Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome of this unit. In my experience of the course, each unit has challenged myself even further, and this has been no exception. I have worked very hard throughout the project and am happy with what I have achieved.
I have worked closely with the designer and costume supervisor in my work, and feel that the finished costume represents the character of the Narrator very well. Having analysed the character’s situation as well as the context of the performance, it was clear that I should produce a traditionally tailored suit. I consulted with the designer at all points where specific design decisions had to be made (such as style areas), and made sure to take the usage of the suit into consideration, such as making lots of working pockets which would contain props. On the whole I have made sure that the Designer made most of the design choices, from the fabric down to the smallest details. Nonetheless, there have been times when I have had to be insistent on certain choices due to my research and experience with traditional tailoring, such as the type of cloth and buttons. At times I feel that I should have been clearer about tailoring conventions, for there were difficulties when the wrong type of buttons were purchased. Luckily in this instance there was enough time to find more suitable alternatives, and in the future I know to be clearer when necessary, for the luxury of time and budget may not always be available when working on live projects with tight deadlines.
As I had completed a very similar suit for SDP last year, this project proved a way to consolidate and improve upon my tailoring and pattern-cutting skills. I have therefore worked as independently as possible throughout the project, making independent judgements according to my own reasoning and experience, and asking advice from tutors only when I needed confirmation of the appropriateness of my decisions. I was happy to work in this way, for it undoubtedly prepares me for work in the future as a costume maker.
I encountered many difficulties whilst making the suit, which were mainly due to my pattern drafting and cutting – such as the error with the elongated trouser crutch, and when I did not accurately match the checks on the jacket side back panels. Nonetheless, overall I am glad that I made these errors particularly in pattern drafting, for they have allowed me to truly understand the tailoring blocks, and notably how the 2D shapes relate to a 3D form. Ultimately, as I have now made grave errors in a supportive and taught environment, I should be better equipped to handle errors in the future – and ideally, not make them at all! I am very happy with the fit of the suit. Throughout the project, the actor was very honest about when and where areas of the suit were uncomfortable for him, and ultimately declared that he felt it fit him very well. His clarity and honesty has made me really take notice of which portions of a suit need to be flexible, and I have noted how this relates to the drafts. This will definitely be of great use in the future when I come to fit a costume either without extra help (i.e. with the tutors supervising), or to an actor who is not as readily vocal when in discomfort.
Matching the checks on this suit was one of the things that I truly struggled with. Prior to this project I had not worked with checked fabric, and it was a challenge which at times felt beyond me. Despite practising pattern matching across areas such as the pockets, and taking great care when sewing up the suit in general, it is certainly still imperfect. There are areas of the suit where I feel that I could have really improved upon the pattern matching, such as the jacket pockets and the area of the jacket by the back vents. However, I do not feel discouraged by this imperfection for I truly feel that I will improve upon this difficulty with experience. In the future, I will continue to practice matching specific patterns across difficult areas (such as pockets) on samples before applying them to the finished garment.
Additionally, this project has truly taught me the importance of precise and methodical working: I feel that I should have allowed much more time for pressing the suit, both as I was making it as well as at the final press. This is such an important element as it finalises the suit’s overall look. I feel that this may be a failing in the suit, particularly the jacket, for some elements did not look as crisp as they could have during the performance. However, overall, I am really happy with the suit. I have learnt so much, and feel that I have truly developed and improved in my tailoring work. There is still so much room for improvement, and this project has certainly taught me that. Nonetheless, I look forward to continuing to develop as a tailor in my future working life.