Sunday, February 26, 2017

fitting and pattern alterations

One of the more challenging aspects of my job is drafting patterns to fit a variety of body shapes and fitting them to the individual.

Over the years you realize that almost no one is symmetrical, but some people are less symmetrical than others, sometimes from their occupation, sometimes from bad posture or habits (like carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder for years) some from injuries or occasionally a medical condition.

This week I fit a mock up suit on an actor/dancer who has scoliosis.

I had not measured him myself nor had I fit him before, so I drafted up a jacket and trousers to his basic measurements making no special pre-adjustments, figuring I would do that in the fitting.
Here is a photo of the my fitting adjustments.

I pinned out across his back as the left side is quite dropped, and on his right, I just cut the toile open over his blade.
(a good reason to make a muslin because you can cut it open rather than guess how much to add, and you can draw on it! )

Here is a look at it on a stand.

So, what to do?
First, I let it sit for a while, getting on with some other things which gave me a bit of time to think about it all. Then I made copies of the original pattern so I had individual pieces for his right and his left sides. Two back two side panels and two fronts.

I altered the left side of the pattern for a severely dropped shoulder/side. This entailed cutting from the mid back and mid front, angling down to the side back and front panel seam and closing out a good 1.5 cm there. the side panel piece was similarly reduced. (I will refit and see if this was enough of a modification.)

On the right side, I cut open the pattern down over the blade to the waist line. I cut horizontally at the waist line allowing the panel to spread apart the amount that I determined it needed in the fitting.
This opens up the back shoulder of course, and creates a large dart.

Now, this is going to be a striped suit. 
I laid the back patterns out on the fabric and had a look at what my options were.
The lower portion of backs need to be parallel, and could be, no problem. The CB at the neck needs to end up mid stripe or give that impression as well. I knew I might have to modify the dart placement to be as discreet as possible. 
I was not sure how this would look, but I chalked it out and pinned it up and I think it looks pretty good. At the neck, the left back ends up on a red stripe and the right back ends up with a full blue stripe! Win, win situation there! I did modify the dart placement slightly and I hope it becomes less noticeable once it is sewn
I am hoping that this does the trick, but I expect to have to tweak things a little bit more with some light padding here and there so I have my fingers crossed and onwards we go. The fronts need a bit of modification as well, but minor compared to the back so we will put the shell of this together and see what else needs to be done.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Catching up!

I feel as though I blinked and suddenly we have gone from December to mid February in a flash!

I hate to keep saying the same thing but it has been really busy in my world.
I took on a project that was late in starting, but I felt that we could pull it off.
I had people in place, the fabrics arrived just before the Christmas holiday started, I made some patterns then I came down with the flu.
I put everyone off for a few days, while I lay in bed feverish. Once my fever broke, I dragged myself to the studio to cut so we could be prepared for fittings the next week. What a hellish thing the flu is.

Well now that project is over, I have been back at my main job for a month now- and I waved goodbye to that project on Saturday.

One more project to be delivered - a ballet costume-  and I will be down to a single job and I can't tell you how good that feels.

Here is my Ballet coat.
I sent it in with a colleague for a fitting as I was otherwise unavailable on that day. Little did I know that the dancer I cut it for was injured and another dancer showed up to be fit. Luckily, they were quite similar in size!
There were a few changes that the designer (Colin Richmond)made, as you can see- shortening the hem, lengthening the sleeves, and he took it in quite a bit through the body- I had cut it with a lot more ease and had the skirts flared from a higher position on the body. The roll line was moved up and the collar reduced in proportions.
He added fur cuffs and a back belt.
Generally though, not too bad for a first fit in fabric.

Now it is boxed up ready to be delivered! I hope I get to go in and see the dress rehearsal, the show looks amazing from the sketches I have seen and the promo videos. The ballet wardrobe is one of my favourite wardrobes and everyone there deserves huge credit for their beautiful work!!

Next up in my world are productions of Guys and Dolls and HMS Pinafore! Two musicals that I have a great fondness for. I also have a 12th night that I will be working on so that should keep me busy!
Hopefully I will find more time to blog about them than I have recently.

I also added something useful to the studio....
I have been on the lookout for a larger sized male judy, and found one last week on an online sales site. I didn't really need a full body judy, but he is a beauty! The price was well within my range and I just couldn't pass it up. It is a 42 young men's size which is great as the torso is longer- more proportional- to someone 6 feet tall, which is so much better than the standard 5'8" models.

Back to work tomorrow.