Monday, August 24, 2009

beware the no-iron shirt

Beware the no-iron shirt.
Here are two shirts from the same maker, put in the same dye pot at the same time. The shirt on the left is plain cotton, the other is "no-iron" cotton.
The buyer didn't realize that she grabbed the no- iron shirt and the dyer didn't notice it before the dye process began.
The no-iron shirt has been sprayed with a chemical after it is made. You can see that the areas where the spray didn't hit that dyed darker, and you can see some of the over spray drips.
It's shocking that people are wearing this chemical next to their skin. It's all to save a few minutes pressing your shirt but it could be shortening your life. Is the chemical used indicated anywhere on the labels- no it isn't. Would you buy this shirt if you knew what had been done to it to make your life easier?
No wonder people are getting sick more and more.
I'm disgusted by it.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I find so many things when I clean up at work.
Here's an example of some skirt decorations that were made (and rejected) for a period dress that Libby was working on a few years ago.
I love that they are made with fabric and pipe cleaners- you know the fuzzy wired bendable kind.

I think they are lovely, so since I have a pair of panels, I think I will hang them on my wall for some colour next season.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

more detachable collars

Here is an example of the collar pattern made from one of the paper collars
in the last post. With it is a mock-up of a turn down collar and a stand collar.

The turn down collar might be called the "Marley" if I remember correctly.
All the collar styles had style names and they were embossed into the paper or stamped on the inside of the cotton starched collars.

This collar has a deep stand and fall. It also has an extended front on the left side, that tucks under the front portion of the right hand side of the collar when it is done up. The collars and shirt fronts lap left over right for men's wear.
I make the mock-ups out of a specific heavy interfacing, cut raw, with slits as the buttonholes for the collar studs to go through.
They would be tried on with a band collar shirt that has a buttonhole at the centre back of the neckband for the short stud to go through and two buttonholes at the centre front for the longer stud.
The stud goes through the shirt band holes first, then through the holes in the collar, so the front stud needs to be longer to pass through more layers of material. It usually has a pivoting head to help it go through the buttonhole, then you pivot it back to a flat position and voila. You now have a shirt with a collar.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

detachable paper collars

As I was packing things up the other day, I remembered that I had brought these paper collars out of the storage room for style options for one of the shows.

We have boxes and boxes of all styles of these detachable and disposable paper collars.
We also have boxes and boxes of vintage detachable starched cotton collars in sizes from 14 1/2 to 20.

Most of the styles that Arrow and other collar makers had to offer are in those boxes. I don't know who originally got them for the theatre, but they are valuable resource for us.

I remember when we used detachable collars more often then not (I mean in the theatre, I'm not quite that old!)
but with the labour costs as they are now, the wardrobe maintenance department can't afford to be boiling and starching collars. We will often, but not always end up making a new collar and sewing them right to the shirts instead.

So, I will retrieve some samples, make a pattern from the samples, grading up or down if I can't find the right size and make a mock-up for a fitting.

Friday, August 14, 2009

season's end

We've come to the end of our contract at work. It's the end of the season for the wardrobe department, except for management who will begin to organize for next season after they get a well deserved holiday.

The understudy costumes are finished, we had time today to tidy up our room tally up all the time records, make notes for next season, and toast one another's work.

Here you can see on my rack, all the patterns that I made this season. That's eight feet solid of patterns. I'll leave them there until next January when I will come back and sort through everything, throw away most of them and keep a few that I think are worth storing.

The last two weeks have been busy finishing up, as well as trying to arrange some more contract work in the fall.
Those things are still up in the air, but what I am sure about is that I need a little time off. Time to go to the lake, swim, read, relax, and hang out with family and friends.
Thanks for reading so far and I'll try to prep a few posts to happen when I am away.
Then I'll come back and try to wrap up a few things that I started here but didn't have the time to finish- like the tailcoat draft and maybe a bit of trouser making and who knows what.
I'll be back soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

jacket #6

Suit jacket number 6 while in progress.
This is a jacket made out of a very light weight birds eye weave wool.
I need to tweak the set of these sleeves with Denise, the tailor who is working on it.
I think many people would find it a bit light weight for a suit, I'd guess that the fabric was 6 to 8oz weight maximum. I tend to cut and make a softer looking suit than some other cutters, and I think I should sometimes endeavour to achieve a harder or crisper look.
Something to think about I guess.

This was one of the jackets that the director and designer decided we needed two of, so we made two of these. I should have tried the second one on the actor, but I didn't have time. When I saw it on stage being worn, I knew that I needed to have a look at it, since I think that Jenny set the sleeves a bit differently than Denise and we will need to reset them. It is interesting how two different people put together the same coat- they are the same but different somehow.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

hunting frock coat

A Hunting frock coat.

I think this is the second to last coat that was made for the show. I am very pleased with how it has turned out.
This was the third coat for the actor who had lost a lot of weight, so I was very glad that I had waited and remeasured him before I started the pattern for this one.
I had four of my sewers collaborate in making it up for a first (and only) baste up or skeleton fitting, and then luckily, Susy was available to come back in this past week and make it up to its finished state.
I am reminded again and again how lucky I am to have such talented sewers working with me. They make my cutting work look great.
I think that we (and management) take for granted the skills that we are all required to have. This tailor is the same woman who made the beautiful lace collar pictured here, and is able, as all my team is, to make anything that is assigned to us. From stretch bodysuits to leather breeches to tailored coats, trousers and vests to foam sculptures. Cheers to us!