Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

We've been having a bit of R&R&R around here over Christmas: rest, relaxation and recreation and as 2010 draws to a close, I'd like to wish you and your families
Happy New Year!

All the best for 2011.
Thanks for reading, and I'll be posting soon...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Extreme styles#2 Drape

These designs, available from Chicago Woolen Mills in their 1943 booklet should make you give your head a shake! There's a lot of online discussion about drape so this should add fuel to the fire.

Above you can see the basic drape model in full colour along with the description
NOTE: when ordering, observe that these DRAPE MODELS have extra wide shoulders, fullness across chests and in sleeve heads. They tailor best in the softer fabrics.
Not too extreme a look- broad shoulders, nipped in waist, strong and ready to take on the world kind of look.
Then we have these two pages of Extreme Drape Models for Young Men. Interestingly, they come with warnings that you may not order trousers wider than specified in the chart because of the War measures in effect, but wow, I guess the jackets were exempt- maybe they could lay them out with a narrower trouser and use the same amount of fabric as in a regular suit- I don't know.
Quite the silhouette though, don't you think?

I'm out of town for a week so I'll catch up with you later.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Wow, there's been a lot of snow in the area although we only received a measly 20cm or so. The picture of the parking meter was taken in London, and the city was basically shut down for the last two days.
The winner though, was Lucan Ontario, just northwest of us about an hours drive away with snowfall accumulation of ............wait for it..........177cm........... seriously.

As I mentioned yesterday, we missed the brunt of the storm.

When the sun came out this morning, I put all other tasks aside, put on my skis and took advantage of the balmy -13C temperature and went out for a little glide close to home. It makes winter more bearable when you can go out and enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Extreme styles

I have been collecting reference materials for a number of years now and as I was organizing things the other day I stopped to leaf through some of these catalogues and books.
I try to photograph or photocopy the more fragile examples so I don't have to worry about them becoming more damaged and I thought I'd share some of the things here with you.
We often think of extreme fashions as being something limited to our own present time because we don't often see examples of earlier times.
I wonder what people thought of these possibilities that were available to order in this 1914 Bannerman Tailoring of Chicago catalogue.
Obviously someone used the book as ascrapbook and interestingly they seemed to paste over most of the really interesting fashion plates and left the basic looks untouched- co-incidence? Who knows, but you can see some of this look developing earlier and I think the "novelty" drafts in The Blue Book of Men's Tailoring shows evidence of this direction in fashion.
Enjoy and I'll post more later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's all talk

No pictures for today and it has been a while since I last posted. So it's all talk.

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 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)