We finished up this morning with one last jacket fitting that was delayed and I have been going over the past month's teaching and learning process in my mind.
I think that we made real progress in drafting and fitting the trousers and waistcoats and it's true that Lela had some experience there already. Jackets presented different challenges.........in the drafting and fitting and styling.
All drafts on the page are the equivalent of all talk and no action. You can read things in books and follow written instructions until your head is about to explode with information but it means very little until you actually put it on the body and see if and how it works. (then your head really explodes!)
It is always a bit of an eye-opener for junior cutters. You can tell people that the draft is only a starting point but it takes doing a fitting for that to really sink in.
Our fit volunteers presented us with a variety of fitting challenges. We encountered sloping shoulders and very square shoulders. We dealt with built up athletic backs, figure irregularities caused by the person's occupation, we had a guy with a waist to hip difference of 8" and another with a chest to waist drop of 8"......They were tall and not so tall, stooping and erect postures, hip forward....... the list could go on and on and I think what is a real eye opener is that there was not a single average, totally proportionate model in our group and everyone needed something adjusted -most often there were combinations of adjustments to be made. It was a great learning experience because of these challenges.
On top of the basic fitings, we have to deal with the styling and I think it takes years of practice to "get" the nuances that define the silhouette and the style lines of different periods of menswear. We managed to cover quite a bit of the twentieth century, and I think Lela is off to a good start, but it all takes time to practice.
All in all, it was a very productive if mentally tiring month, and as I have said before, very instructive for me as well....
I'm heading off in a week to another theatre to work with another junior cutter, so I'll be talking even more in the weeks to come.
As for next season, I've seen some of the drawings and I know the shows I'm assigned to so I'll be doing some research into the 1840's and the medieval periods before I get back to my regular job in January.
I'm going to take the rest of the day off to clear my head and get ready for the next week- have a cup of tea and stare at the snow that is still coming down outside my window.
(the big storm has missed us for once and dumped 1 metre of snow just west and south of us)