Extending my Comfort Zone

I’m a costumer who was originally trained to build theatre costumes but has adapted to build things that are up close and personal with the audience rather than “20 feet from a moving train.”  Many of our staff have had people lift up their skirts (or pat their bustles or pull their muttonchops) to see how they’re constructed (or what’s under there).  We do cut some corners for speed, but I do like to do things fundamentally right.

One of the things I’m uncomfortable with is tailoring.  And I’m not talking alterations, which is what tailoring has come to mean in our time of iron-on-interfacings and dry cleaners, I’m talking hand-canvassing and taping.  We learned how to do very basic canvassing and taping on waistcoat fronts, but never the steps to do it on jackets (which require a lot of work and padding and all sorts of intimidating things).  But we have a book that certainly gives some very good guidelines, so every once in awhile, I pull it out and try a bit.

Right now I’m building a woman’s jacket for 1920 Street.  I’m not padding the front, but I am attaching the canvas by hand, and doing my favourite part, creating the roll.


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