Saturday, February 13, 2016

Radio silence has ended! plus cool stuff

Hello one and all,

I realized today that I have not had much to say on the blog recently.
I am trying to figure out why that is.

I do have a lot of thoughts, but the topics are either so complicated that I give up trying to write about them or so fleeting in nature that they don't prod me to write.

For the moment though, you may may be interested in the fact that as a tailor- cutter in a theatre, I am called on to make all sorts of garments, and this year I do have some suits, yes, but I have a bit more of things like this.

yes, unitards or variations on the theme!

I often joke with people as I am taking their measurements, that I need to take some certain specific ones, in case we have to make them a unitard! Sometimes that happens.
We actually don't take the detailed type of measurements that a place like cirque will take for their costumes, so when unitards or other stretch wear arises, it can be a bit of hit or miss.
These types of garments and the patterns required for them depend greatly on the fabric chosen.

Can I put a public service announcement here for all designers? Please, please, buy good all way stretch. Spend the money for it. Fabric that stretches in both directions makes for easier pattern making and for wearing. 

In this case, I have basically a one way stretch fabric. I had to cut it with the stretch around the body and the non-stretch vertically. The upper body will not be seen, so I have worked around the lack of stretch in the crushed velvet legs by adding a very stretchy fabric above the waist. In this manner I hope to have given the actor some comfort in being able to sit down easily at least.

This was a first fit, all zigged together with somewhat incorrect (old) measurements, so I have some work to do, tweaking the pattern.

Oh, what is that thing he is attached to you ask?

It is a wire frame body of an animal. You will have to wait for a bit for more details, but it also is a first trial fit on the actor. Our prop maker Kenny (a mastermind of an artist, sculptor and maker of cool things)  has built these frames for the show we are working on. The bands around the actor's thighs are attached to wires that connect to the back legs of the sculpture, so when the actor walks, the animal legs walk as well. Very cool.

Strange co-incidence, Kenny and I trained in the same fine arts program but he graduated just before I started. We have been working together for 25+ years and only found this out last month! We had the same instructors and had a moment reminiscing about that time. Isn't it funny how these things happen?

I think this season will feature structure quite prominently as I look around the wardrobe these days, so I will endeavour to get some postings up about that and rekindle my blogging spirit.


here's a little video link to a bit more of Kenny's work....please watch it, it gives me goosebumps.


  1. I'm really looking forward to seeing this show!

  2. Fascinating. At first I thought the wire gadget whisked away the costume, but it did seem too elaborate for that purpose.

  3. I'm glad someone is looking out for the comfort of the person wearing a unitard ! The point you make about preference for a multiple stretch fabric is spot on, I'm sure you could make it work either way but why make it harder than it needs to be .

  4. Four way stretch Lycra for unitards, absolutely! Even with stretch Lycra, inserting a center back zipper results in no stretch at center back. To compensate, I add two inches to the back bodice (assuming a waist seam); it looks weird when completed (a big lump of fabric rippling upward when no worn), but stretches out smoothly and gives the wearer some bending over ease.

    1. Agreed. you have to calculate the amount of stretch overall and put the zip in taking that into account. There isn't much else you can do when the neckline doesn't stretch enough to just pull on. I am thinking of high closed necklines.