Thursday, February 5, 2015

the work table week 4

Week 4! How does the time go by so quickly? As you can see, I have made quite a few patterns already- I have all the patterns done for the musical, and in fact this week I finished making all the patterns for the early Victorian show and also cut toiles for them.
One of our musicals starts rehearsal on Monday and that means the actors are in house and available for fittings! Yay!
I will have three tailors to keep gainfully employed next week, and four the next, so bring on the fittings.
Now I am onto my eighteenth century show and will try to get a lot of those patterns done before it gets too crazy around here.
One issue that I am struggling with is that some of the measurements are quite outdated, and/or seem off, or photos are missing or just bad. I think if an actor haven't been measured in four years, it is time for an update.
         Things I hate to hear: oh, you know Mr.X - he never changes size-

I am a stickler for taking accurate measurements. I cannot stress it enough. The measurement that seems to be most often off is the chest measurement- it is easy to let the tape sag or drop slightly and poof! an inch or more is gone. I experienced that today when the actor  I tried a mock-up waistcoat on had a 47 inch chest not a 45 3/4 inch chest. Good thing I didn't cut right into the expensive fabric.
The trick is to be careful and consistent and use a waist tape- we have 1" wide fitting belts made out of webbing with a hook and bars at one inch increments that we put on the actor's waist. This stays in place and gives a defined place to take measurements to and from. It also stays in place for the photos we take. Regarding the photos, it is not useful for the person to be wearing an oversize untucked shirt over baggy jeans for these photos.
     It makes me wonder what people are thinking the photos are for if you can't see anything!
I recommend giving the actor a white t shirt in a size smaller than they would normally wear, so you can see the outlines of their shape. White t shirt, dark fitting belt, photo in front of a contrast wall or door.
Ok that is the end of my mini rant, and I will be able to show you some works in progress next week.


  1. I feel your pain. I also find it incredibly frustrating getting measurement sheets on (new) actors from previous opera companies or theaters (American and European), only to discover that some of the most important measurements I need/use are left BLANK!! Either never taken, or just overlooked completely! I wish everyone would treat taking measurements as professionally and you and I. It's the blueprint of our craft. Makes me want to scream!

  2. Good idea that webbing belt with hooks and bar. I'll be employing that I think.

  3. I always carry a length of 1/4" elastic in my fitting kit. I tie it snugly at the client's waist and take all measurements from the elastic. I also use it when fitting muslins (or toiles) to get a marking of client's true waist. John Yingling