SWCG LogoThe Southwest Costumers Guild

is a loose and informal educational society of persons interested in all facets of historical, cultural, science fiction, fantasy, and humor costume. Members are often seen on stage and behind the scenes at Science Fiction Convention masquerades, historical reenactment events, and theatre. SWCG is central Arizona's chapter of the International Costume Guild.

Upcoming Events
SWCG Activities
Meet the Guildsters - Mail Links and links to Member Web Pages
Links - Web Sites of Interest to the Costumer

Hints and other "How To" Articles

Join the Southwest Costumers Guild - Printable membership form

Recruiting and PR Materials:

"Victorian Ball" Foldover Flyer
"Science Fiction Convention" Foldover Flyer
"Renaissance Faire" Foldover Flyer
Quarter-Page Flyer
Color Bookmark (Newly Updated)

SWCG Bylaws

Southwest Costumers Guild has a "Yahoo Groups" e-mail discussion forum. Contact the webmaster for information on how to join.

            Needles Logo

SWCG members in good standing  receive Cactus Needles, our monthly newsletter, by mail or e-mail.
Regular contributors and newsletter editors from ICG chapters and allied organizations also receive Cactus Needles.
Not getting your newsletter? Contact the Editor to make sure he has your current address.

A few weeks after its initial publication, we post Cactus Needles to this web site for all to enjoy.

Current Issue - September 2015

Back Issues
(All the way back to the Cactus Needles premiere in 1994)

Creative Commons License

Cactus Needles
is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please print the newsletter and give it to your friends, but print the entire newsletter and don't make any changes or charge any money. Go to www.creativecommons.org to view the license. Individual articles and pictures belong to their authors. If you'd like to reprint an individual article or picture, please contact the Editor for appropriate permission.

Upcoming Activities

Usually, the Southwest Costumers Guild meets on the last Sunday of each month at a different member's home in the greater Phoenix area. This rule of thumb is often changed to avoid schedule conflict with other events. Guild business is followed by a demonstration or workshop by a guild member or an invited guest. Sometimes we cooperate on a costume project. Sometimes we just socialize. Special SWCG gatherings are sometimes held at science fiction conventions, street fairs, and other public events. E-mail the Webmaster for directions to meetings and events.

Here are some upcoming guild meetings and costume-related public events. E-mail the Webmaster if you know an event that should be on the calendar. A more detailed calendar is included in Cactus Needles.

* Red Text indicates an SWCG activity. Unless otherwise noted, SWCG Meetings begin at 1:00 PM.

September 19, 2015 11AM – From Concept to Pattern at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, Meeting Room A. Where to start when designing a costume – creating your design or copying a design from a favorite character – the ever present budget, weather, and how do I carry my stuff considerations – finding the design lines – how to find a commercial pattern that has the design lines you need – figuring out what size pattern to buy – what fabric to use – and maybe touching on how to read a pattern.  This is a starting point for how to plan your costume – with emphasis on finding understanding design lines and how to find them.  If you already have a costume design or character picture that you want to work from, please bring them and I will show how to find the design lines and suggest patterns. (Taught by our own Frances Burns.)


September 27, 2015 – Library Organization* – Meet at Jean’s place (7742 N. 32nd Drive, Phoenix) to continue cataloging the SWCG book collection. Bring a laptop if you have one. This is contingent upon how Jean is feeling as she recovers from a recent auto accident.

October 10, 2015 11AM – Capes by Chalk and Line at the at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, Meeting Room A. Many historical and fantasy capes are constructed as circles or portions of circles. Cactus Needles Editor Randall Whitlock will demonstrate a simple way to cut a cape using chalk and string that will get you the broadest possible cape from a given piece of fabric, gently fitted at the neck and shoulders.


October 10, 2015, Noon-4 PM – LibraryCon 2015 at the Southeast Regional Library, 775 North Greenfield Road in Gilbert, AZ. Come to the Southeast Regional Library for LibraryCon 2015! Join us to celebrate all of the stuff that you love including: comics, graphic novels, anime/manga, cosplay, cartoons, artists, horror movies, Sci-Fi/Fantasy books & movies, and games of all types. Costumes encouraged! Show off your amazing style in the costume contest. Learn something new in one of our panel sessions. There will also be photo booths, crafts, tabletop and video games, prizes, and giveaways! https://www.facebook.com/librarycon

October 16-18, 2015 – Helldorado Days in Tombstone, Arizona. http://www.tombstonehelldoradodays.com/

October 25, 2015 – Quilting* at Tasha’s place. Frances has found a charitable organization which provides quilts to children in the foster care system. Let’s build something for the cause.

October 30 – November 1, 2015 – TusCon 42 SF convention at the Hotel Tucson City Center in Tucson. This year’s con features guests Seanan McGuire and Bridget E. Wilde. http://tusconscificon.com/

November 4, 2015-January 18, 2016 – The White Shirt According to Me, Gianfranco Ferré Exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum. Known as the “architect of fashion” and the purveyor of “power dressing,” Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré never ceased to view the white shirt as the archetypal expression of his approach to design and style. The exhibition includes a selection of 27 of Ferré’s most significant white shirts created over the course of his career (1982-2006). Sketches, technical designs, photographs and videos from the archives of the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation will offer visitors the chance to go beyond the confines of fashion and examine the methods, techniques and precision Ferré applied to each of his designs. http://www.phxart.org/exhibition/ferrewhiteshirt

November 6-8, 2015 – Tucson Celtic Festival at Rillito Park. http://tucsoncelticfestival.org/

November 7, 2015 11AM – No Sew Costuming at the Tempe Public Library, 3500 South Rural Road, Meeting Room A. (Taught by our own Tasha Cady.)


November 22, 2015 – Further Quilting* at Tasha’s place. Continue the project begun in October.

December 20, 2015 – Holiday Potluck* at Mahala’s place. Annual elections, of course.

January 31, 2016 – Wrap Up* at Tasha’s place. Let’s finish up some of the various garment construction projects began in 2015.

February 28, 2016 – Mardis Gras* social at Tasha’s place. A bit early, but do it in costume please.

May 6-9, 2016 – Costume-con 34: The Wonder of Nature at the Marriott West in Madison, Wisconsin http://www.costumecon34.com/

April, 2017 – Costume-Con 35 at the Hilton Mississaugua/Meadowvale, 6750 Mississauga Road, Mississauga (near Toronto), Ontario, Canada https://www.facebook.com/costumecon35

July 1-4, 2017 – WesterCon 70 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. http://www.westercon.org/

April, 2018 – Costume-Con 36 in San Diego, California 

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Here is some of our events information in the form of a Google calendar created by Margie:

Guild Activities

SWCG hosted Costume-Con 30 on May 11-14, 2012 at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. Check out professional photographer
Richard Man's images from the event at http://www.rfman.com/SF-and-Fantasy-Conventions/Costume-Con-30 .

SWCG at Steampunk: An Exquisite Adventure
At Steampunk: An Exquisite Adventure in November, 2013.

Jean & Randall
        at Steampunk Street II
Randall & Jean at Steampunk Street II in downtown Mesa, April, 2011.

We had a fine turnout for our Barbecue Mixer in April, 2009, with folks from SWCG, Sunacosu,
Arizona Ghostbusters and The Rebel Legion. Photo by Mike Contos.

At the Arizona Renaissance Festival, February 2008.

Walking about the Glendale Glitters street fair in December, 2007.

A Duct Tape Mannequin is a useful tool for patterning custom-fitted garments.

Mucking about in Victorian attire at CopperCon 25. A little image magic by Mike Cassidy shifts us to a more appropriate setting - a table setting.

Meet the Guildsters - Mail Links and Web Pages

Click on the highlighted text to send an e-mail message or visit a personal web page.

President Jean Palmer
(president@southwestcostumersguild.org) .

Vice President Mahala Sweebe

Treasurer Tasha Cady

Secretary Randall Whitlock

Archivist Jean Palmer

Webmaster and Newsletter Editor Randall Whitlock runs MoiRandall's featuring his "Randwulf's" line of sewing patterns.

Member Anna Caggiano shows how she built her Galadriel gown at www.fivemilecreek.net/anna/anna.htm.

Check out member Nola Yergen's theatrical and film costumes at http://designbynola.com/  or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Design-By-Nola/128444573852616

Last updated August 19, 2015 by Randall Whitlock.

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