By Leonardo Plass
Elizabeth Cline lives in the tin building on Capp St. designed by David Ireland in 1979. She and her husband run a performance space, The Lost Church, in the home. She is also a tailor, a photo stylist's assist, a jewelry maker, and is in the band Juanita and the Rabbit. I pulled up to the tin house tucked discreetly among the regular homes. A blue van with a surfboard rack, a ladder scaling one side and monster truck wheels was parked out front and I was told this is the band's touring van. Upon entering the home all my preconceived notions of performance spaces in homes were erased. This was not some punk rock warehouse littered with beer cans and a precarious loft overhead. There was a small stage in the corner lined with white lights installed along the bottom edge with a beautiful red velvet curtain, lovely art adorned the walls, chairs were lined up nicely, the actual living space is hidden behind closed doors -- this is the real deal, people. Upstairs was a curvy hallway/balcony -- from one side, you could look out over the stage, and the other opened to a small patio.
What's the skinny on The Lost Church?
"The Lost Church is a performance parlor for the immersive arts. We have theater, music, film, everything combined into one for a whole enjoyable night. We've officially only had a few shows. We had our first fundraiser on Valentine's Day, we had films, music videos, and bands playing, it was a great night. For Fridays in April we have Thomas John of Lady on the Wall which is a puppet play, it's literally puppet noir with eggs. And on Saturday nights it's called The Listening Room and it's music showcase night for singer-songwriters, folk, acoustic-punk music nights.
How did you become a tailor?
"My mom taught me how to sew when I was a kid, I did not go to fashion school, I went to college and took all the art classes I could take. I always made clothes but then I moved to San Francisco and worked at a bridal shop. We did couture bridal dresses so I learned to sew better, really perfected my skills. So then I started my own clothing and jewelry line for about 5 years. And then quit that and started doing on-set tailoring for photo shoots. I do this under the guise of Elizabeth Tailor. It kind of all happened by accident."
What does on set tailoring entail?
"Basically we have fittings with all the models and most of the time they're too small. So were trying to get the best line, instead of pinning everything we actually sew it so it fits really good and if they move around you don't see anything. Recently it's been for Old Navy maternity and kids. I've done it for Nike and Levis, big corporate brands. I really like it, I think it's fun.
Why did you stop doing your clothing line?
"It just doesn't make any money, it was really hard and Oh!, I stopped because Brett, my husband and I started a band and started touring the country. Our band is called Juanita and the Rabbit and we describe it as punky-love-rock."
Elizabeth still makes and sells this southwestern-y, beads and rocks, crystal-y jewelry. I told her she should start doing men's jewelry too, why do woman get all the crystals? I bet my chakras need some kind of help too.
What kinds of tailoring projects besides on set work do you do?
"I just did a project for a woman who had a double mastectomy who does these amazing paintings. She was like 'I need some dresses', she was going to a convention in New York to sell her work. So we custom made four dresses for her so she could look professional and comfortable. And I'll still do some not fun stuff, like hem jeans."
I heard whisper that you've been making dresses out of napkins, what's up with that?
"So I shouldn't say this, it's so unprofessional, but, I started making them while I was at on set tailoring jobs because i went to a job and the catering had these amazing napkins! I was like, god that's cool, it looks like fabric. So the day wasn't busy, I had nothing to do so I drew out a little pattern and sewed it all together.
You literally sew the napkins?
"Yeah, like I cut and sew them into little patterns. So my first one was this little gown that laces up the back, has a little ruffle and then a petticoat. So it was like depending on the napkin, that decided what the style was."
Here's the amazingly intricate cocktail napkin mini dress creations.