Saturday, August 28, 2010

co-op update

So, I have officially finished my first co-op quarter at a small costume shop in Loveland, Ohio. What my co-op assignment consisted of was creating eight of the Sylphide costumes from Phantom of the Opera for a theater group in Wisconsin.

Making something for theater is a little different than making something for every day wear - everything has to be able to go on easily and often things are put on in the dark or rather roughly, so all the bodices I made had huge metal zippers in the back. Adjustments also have to be done rather easily - my first three I made the mistake of encasing the raw bottom edge of each bodice in bias tape. Finally I edged the front and back separately and seamed them up the sides (lining that up with an armhole edging and a hem edging is hard, let me tell you). You must add a lot of seam allowance into all side seams so that things can be taken in and out, and I ended up making a couple in sizes 10, 12, 14 and 16 (and I know that sounds huge, and that these girls are ballerinas, but unfortunately in pattern making someone like me is a size 12, which can confuse people sometimes). Another constraint is that I could not use netting for the skirts, and thankfully we had a bunch of old seafoam green romantic leotard outfits that could be worn underneath each bodice and skirt.

Originally I only had a small photograph to work from when designing the bodices. I altered a dress bodice pattern for the tops to get the style lines and paneling right. The skirt pattern was drafted for a simple gathered skirt. I also drafted both the bodice and skirt drape, which took a couple tries to get just right. But, enough talk, here are the finished things and some detail shots!

Starting with the bodices, each bodice has boning in the front only to eliminate any discomfort when bending backwards in dance. Each flower snaps off for dry cleaning. The edging on the bottom and for each armhole was hand-stitched (my favorite), as was the lace on the bust drape.

Each skirt has an elastic waistband to allow for a range of sizes to be reached. There is a narrow rolled hem on the organza and each flower snaps off again for dry cleaning. The drape snaps off for removal as well.

I'm pretty happy with how these turned out! I definitely learned a lot from this project. I am hoping that when the performance happens I will get some action shots of my costumes in use. I can't wait to hear about everybody's co-ops when I get back to school.

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