sewing, measuring and adjusting costumes in the Stitch Factory, a co-working space for designers that is equipped with industrial machines, dress forms and working tables Launch slideshow »

Cirque du Soleil has a virtual lock on the Las Vegas Strip performance industry with seven – and soon to be eight – shows, including the upcoming Michael Jackson tribute “One.”

But now you can even find the entertainment giant’s employees working downtown.

They’re not performing. They’re sewing.

A handful of seamstresses and designers based in Montreal who design and costumes for the entertainment giant are stitching and sewing, measuring and adjusting costumes in the Stitch Factory, a co-working space for designers that is equipped with industrial machines, dress forms and working tables.

The costumes will adorn acrobats who will appear here and there throughout the night in a new club, Light at Mandalay Bay. Cirque typically rents space to make costume adjustments. It also rents heavy-duty machines from garment makers in Los Angeles. But Martin Bedard, costume specialist, said his crew heard about the relatively new Stitch Factory, made a call, and was now completing costume adjustments before the club’s opening.

“If we didn’t have this, we would have probably ended up doing this in a hotel room,” he said, laughing.

At Stitch Factory tables, workers sew buttons, baubles and beads onto boots, head pieces and form-fitting bodices. Performers periodically visit and don one of the costumes for Bedard and designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt. More alterations are made if needed.

Costumes are being made for eight women and three men who will perform different Cirque-style feats of acrobatic skill throughout the night.

The club’s preview is scheduled for April 24.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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