Saturday, August 27, 2011


Over the past decade, I have been involved in teaching individuals and groups about tailoring and cutting (patternmaking).
I've been aware for some time that training is limited to non-existent in the theatrical field and to some degree in the fashion world of menswear.

There are sites such as the Cutter and Tailor where drafts and drafting instruction, and to some degree construction techniques have been posted online, but for the inexperienced, following the instructions can feel like learning a foreign language, interesting, but more often than not, frustrating.

Many people attempt to draft patterns because they want to make patterns for their own particular body, and that can produce more frustration because the patterns are for the proportionate person, and if you do not have that figure, you end up struggling even more to understand how to make it all work. Not to mention, many of the same people have never sewn in their life so they are trying to master two rather difficult subjects at the same time.

The construction methods available are often dated and limited. Tailoring is also something that is difficult to learn well or professionally, without someone by your side to demonstrate, to physically show you what to do: how to hold the fabric, use a thimble, make a welt pocket, etc...
Additionally, many people want to learn but are not interested in becoming professional tailors. Many people also cannot afford to go back to school full time even if there were course being offered. So we have a dilemma.

I am working on developing some of what I teach as a series of online courses, and I'd like to pick your brain about whether that would be something you would be interested in paying for.

Have you taken any online courses? What do you think worked or didn't in terms of that learning experience? Was there time alloted to chat with the instructor? Did the course use Skype or Facetime? Was the subject something that required a hands on approach like painting rather than a cerebral only approach like analysing the popular novel?

In the spirit of it all, I thought I'd walk through drafting a basic trouser pattern. This won't be set up as a course but just a testing of the water for me and maybe fun and informative for you.
What do you say?

I'll be absent here for a week or so for personal reasons, but I'll be back after Labour Day to hear what you think of this.

Enjoy the last week of official "summer", lets enjoy it while it is here. Good luck if you are heading to school or sending someone off to school, and if you are in the path of hurricane Irene, be safe!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

back from holiday

I am back in the land of internet access, had a lovely time away.

I confess though, that I am experiencing the sudden drop that you feel when you've been working flat out under pressure for many weeks only to suddenly be finished and hit the wall of inactivity.
On the one hand it is delicious, and on the other, I am driving my family crazy as I pace around feeling like I should be doing something more constructive.

So, I am networking and hoping to hear back regarding a project or two that I've been pursuing, catching up on some reading (on holiday I read The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet- fabulous!) getting one lovely teenager ready for band camp and another year of high school, and thinking about tailoring and the lack of available learning opportunities.
I'm also thinking about painting or printmaking again, so maybe I'll take some supplies to the studio in case inspiration hits me.
As you can see I need a focus.

This is what happens with excess brain energy while on holiday!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

18th century dress details

While I am away I thought you'd like to see some of the beautiful dress details on the ladies costumes for our last show.
Sorry, the colours are a bit off as I was taking photos in the hallway with flourescent lighting.

WE had a lot of trim and details on the menswear but again the womens costumes out trim us.

They are even more beautiful when you see them worn- the fit is so good and what more can I say, they evoke the period perfectly.

Monday, August 8, 2011

finished coats

Here's a final look at a few coats and waistcoats that we have finished.
You've seen the process for the grey coat all along, the green coat is the made of the wrong side of the same fabric as our footmen coats. The cream coat is a very thin silk that needed a fair bit of supporting structure inside it. I love the mauve lining.

I'll be back to regular posting soon.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Our work season is finished, everything is set and ready on stage for opening night and I am taking a well deserved vacation for the next week. I've prepared a couple of short posts to appear while I am gone. Swimming, books, wine, music, friends and family.