Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year end reflections and new beginnings.

Well, a new year has begun!
It came in quietly at our house, due to a terrible headcold that I probably picked up from visiting relatives at Christmas. Not naming any names, Kelly, Sheldon, Lily!

I haven't spent as much time blogging recently, as you can tell, and I did wonder if I really had much more to say, but I think the lack of blogging has to do more with the feast or famine nature of the business. If there is a lot going on, I have a lot to talk about, If not, I don't.

I worked almost 12 months continuously over 2011-12 which is unusual in my business. Don't get me wrong, I was very pleased, but almost too busy. The work itself is more often than not an adrenaline rush of accepting contracts and then getting the projects done in record time because of delays caused further upstream in the process. It seems to be the nature of the business, but can be very wearing after 25+ years of it.
This year seemed to have more in common with the famine nature of the business, which isn't good for the pocketbook, but has been productive in terms of reflection on going forward through what I think are the next stages of my career. Looking towards figuring out how to use my skills towards something that is less wearing in the frantic department if you know what I mean.

It's funny to try to assess yourself and your skills and where you want to go in the near future; maybe some of you do it on a regular basis- making 5 year plans and such, but that hasn't been something I am used to doing. It is time though, to make some changes, and to figure out what they are.
In between the few jobs I have done this fall, I have been busy getting my book project together. I am so close to finishing the main photography and moving on to the next stage, I can almost taste it. It has been an enjoyable if sometimes frustrating process and a steep learning curve, but I hope to be able to offer it up before year's end. When that happens, this blog will likely be moved to its own dedicated site where I can amalgamate all these things I am planning.

The other project that I have in the queue for consideration is a pattern making service. At first, I was thinking that it would be useful for the theatrical community exclusively, but I have had a few nudges towards offering either standard size men's patterns of period or modern design, or a custom pattern service for individuals of non-standard proportions. These ideas would take some time to develop fully and I am not sure of the marketability of them or where exactly to aim my focus, so that is why they are still in the queue of consideration.

But today is not for consideration of these things.
Today is for a toast to the New Year, a day to get out for a ski or a skate, to begin as I mean to carry on and ignore the cold- both the one in my head and the rather chilly temperatures today.

I wish you and yours a very Happy 2014!


  1. I think a pattern making service is a GREAT idea, Terri! I can't count the times I've hired out tailors/drapers in the theatre business to do a simple pattern "draft" for me because of time restraints OR because I trusted their eye a little bit better than mine for the particular draft. I think your eye and skill (esp. in menswear) would be INVALUABLE to everyone if it were on the market! Happy New Year!

    1. thanks for the positive feedback!
      just out of curiousity, what kind of pattern(s) did you commission and were there pros or cons to the process?

  2. I ordered a formal tailcoat circa 1895 pattern, a men's 1820's (day) tailcoat and breeches, and a men's late Georgian 3 pc suit. All came out extremely well in each case, as I knew the cutter/draper very well, and understood her exceptional talent in men's period drafting. I provided her with detailed measurements of the actor(s) and send them to her. Once I got the patterns, I did make muslins to fit the actor and there was the usual minor tweaking - i.e. narrowing the shoulders a bit to look more period, sleeve lengths, coat lengths, etc., but the CB lengths, arms eyes, and other vital areas were spot on! The MAJOR pro for me was having someone draft what I needed who UNDERSTOOD the art of what she was doing - seams in the right place for the particular era, correct grain lines, collars and lapels in the correct proportion for the period, etc. and you get a quality pattern and cut in the end product. Although I commissioned them because of the time crunch and previous deadlines I was under, I was more than happy to 'share the work' with a friend in the industry. The only con, that I can think of, is finding a company that can grade a master pattern up and down in a good size range once a good pattern has been produced. I don't assume the public knows how to pad stitch, shrink wool with an iron, or where to use red-edge linen versus hair canvas, however; a series/library of QUALITY cut men's period patterns has LONG been absent in the theatre/mass market.

    1. Thanks for the detailed reply. I wasn't aware at first that you were a fellow Theatrical cutter. It sounds like it worked out quite ideally for you then.
      I think the key is to have good measurements and photos. The positives of having a pattern with the correct proportions and seamlines etc is invaluable, and really not many people understand it.
      This does give me food for thought! Thanks.