Saturday, October 10, 2009

jacket pattern

I will start by giving you the information that I have to make a pattern for this client.
Firstly, he is of retirement age.
Height 4' 11",
neck 14 1/2"
chest 36 1/2"
waist 37 3/4"
hip 38 3/4"
XB 13 3/4"
nape to CF waist 22"
back length 15"
nape to wrist 30 1/2"

So, as you can see, he is not of average proportions, he has a belly by virtue of a health issue- nothing more- he has had serious shoulder surgeries.
He has a difficult time buying anything that fits. He had a suit "custom made" not long ago in Toronto, which sort of swamped him, and did not have enough correction for his belly.

To begin with, I drew a little sketch of what need to be changed from the "average" suit draft.
(I have to post photos because I can't hook up my scanner to this computer.)

One: most modern styled drafts will produce a wide back and shoulders. I measured his custom suit which had a cross back measurement of 17 1/2" yikes- no wonder he looked a bit swamped in it.

Two: his waist measurement- he has a belly that is bigger than his chest measure. The suit jacket he tried on billowed below the belly- I could pin up at least an inch of body length at the back of his hip pockets.

Length: I like to get a measurement from the nape of the neck to the CF waist on the person. I use it when drafting to ascertain the placement of the front neck point above the back neckline- this affects the balance of the coat.

People are three dimensional- whenever you encounter increased size around the body it corresponds with an increase in length. Period. You have to allow for it otherwise you will have a problem with the balance of the garment.

I am going to work through this and you may think that I am going about it in a strange way- but it is the way I am going to approach it. I like to understand why things are the way they are, so I confess that I tend to alter and adapt systems that tell you what to do but don't explain the reasons for doing it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

goodbye Douglas Campbell

This autumn has been too full of deaths of people of my friendship and acquaintance.
Today we say goodbye and farewell to an icon of Canadian theatre, Mr. Douglas Campbell. His image stares out at us at work from a variety of photos over the years, from arriving on the train with his wife and children to the cricket team's annual photo.
I first met Douglas in 1990 when I went out to Theatre New Brunswick to work on A Christmas Carol. Douglas was Scrooge, and what a Scrooge he was! What a voice and presence.
He was frightening in his gruffness and BAH humbugs then was utterly transformed as he was redeemed at the end, childlike, gleeful and mischievous.
I had many opportunities in the intervening years to work with him as he acted-and directed. Most notably to me, I worked on Oedipus Rex, a role he performed in 1954 (I believe) and then directed in 1997 with his son as the lead. Tanya Moiseiwitsch designed the original and at an advanced age returned to guide the design through the remount. I have some cherished Polaroids of Ben in costume as Oedipus with Douglas directing at the photo call, with Tanya in a wheelchair off to the side watching over it all.
That year,1997, he lived next door to us, my daughter was not yet a year old - she found him very amusing- and we got to know him a little more- a kind hearted soul who once even brought in our laundry while we were at work and rain was threatening.
A legend of Canadian theatre has gone and will be missed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Back at it

Well, It has been an eventful time since I finished work in August.

I finished packing up the main floor of my house for extensive
renovations so I could be warmer in the winter, get more light in year-round, and move the kitchen to the middle of the house to better use
the space I have.

I spent a week (not enough time) at a wonderful cottage on Manitoulin Island, walked the cup and saucer trail, (in the picture above) sat on the dock, did puzzles and read a lot.
Got back, and I've been immersed in home renovations and arranging some work for this fall. This work project has required that I step into the role of organizer for a group of cutters, so I've been arranging rental space and insurance and thread and all the little things that eat up your time but don't give you many tangible results at the end of the day.
Finally, we are ready to move onwards from the seemingly endless dust and noise of renovation and progressing from emails and designs to costume making.

In addition to the big project that I am working on, I am going to make a jacket pattern for a client I have worked with before. I don't usually take on many private clients, but this is a lovely gentleman who has trouble buying anything that fits. His shape has been affected by some health issues and I feel good being able to use my talents to help someone who is so genuinely appreciative to have something to wear that he feels good in.
I started the pattern today, so I'll show you where I get to as I work toward a mock-up and a fitting. Believe me, when you see the pattern, you'll know why I am doing a toile first.