Thursday, March 5, 2009
Here are a couple of cute dresses that are being made on the other side of the room.
The cutters here usually specialise in either women's or men's costuming. Since there are many more men onstage generally, sometimes the ladies wear cutters get assigned period men's wear along with their usual type of workload. This is one of those years, so along with these and other dresses, Carol has a big chunk of men's costuming too.
All in all, it's nice to share the workspace with a team that does ladies wear, and we often share tips and tricks of sewing and cutting as well as moral support and the occasional baked treats.
I don't know how our job would translate in the US theatre or in the fashion biz, but here is a brief description for what it's worth.
The cutter receives a workload from the wardrobe office. This consists of the designer's sketches, and the budget sheets. The cutters then have meetings with the designer(s) about their assignments. The designers choose and purchase the fabrics and related items like trim and buttons, (we hope it is sooner rather than later).
We then get the measurement sheets and start drafting or draping to make patterns, interpreting the designs. We then either cut mock-ups/toiles or cut right into the fashion fabric, supervise a team of 6 sewers who construct the costumes, fit the actors, alter the patterns and cut or alter the costume, supervise the construction, and keep track of the budget sheets and time records.
Costumes will generally have two or three fittings that will include people from boots and shoes, millinery, wigs, bijoux, costume breakdown, and sometimes props.
We are a repertory theatre which means that as a department, we will work on many shows at once. At the beginning of the year that is usually eight shows, then they overlap with a few middle shows and then two to four later openers. Each cutter starts with three shows to work on at the same time.The wardrobe swells to about 80 people by March, and we inhabit 4 different work spaces.
It can get a little crazy!