In-Depth Post #3

Since the last post, I’ve really started making good progress. I’ve been meeting with my mentor every week and we have continued to work on the dresses for the Greek chorus girls. The cutting has been going pretty well and some of the other girls have started sewing dresses together. At the start of cutting, we realized that the pattern pieces were cut to different sizes (some were cut to a size small and some were cut to extra small), so we had to do some rearranging and created a list of every pattern piece we needed and in what size to avoid dresses that didn’t fit together correct. I did catch two mistakes that the girls were making in the pattern cutting though. The first mistake I found was that my mentor and a few of the other girls were adding extra seam allowance around the dresses and I pointed out that we didn’t need to add seam allowance since it was already included in the pattern (seam allowance is the space around the pattern left to sew clothes together). That mistake wasn’t very important in this case since the dresses are very loose-fitting and flowy so a little extra fabric won’t do much harm. The second mistake I caught was a lot more important. I was pinning a pattern piece and I realized that it said it had to be cut on a fold (this is so both sides are perfectly symmetrical). I asked the others if we had been cutting it on a fold but they said no one had been. This mistake was fixable since you can sew the pieces that we already cut out together and cut new ones on the fold but the seam might be in an awkward spot.

(cutting the chorus dresses)

Other than the physical work itself working with the costume girls have been going pretty well. It took a little longer than I wanted for my mentor to get the paperwork done but it’s in now. Some of the communication between us could be clearer about when there are going to be meetings and when there aren’t but that will just take me sending a few more reminders. Working with the other girls in costumes has been pretty good. Some of the girls are super nice like Elaine who was also a TALONS student that was in grade 10 last year. All of them are nice but there is one girl who sometimes rubs me the wrong way. She’s super nice to talk to but sometimes she can be a tad bossy. One time I was pinning a piece and Charlotte said to cut out the large piece of fabric around it and leave it on the table in the costumes room but the other girl made me stay to pin, chalk and cut it out making me stay 30 minutes after I was supposed to leave. She also only really lets me chalk and pin but not do anything else. Like when we’re talking as a group I would say something then she would shush me then proceed to repeat what I was saying in the first place. Other than her specifically I like working with the other girls.


Along with the work I’m doing with my mentor I have also started working on my personal project. I have been meeting up with my grandma and I have started a mock-up dress of a pattern I want to use to make a dress. A mock-up dress is where you take cheap fabric (in our case broadcloth) and make the dress out of it before using the expensive fabric to make sure it fits right. This saves money since if it doesn’t fit right you wasted fabric that cost $3 a yard rather than $15 a yard. I looked online for dresses I liked to get an idea of the type of pattern I wanted to find. After that, we went to the store and found a pattern that looked similar to the reference photos and grabbed the broadcloth to make the mock-up. Then we met up again and started to cut and sew. We cut the pattern to my size and cut out double the amount of fabric it recommended to use the fabric as both regular fabric and lining. After that, she showed me how to do tailor tacks or chalk the pieces to mark them. She also showed me how to cut out notches which help you line up the pieces while sewing them together. Another thing I learned was how to sew darts (the fold sewn usually into bra tops). To make a dart you have to fold over the fabric and sew it in a certain way that gives structure to the top. After that, I learned how to do iron-on interfacing (a stiff fabric that helps give shape to a piece). We needed to do interfacing since the style of top on the dress was bra top and that needs some hold to it to avoid costume malfunctions. So far we have finished sewing the top together and just have to add about 2 inches to the back to make it fit. Adjustments like that are good to catch during the mock-up stage so you know just the right amount of good fabric to cut the second time around. Next time we meet we’re going to cut out the skirt and sew it together then start sewing the whole dress together and making adjustments.

(sewing the top)                                (the cut-out dress pieces)

(the lined top pieces)                       (cutting out the dress pieces)

Overall I think the project is moving along at a great pace and I think got a lot done since the last post. Until next time.