Tuesday, 18 October 2011

First fitting

Trousers

Left: with alteration        Right: before fitting.
 
Left: before fitting.         Right: with alteration

 As soon as I held these up to the Actor's body it was really obvious that there had been a miscalculation somewhere in the draft. The crutch was far, far too long for his body and fabric needed to be taken out from here. I eventually concluded that this was due to inaccurate measuring: when I took his measurements he was wearing quite loose and baggy jeans and I didn't pull the tape measure tight enough, or start high enough up the inside leg, when measuring his girth and rise. This had not been a problem when I made the 1890s trousers for SDP as I worked with measurement that I had been given, and didn't have to measure the wearer myself. The tight(-er) crutch measure is so important in tailored trousers, especially with this period as the trousers were narrow and quite fitted to the body. All in all an annoying mistake but again, one which I will not repeat in the future.


Trousers Centre Back - crutch seam definitely too long!
 
Kat also pointed out that the trouser darts needed to be longer and taper down into the seat. This is definitely needed, in order to throw fullness into the right part. 

Of course it was quite worrying when the trousers looked so incorrect but I tried to remain calm and collected so as not to make the Actor feel uneasy at all. I have always considered bedside manner to be important when conducting fittings - especially when dealing with such sensitive areas as crutch seams!

Mandy and Kat advised keeping the fit of the trousers the same along the CB seam as although it appeared to look far too baggy, ease would be needed as the Actor moves; especially if he sits down. This was a really important consideration, and in future I will bear in mind movement instead of worrying if things look immediately too loose.

Right: before fitting
Left: alteration. Trousers narrowed and trouser hem set over shoe

The trousers were also narrowed, making them much more appropriate for the period. In this I admit that I could have been more "adventurous" at the pattern drafting stage and narrowed them more (as I basically stuck to the generic draft for trousers) so it is just another pointer to be more confident when drafting. Mandy and Kat stressed, though, not to narrow the trousers too much as it would look strange due to the size of the check. So proportion and balance according to the fabric as well as the individual figure, and styles of the period and design, must be considered!

The Actor had injured his feet before the fitting and found it difficult to stand up straight for lengths of time, but we did have to ask him to stand up properly as this affected the length of the trousers. Posture is definitely another thing to consider when working with actors in the future, in terms of how the clothes lie on the body, especially as regards restricting movement etc.


Jacket

 Left: with alteration        Right: before fitting. 


Left: before fitting        Right: with alteration

There were fewer major alterations on the jacket, which was a little reassuring.

The Actor immediately found the armhole restrictive and specified that it was at the front; he could not move his arms forward. So without haste I snipped into the seam allowance here, releasing the fabric and lowering the armhole. I'm quite grateful that he was so immediately vocal about this problem; it was really, really helpful in terms of how to get a good fit. Although this problem was also clear to me just by looking, it's definitely important that the wearer feels that it fits well themselves. And so in the future, I will bear in mind that not everyone will be happy to be so upfront and resolve issues like this as soon as possible before something damging to them happens, i.e. the armhole cutting off blood circulation to the arm and the wearer fainting.

I was then quite glad that I had decided not to bring a sleeve to the fitting, as it would definitely not have worked in the enlarged armhole.

The length was taken up and the jacket was made more snug at the centre front (CF). I discussed where to take this alteration (i.e. which seam to take it in from) and Mandy explained that the CF was the best due to the way it fitted around the rest of the body. The jacket actually fitted really well across the back; it was just that there was a bit too much excess at the front. Taking it in elsewhere would have distorted the proportions and made it lie differently. This was really good to consider as previously at fittings, tutors have been quite prescriptive about just where to take an alteration. This way made me really consider why I was taking it in this place. This will be really helpful in the future, when no one is there to help me!

The CF coming in meant that the break line of the lapel will change, as will the curve. So I am glad that I stuck to my decision to only cut one of the canvases.


Reflection

Working with Kat on trouser darts

Obviously I was a little dismayed by the amount of changes needed to the suit, especially on the trousers. However, I refuse to be completely disheartened by this. I have accepted it and can clearly see the errors that I made, and how they led to miscalculations and mistakes. It is becoming more and more obvious to me that tiny mistakes along the way lead to big errors if not resolved. Nonetheless, if I am honest, every time that I had to correct a seam or change a line at the fitting, on both the trousers and jacket, I learnt something more about how clothes work against the body. Ultimately the suit must be used for performance, and considering movement is so important. So in a way - assuming that the trousers will be salvageable - this has given me a real lesson in truly understanding the relation of the draft to the body. This will definitely help me when I am drafting future suits. Additionally my guiding principles include never making the same mistake twice, soI definitely intend all mistakes I make to inform and better future work. In the future, I will take all crutch measurements tightly, despite baggy jeans!

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