Thursday, 27 October 2011

Second trouser fitting

I organised a second trouser fitting which the Actor was more than happy to come to. This was very kind of him. From my work experience in west end theatre wardrobe departments, I have been made aware of some actors' occasional unwillingness to come to fittings. This was not a large official fitting unlike the first one, for it was more to check the fit of the trousers. So though I did mention it to the Designer so that she could pop in, I was able to just quickly organise it on my own.

Due to the alterations in the length of the crutch, the trousers now fit really well; the length of the crutch was good. I had marked but not tacked in the darts which proved to be useful as we pinned them in the exact place. They were slightly to one side and thus not really doing the right thing. It is important to place them in the small of the back, for this is where the body dips in, thus the trousers must follow. In the future, I will think about the proportion of the draft when considering the position of the darts; the Actor is young and has a slim and athletic body. Therefore his blocks are slimmer and slightly narrower than the blocks which would be drafted for an older man. This changes the positions of certain elements (pockets, darts etc).

We also moved the crease lines to be more central on the legs. There had been an inconsistency in marking the crease lines as when I put the pieces together and pinned on the pattern ready to mark tack the pieces, one piece of cloth had shifted slightly somewhere in the middle. So one leg's crease line was askew. I was able to easily rectify this as the checked fabric provided good guidelines. However it is something to be aware of in the future.

The Designer was really happy with the overall look and fit of the trousers, which was excellent and quite encouraging.

Overall I am really pleased with this fitting, and that the alterations were successful. I am relieved to now be able to progress further with the trousers, for I had been growing worried about falling too far behind my proposed work plan.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Altering the trousers

My first thought in applying the alterations to the trousers was to mimic what we did at the fitting, keeping the work the same at the top of the waistband and bringing up the legs. However, although this method had seemed passable at the fitting, in practice it was not really viable as at this point in the trouser block, there was not enough cloth to form the fork which fits round the inside leg. So the trousers would not fit or hang properly.

Mandy suggested just re-cutting the trousers, as the cloth was free (so it wouldn't affect the budget) and there was enough available. However I was loath to do this as it seemed like a waste, and additionally I felt that this would be a luxury, unavailable in a professional workroom. So in order to to rectify the problem of the excess length in the trousers I first located the area where there was too much cloth. The trousers fit well around the waist and below the seat, so really the problem was above the seat line.

In order to find out how much to take out of the patterns, I measured the front and back fork lines of the pattern draft in the tailoring system that I had used to construct my draft. I worked out that the ratio of the back fork to front fork was 5:4. This seemed a logical ratio, as more cloth is needed in the back fork to allow for the curve of the seat. I then worked out how much excess height there was in the old pattern by comparing the measurements used to the new measurements I had taken at the fitting. Finally I divided these up and applied them to the pattern above the seat line, making sure that the measurement was the same at the side seam (where the two pieces must meet). I then took a pleat in the pattern to take out this amount. This will move down the top part of the pattern. I smoothed out the jogs in the lines when I traced out the altered pattern. On the back pattern, there was a large gap between the lines at the fork. So I measured the amount of the gap and re-drew the fork line accordingly.

Even though making such a mistake was slightly disheartening, ultimately I truly feel that doing this exercise in altering the pattern has greatly aided my personal development as a maker and pattern cutter. Had I not done so, I might well make a similar mistake in the future when I am not surrounded by the tutors to advise and guide me in correcting the error. It has also been an apt demonstration of the importance of accurate measurements, for it has taught me to always take a tight girth measurement, and to beware of drop-crotch baggy jeans!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Jacket - Extra research on style areas

My first suit was kept quite simple as Graham wanted us to learn the basics of making a lounge suit. As he felt that we would be challenged enough by the construction, he omitted details that are normally present on men's suits such as back vents and sleeve vents on the jacket. However, for this suit Rose definitely wants both of these details.

As I have not made these before, I have been researching these features in the library, consulting various books on the different methods of construction which are possible. (See the hard-copy Research File which accompanies this blog.) I have also borrowed a suit from the Costume Store which was tailor made (most likely by a student) in order to examine it. It is made to the style of 1930s tailoring (evidenced by the type of striped cloth chosen; the large winged collar,  double-breasted centre front and shoulder padding on the jacket; and trouser creases and turn-ups on the trousers) but the processes are invariably the same.
Looking at, and indeed closely analysing, a physical suit has been most helpful: I have managed to come to a much better understanding of the construction by this close analysis. I took my own mental and written notes on the construction, but here are the photographs I took of the suit to remind myself:

Jacket - Back Vents

Vents sit discreetly within the Side Back seams:

 Vent Flap is fully lined, with facings which protrude into the jacket:

 The lining hem is sewn with a small lip - same as the rest of the jacket hem:

 Interior of the jacket - see how the lining sits:

Really neat finishing at the flaps - probably hand finished. A little edge of cloth is left at the side of the flaps - the lining doesn't come right to the edge:

Trousers - Waistband

The waistband has clearly been altered since the trousers were initially made, as they have been in the Costume Store. However originally the fishtail back would have formed a smooth line at the top of the waist line:

Discreet brace buttons on the interior (the elastic used for its last show has been  left in).  The waistband is lined in cotton silesia. Cloth is finished by zigzagging and theatrical seam allowances are used (just as Graham taught me):


I am enjoying this independent problem solving for it helps me to really understand how and why certain processes are done. This really helps me develop my knowledge of tailoring for the future.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Jacket - applying alterations & progress

The alterations on the jacket are ones which I consider fairly straight-forward, and to be expected. So altering them did not cause any problems.

There are many things to get on with in the jacket: pad stitching canvases, applying pockets, and preparing the front facings and linings. I have been trying to work methodically in order to be as efficient as possible, but is nice to be able to vary what I am working on as it means that I don't get bored with my work.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Breaking Down

During a tutorials, Rebecca has mentioned breaking down the suit. Breaking down has been mentioned previously (such as in our initial group meeting) however prior to this I had not really considered that I would need to do it for this suit.  Rose sees the Narrator as fairly well off, and of an upper-middle or upper class - though this may be indeterminate, he is certainly not poor or working class. The very fact that he wears a wool suit which has been tailor-made to his own person speaks volumes about the character's economic and class situation; he is quite unlike the Devil character in the Old Man form, for instance, whom Rose sees as wearing very broken down, dirty clothes. Because of the Narrator's own character and class therefore I do not see it necessary to greatly distress or dirty the suit. However, both Rose and I believe that the Narrator would not be wearing  a brand-new suit; he would have worn it a lot, over many years. I consider that this would foremost be down to the economic situation during the First World War, however perhaps it is also the Narrator's favourite suit. This is being achieved by my looking at suit styles from a little prior to WWI; however there should be a little more to this. Rather than looking broken down, I feel that the suit should look broken in. It should not look like a very shiny suit straight off the tailor's cutting table, but like it is has been worn in. I hope to achieve this by finishing the jacket prior to the show (as scheduled in my Work Plan) and allowing the Actor to wear the jacket in rehearsals.

Although the Narrator would theoretically be walking across the potentially muddy fields in the story, Rose is adamant that she does not want his shoes or trousers to be muddy. She does not want him to look scruffy or dishevelled in any way; but to look smart. I agree with Rose as I also feel that this would not befit his type of character, and I am therefore not considering breaking down the trousers in this way at all.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

First fitting

Trousers

Left: with alteration        Right: before fitting.
 
Left: before fitting.         Right: with alteration

 As soon as I held these up to the Actor's body it was really obvious that there had been a miscalculation somewhere in the draft. The crutch was far, far too long for his body and fabric needed to be taken out from here. I eventually concluded that this was due to inaccurate measuring: when I took his measurements he was wearing quite loose and baggy jeans and I didn't pull the tape measure tight enough, or start high enough up the inside leg, when measuring his girth and rise. This had not been a problem when I made the 1890s trousers for SDP as I worked with measurement that I had been given, and didn't have to measure the wearer myself. The tight(-er) crutch measure is so important in tailored trousers, especially with this period as the trousers were narrow and quite fitted to the body. All in all an annoying mistake but again, one which I will not repeat in the future.


Trousers Centre Back - crutch seam definitely too long!
 
Kat also pointed out that the trouser darts needed to be longer and taper down into the seat. This is definitely needed, in order to throw fullness into the right part. 

Of course it was quite worrying when the trousers looked so incorrect but I tried to remain calm and collected so as not to make the Actor feel uneasy at all. I have always considered bedside manner to be important when conducting fittings - especially when dealing with such sensitive areas as crutch seams!

Mandy and Kat advised keeping the fit of the trousers the same along the CB seam as although it appeared to look far too baggy, ease would be needed as the Actor moves; especially if he sits down. This was a really important consideration, and in future I will bear in mind movement instead of worrying if things look immediately too loose.

Right: before fitting
Left: alteration. Trousers narrowed and trouser hem set over shoe

The trousers were also narrowed, making them much more appropriate for the period. In this I admit that I could have been more "adventurous" at the pattern drafting stage and narrowed them more (as I basically stuck to the generic draft for trousers) so it is just another pointer to be more confident when drafting. Mandy and Kat stressed, though, not to narrow the trousers too much as it would look strange due to the size of the check. So proportion and balance according to the fabric as well as the individual figure, and styles of the period and design, must be considered!

The Actor had injured his feet before the fitting and found it difficult to stand up straight for lengths of time, but we did have to ask him to stand up properly as this affected the length of the trousers. Posture is definitely another thing to consider when working with actors in the future, in terms of how the clothes lie on the body, especially as regards restricting movement etc.


Jacket

 Left: with alteration        Right: before fitting. 


Left: before fitting        Right: with alteration

There were fewer major alterations on the jacket, which was a little reassuring.

The Actor immediately found the armhole restrictive and specified that it was at the front; he could not move his arms forward. So without haste I snipped into the seam allowance here, releasing the fabric and lowering the armhole. I'm quite grateful that he was so immediately vocal about this problem; it was really, really helpful in terms of how to get a good fit. Although this problem was also clear to me just by looking, it's definitely important that the wearer feels that it fits well themselves. And so in the future, I will bear in mind that not everyone will be happy to be so upfront and resolve issues like this as soon as possible before something damging to them happens, i.e. the armhole cutting off blood circulation to the arm and the wearer fainting.

I was then quite glad that I had decided not to bring a sleeve to the fitting, as it would definitely not have worked in the enlarged armhole.

The length was taken up and the jacket was made more snug at the centre front (CF). I discussed where to take this alteration (i.e. which seam to take it in from) and Mandy explained that the CF was the best due to the way it fitted around the rest of the body. The jacket actually fitted really well across the back; it was just that there was a bit too much excess at the front. Taking it in elsewhere would have distorted the proportions and made it lie differently. This was really good to consider as previously at fittings, tutors have been quite prescriptive about just where to take an alteration. This way made me really consider why I was taking it in this place. This will be really helpful in the future, when no one is there to help me!

The CF coming in meant that the break line of the lapel will change, as will the curve. So I am glad that I stuck to my decision to only cut one of the canvases.


Reflection

Working with Kat on trouser darts

Obviously I was a little dismayed by the amount of changes needed to the suit, especially on the trousers. However, I refuse to be completely disheartened by this. I have accepted it and can clearly see the errors that I made, and how they led to miscalculations and mistakes. It is becoming more and more obvious to me that tiny mistakes along the way lead to big errors if not resolved. Nonetheless, if I am honest, every time that I had to correct a seam or change a line at the fitting, on both the trousers and jacket, I learnt something more about how clothes work against the body. Ultimately the suit must be used for performance, and considering movement is so important. So in a way - assuming that the trousers will be salvageable - this has given me a real lesson in truly understanding the relation of the draft to the body. This will definitely help me when I am drafting future suits. Additionally my guiding principles include never making the same mistake twice, soI definitely intend all mistakes I make to inform and better future work. In the future, I will take all crutch measurements tightly, despite baggy jeans!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Preparing for the fitting

The first fitting has been arranged for Tuesday morning, which is on schedule according to my workplan. I have tacked the jacket together and top tacked the seam allowances down, as we were taught to by Graham. Matching the checks was challenging but ultimately rewarding. It soon became obvious that when I put the two pieces together to be mark tacked, some of the had moved around a little under the paper and so it was a case of matching the patterns on the fabric, rather than following the tacked markers religiously.

I decided not to cut any sleeves. At the previous fitting for the 1890s lounge jacket that I made for SDP, there were changes at the arm hole and this threw out the fit of the jacket sleeve. Additionally, the measurement of the armhole may change when I add in the layers of canvas and breast felt, so I decide to omit the sleeve for the first fitting and bring along calico sleeves at the second.

At the fitting for the 1890s suit, Graham had us baste in all three canvases. However I made the decision not to for this fitting. This was because I was unsure whether the line of the lapel might change, since it was to be the designer's decision. As the lines of the hair canvas and breast felt follow the lapel break line, I didn't want to run the risk of having to re-cut these two canvases in case of any change. So I have only basted in the shoulder canvas, which covers most of the centre front jacket piece.


Very annoyingly, when I put the jacket pieces together I noticed that the checks don't match up along the back. The side back piece's checks are slightly askew next to the checks of the centre back piece. (Look at the left side back seam in the photo; the vertical lines of the checks don't join.) This is clearly due to an error in calculation when I was cutting out the pieces. I have decided to leave the jacket as it is for the fitting, in case there are any changes at the side back seam, and afterwards I will re-cut the side back pieces so that the checks match up.

This is really irritaiting but I am trying not to let it become too much of a set-back. In a way I am quite glad to have made this mistake for it will mean that I will be extra cautious when counting and measuing checks to match up in the future. I am often glad to make mistakes the first time round as I try to make a concerted effort afterwards to memorise the correct method of doing something. This way I can really progress with improving the standard of my work!

Additionally, I must note that in this case I am lucky in having the time and cloth available to do this. This definitely would not always be the case. Measure twice, cut once! as the old maxim goes. I would ultimately have saved time had I managed not to make the error.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Cutting out & Pattern matching

Meticulously matching checks


As soon as the fabric choice was confirmed to me I began cutting out, in order to make the most of the studio time I had available.

This is the first time that I have worked with checked fabric in a large capacity and I was determined to match checks as accurately as possible.

I decided to cut all of the pattern pieces individually (i.e. not with the fabric on the fold) so that I could really be sure of the checks matching up. I then turned the cut piece over to cut out the other side, before returning the pieces to the paper pattern in order to be mark tacked.

Following tips taken on previous tailoring projects I set prominant lines in the cloth on the chest and seat lines. This is so that the rest of the checks would be automatically thrown into place, and hopefully mean that they matched up. I also did my best to put one whole check acros the centre front and centre back of the jacket and trousers. However I decided not to worry too much about making whole checks across other seams as this might change anyway, due to alterations at the fitting. When I am more experienced in pattern drafting there will (hopefully!) be a higher level of accuarcy in my initial patterns and I will be able to match up patterns across a whole suit.

Cutting took quite a long time and additionally was quite challenging as the cloth, being a fairly loose weave, was apt to move about quite easily, throwing out the alignment I had created.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

work plan, fabric & time management

Drawing up the work plan for SP was an extremely helpful process. As I now know the steps to go through in making the tailored suit, I was able to easily divide up the weeks available. I used a month calendar format to make envisioning time simpler, and a colour-coded system to make clear deadlines and other important events obvious. It was soon very clear that the first fitting would have to take place as soon as possible after pattern drafting. This meant that I would need the cloth fairly soon.

Grace and Rose went fabric sampling in London on Thursday 6th October and returned with a variety of samples. This was obviously very soon after the briefing itself but I explained to them that as no toile is made in tailoring, I required the top fabric as soon as possible. They were gracious about accommodating this. I had recommended them to just buy the wool for the suit if they saw one that Rose liked, giving them examples of a suitable weight of cloth. However despite finding a cloth suitable in design and within budget, they wanted to check with me first before buying. This is understandable since due to the period the play is set in the cloth required is a heavier weight wool (10-12oz) and not a lightweight, more modern suiting. So it is understandable that if they did not feel familiar enough with tailoring fabrics to be comfortable enough to just buy it. Unfortunately though, since they did not buy it, by the time that Aimee (the buyer for the AUCB productions) returned to Shepherd's Bush on Monday, the cloth had been bought by someone else.

This has meant a delay in getting the cloth to me, and thus a delay in cutting. Grace and Rose looked through fabric sample books in the archive and though we found beautiful cloths from tailoring houses they weren't in budget, or delivery would take too long. So they are hoping to look in further fabric shops in the area for more wools. If not, by chance there is a suitable cloth in the Costume Haberdashery which Rose would be happy to use if she definitely can't find anything else.

Though this has meant that I've been delayed in cutting the fabric, I have been making full use of the "spare" time. Obviously the work plan I drew up has to be flexible; it is the nature of working on a live project that things change and some times may take longer than planned, simply due to unforseen circumstances. Hopefully I will get the cloth by tomorrow (13th October) and can work towards a fitting on the following Tuesday morning (18th October).

Meanwhile I have been going through my tailoring notes from SDP and doing everything I can before I get the cloths, such as preparing canvases.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Pattern drafting

The lounge suit I made for SDP last term was very similar in cut to this one; just a few changes in the style areas. Pattern drafting has traditionally been my weakness as I have often been very underconfident in this respect. To draft this suit I used standard tailor's systems which had been recommended by Graham. As I had done this once before I found the process much easier to understand. (The systems are often difficult to decipher as they are written with an assumption of knowlege and great experience; additionally it is troublesome constantly converting inches to centimetres. Purchasing an imperial tailor's square would be very helpful in the future as it would definitely speed up the process). Nonetheless pattern drafting still took a good amount of time.

I tried to work as independantly as possible, doing my best to make judgements according to common sense and notes I had previously taken. I followed the historical research and Rose's design quite closely, in order to work out the placement of pockets, shape of lapel, etc. There were also the back vents to consider, which meant an extra side back seam. Luckily there were good illustrations of jacket backs in Men's fashion illustrations from the turn of the century (Mitchell Co, 1990) which was after all a fashion catalogue.

I was quite worried about the suit being too short for the actor as he is so tall (6ft 4in) so I added extra length. I also used theatrical seam allowances instead of following the traditional tailoring practice of 1" Inlays and 1/4" Making Up Allowances. This was partly in order to allow for future alterations, but also because as there will be no toile, and this is only my second suit, I wanted to give myself breathing space for changes.

After I completed the jacket and trousers drafts I carefully compared them to the Actor's measurements, changing things which seemed too tight or loose. I then showed Kat. She didn't see any obvious changes to be made in the trouser draft. However she immediately changed the side seam line on the jacket to be less of a curve. She pointed out that this style of jacket should not be so fitted as the look was to be fairly square and masculine; the waist wasn't emphasised. This really made sense and as I compared this to the contemporary fashion illustrations (Mitchell Co, 1990) the barrel-chested figures immediately related to the draft I'd created on paper.

Kat's ability to immediately visualise the draft in terms of how they relate to a figure was really inspiring and is definitely something that I aim towards achieving myself, as I grow in confidence, experience and ability in pattern drafting.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Measuring actor

The Supervisor arranged for me to measure the Actor very quickly. I wanted to take his measurements as soon as possible so that I could begin drafting the patterns.

I used the Male Measurement Sheet provided by AUCB Costume as it is a comprehensive document and noted specificities regarding his body. I did my best to act professionally by keeping a friendly and polite bedside manner. It was very important to stay observant; for instance,  at 6ft4in the Actor is much taller than me and it was important to politely ask him to stand straight as this affected the measures that I took.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Research

N.B. The annotated photocopies I made whilst researching period style lines, tailoring methods, and techniques are included in the hard-copy research file that accompanies this blog. Please note that I have not included copies of the construction notes I made during SDP as these are far too numerous and I don't feel that they are necessarily relevant to the project. Instead, I am collating and word-processing these into a professional-looking format which I will later bind, in order to have a really good point of reference for any more lounge suits I make in the future, as well as be able to take to interviews. 

Looking at the design it was really clear that, aside from a few changes in the style lines, this suit is really similar to the 1890s lounge suit I made for SDP. It will definitely be a traditionally tailored suit due to the style of the production as well as the character of the Narrator: I will not have to adapt the traditional tailoring methods to accommodate for excess movement (as I might be required to do so for dance or physical theatre) beyond making sure that I make the suit strongly and neatly so that it will last for many performances beyond A Soldier's Tale once it is in the AUCB Costume Store.

I am therefore able to utilise much of the same research which informed my work in SDP, such as referring to similar reference books (the Victorian/Edwardian tailor's catalogues, but of the 1910s instead of the 1890s - see Mitchell Co, 1990); tailoring pattern-cutting and method books (such as Cabrera, 1983, and Whife, 1945); and indeed the notes I made during SDP when Graham taught us how to make the suit.

At times it has been difficult to find images of what were considered "intimate" areas - such as the trouser waist band (which was always covered up by the waist coat). However I have used logic as well as a few references I could find - notably a line drawing of a pair of trousers revealing a fish tail back but which had trouser-creases and turn-ups that suggested that it was a style of the 1930s. This would suggest that trousers of the 1910s would have the same fish-tail back as of the 1930s (and indeed as the 1890s style trousers, like I made for SDP) with brace buttons on the interior.

I have had to be quite careful with what sources I have used as not all of them are necessarily reliable. For instance, the tailoring catalogues (Mitchell Co, 1990) contain advertising images which would represent the ideal Edwardian figure. As a result, upon closer analysis, the figures in the catalogue are anatomically disproportionate. Their torsos are huge, incredibly long and broad-chested. Their heads and feet are far too small, and their legs are quite short and narrow. When I, for instance, analysed the placement and size of the collars on many of these suits, they were in fact much smaller than first appeared. I decided to look at photographs of the era (see Rolley, 1992) alongside the fashion illustrations, which revealed much clearer proportions within the suit as well as with the figures. I took all my research to the Designer in order to have her decide upon what exactly she would like on the suit, such as back vents and cuff buttons. She also decided, upon looking at my research, that she wanted an extra pocket on the jacket, which was present on a lot of the fashion illustrations (see Mitchell Co, 1990).

Although I am not making the waistcoat, I have shared my reference sources with Emily M. (the Maker who is making the waistcoat instead of me, since the suit jacket will consume so much time as to make it unfeasible to make all three parts of the Narrator's costume) so that we will be visually working from the same points of reference and the costume will come together naturally.

Considering the design


I spoke to Rose about her vision for the narrator's character; she saw him being an older character, in his 50s perhaps; a kindly figure, and in contrast to the naivety of the young soldier he is wise and empathetic. The play is set during the 1st World War (1914-1918) and the Director has re-set it in England. So the play consists of the soldier's journey home whilst on leave, with the action taking place as he walks through the country side.

The suit should be made to traditional bespoke tailoring techniques as I learnt with Graham - without a doubt. The feel of the design definitely suggests country tweeds and heavier woolen cloths. As the narrator is older I am going to research suits from around 1910 - slightly earlier to when the play was set, as we both felt that his character would be unlikely to have just bought a fashionable new suit at that point in the story.

In terms of the context of the costume, the play only has four actors. The Narrator wears the suit throughout the story, therefore it is integral that it informs his character. So the suit will have to fit him perfectly and look as though it is of a high quality, since it would probably have been tailored for him in the play's recent past. Additionally, the venue presents an intimate space so the suit will have to be able to bear the scrutiny of the audience. Tailoring's challenge is in making everything crisp and perfect, as unlike with other styles of costume there is nowhere to hide any imperfections. So it will have to be of a high standard and a professional quality.

The suit will have to have lots of pockets as the Director wants him to pull out a variety of props as the play progresses. These will have to be strong and relatively roomy.

As the play is set to music; it was originally a musical piece, composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1918. Having listened to an audio recording of the score, it has become clear to me that the Narrator will have a lot to say; the music is also very lively. It is likely that the Actor will move around a lot within his role as the Narrator. Therefore certain parts of the costume will have to be very strong in order to hold up to this. Taking action such as double-stitching the crutch seam on the trousers and making sure that the sleeves are set in strongly should accommodate the movement.


A Soldier's Tale. Briefing & Meeting the team

It was very exciting to meet with the production team; we are a small team and I feel that I will enjoy the process of working together to put on the show. Although I had initially hoped for the Devil finale costume to work on, in order to develop my textile work, I am really just as happy with the Narrator's suit. Making this suit will give me the opportunity to consolidate and strengthen the tailoring skills I learnt during SDP last term, as well as extend them with the notable challenge of making a suit in checked fabric, as well as including the extra style areas (pockets, cuff buttons, back vents on the jacket) that the Designer wants.

The Designer seems very certain of how she wants the costume to look, and of course the most important thing is that it meets her vision. I am therefore going to work very closely with her, and consult her at all stages where decisions concerning style areas are needed. She however is happy to defer to specific tailoring requirements which I may need to point out, such as the cloth (weight and fibre content) and button sizes, etc.

It has been decided (by the tutors) that Emily M. will be making the Narrator's waistcoat as the jacket is so much work. At first I was slightly disappointed in this as I wanted to be able to make the whole costume; however upon reflection I have come to agree with the decision, as the jacket will be so much work. Additionally, I must remember that I did not complete the jacket for SDP for hand-in, and of course since A Soldier's Tale is a live project, there is no question that it will have to be finished! I will therefore have to work closely with Emily on the waistcoat, so that it is completely in harmony with the rest of the suit; for instance, that the checks match up from the waistcoat down the trousers.

I will also need to work closely with the Supervisor who is managing the budget and organising the fittings.

As we are such a small team, all four of us Makers have decided to sit on a large table in a particular corner of the studio so that we can communicate on a daily basis regarding the costumes. In this way we should be able to support each other when needed; it should also be easier for the Designer and Supervisor to find us should they need to see something in particular. We have decided to put together a contact sheet with all phone numbers and e-mail addresses so that again, we can communicate.

At this stage I am excited and nervous about working on the production, however I am happy in that I feel that I will be working within a supportive environment, and amongst a supportive team.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Learning Agreement


In this unit I will make a two-piece tailored suit for the character of the Narrator in the AUCB production of ‘A Soldier’s Tale’. As my career goal is to work in small scale theatre productions, the experience of working in a small and closely-knit team will greatly aid my personal development. I will make sure to communicate regularly with the Supervisor and Designer, in order to accurately create the designer’s vision for the play. I intend to work closely with all team members, including lending support to other makers when appropriate, in order to create a consistency across the production.

I intend to build upon the skills and knowledge that I gained in making the 1890s lounge suit for SDP so as to produce a costume with an increased professional finish. I intend to work as independently as possible in constructing the suit, in order to test and improve my ability, for I now know many of the processes needed in order to construct the suit. Thus the challenge is to work consistently to a high standard in order to better my previous suit. I will use the knowledge gained in pattern cutting to support my development in this area, which has often been a weakness. With regards to time management, I will draw up a workplan breaking down the stages of the suit to guide my work, so that I am able to meet the deadline.

Additionally, further challenges are presented in the addition of extra style areas and the complex checked fabric. As the audience will be quite close to the actors, costumes will have to be of a high standard in order to bear scrutiny, in terms of both fit and finish. I intend to create a high-quality and durable suit, which will be able to be used for many productions after this, as part of the AUCB Costume Store. This will further aid my personal development as a maker, as it reflects the nature of theatre productions in a professional environment.