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Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Victorian Gown?

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  • Bo Persson
    citerar Jeni : Hello Jessie! It it as early-, mid- or late Victorian ballgown? I would defenitely lace the back but hooks and eyes are
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 9, 2001
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      citerar Jeni <paquerette@...>:
      Hello Jessie!
      It it as early-, mid- or late Victorian ballgown? I would defenitely
      lace the back but hooks and eyes are not wrong either. I have seen
      several 1860s ballgowns with hooks and eyes.

      Bo
      MA student History of Textile and Dress WSA
      > Siebel San wrote:
      > >
      > > Allo all!
      > >
      > > I am making a victorian ballgown, one of the butterick
      > > patterns (I hate butterick). I definitely don't want a
      > > zipper in the back, so can anyone tell me how gowns of that
      > > period closed in the back? I was planning on using hooks
      > > and eyes, but I have heard that lacing through eyelets is
      > > more authentic. Can someone set me straight?
      > >
      > > Thanks!
      > > Jessie
      > >
      >
      > I could be wrong, but I think buttons would be appropriate, very close
      > together. I don't do much with this period, but every reference I can
      > think of of closures was buttons up the front. Can't remember anything
      > of back closures. I would go with hooks and eyes before lacing,
      though.
      > I don't think lacing on the outside was popular then.
      >
      > Jeni.
      >
      > --
      >
      > "Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is
      > the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves."
      >
      > -William Pitt
      >
      > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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      >
      >
      >



      Bo Persson
      bo.ia.persson@...
      Mobil +46 (0)733 84 38 29
    • Siebel San
      I know that buttons would be the best choice, but unfortunately, they are out of the question. I actually have to make this gown a size smaller than what I
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 9, 2001
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        I know that buttons would be the best choice, but
        unfortunately, they are out of the question. I actually
        have to make this gown a size smaller than what I usually
        wear because that is all the fabric I had for it. Buttons
        requite too much overlapping in the back, and frankly, I
        just won't have enough fabric to do that. I will have to
        wear this gown completely corsetted as it is. I was
        planning on using hooks and eyes as my first choice. If I
        am unable to close it in the back, then it will have to be
        lacing.

        I don't know the era. It is a Butterick pattern #3012, and
        the design is flat straight front with a drape at the
        hipline attaching to the bustled back. It has princess
        seams and no sleeves, just shoulder straps. I do know how
        unauthentic these patterns are, but it's the only one I
        could find with the time I have. Same with the fabric - I
        had it on hand and don't have time to shop for more.

        Let me know if you have any other comments or bits of
        advice, especially if you've made this one before. All is
        appreciated!

        Thanks,
        Jessie


        =====
        "I would die for you." -Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
        - - - - - - - - - -
        "I've noticed that famous composers in particular hang on for a long time. Deaf as posts, most of them, when Death comes calling. I expect some god somewhere finds that very amusing. It's their kind of a joke.*"

        *And course, one that misfires. Deafness doesn't prevent composers from hearing the music. It prevents them from hearing the distractions.
        - - - - - - - - -
        �If the world could have seen what I have seen, feel what I have felt, there would be no more war, only love.� -MLC

        __________________________________________________
        Do You Yahoo!?
        Find a job, post your resume.
        http://careers.yahoo.com
      • Siebel San
        ... They bear little resembelence to what people wore. ... gown. Stitch 2 more lengths of ribbon further down the gown skirt 10-12 from the hem but keeping
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 10, 2001
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          > >I have an order for a polonaise gown, (deadline is
          > December
          > >20, to give me time for final adjustments in time for
          > the
          > >reenactment ball on the 29th) and I am using Butterick
          > >3071. I need help because I don't know how to get the
          > >poufy effect of the open-front overskirt right.
          >
          > I first need to say that looking at the pattern companies
          > verions of 18th century gowns makes me physically sick.
          They bear little resembelence to what people wore.
          > How to make a gown la polinase: stitch a length of ribbon
          > in 2 places on the inside at the waist in the back of the
          gown. Stitch 2 more lengths of ribbon further down the
          gown skirt 10-12" from the hem but keeping them directly
          under where the ribbon was stitched at the waist. When you
          tie the ribbons it will poof out the back of the gown. You
          want to use fairly long ribbons so it can be adjusted and
          not be too tight.
          >
          > Judy

          First off, I know how you feel about commercial
          patterns. However, many of them, with a little tweaking,
          and be made into fairly authentic replicas.
          I think I understand what you mean about the ribbons.
          both sets are all sewed into the INSIDE of the skirt,
          right? I have three other questions (for now) too -

          A) According to the pattern, the poufy overskirt is a
          separate piece from the bodice. I don't think that is
          historically correct. I think that the bodice and the
          overskirt should be connected, all one piece, right?
          Hence, you would have a dress, not a skirt and top.

          B) I don't know if this is right, even though I am going to
          do it anyways. The woman I am making the gown for is
          losing weight. She wants it to lace up in the back so that
          she won't shrink right out of it too fast. I plan to set
          eyelets and a modesty panel into the back. Authentically,
          how did these gowns close?

          C) The pattern has under-sleeves sewn right into the
          armholes under the bodice sleeves. I think Civil War era
          women did this, but I am not too sure about Colonial women.
          Should I omit the separate sleeves and have her wear her
          full chemise underneath the gown?

          Hope to hear from someone soon!
          Jessie


          =====
          "I would die for you." -Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
          - - - - - - - - - -
          "I've noticed that famous composers in particular hang on for a long time. Deaf as posts, most of them, when Death comes calling. I expect some god somewhere finds that very amusing. It's their kind of a joke.*"

          *And course, one that misfires. Deafness doesn't prevent composers from hearing the music. It prevents them from hearing the distractions.
          - - - - - - - - -
          �If the world could have seen what I have seen, feel what I have felt, there would be no more war, only love.� -MLC

          __________________________________________________
          Do You Yahoo!?
          Find a job, post your resume.
          http://careers.yahoo.com
        • Ann Ford
          Jessie, Stop knocking yourself out and go for lacing. Buttons would not be correct in any case. Make sure you have someone to lace you up! Ann
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 10, 2001
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            Jessie,
            Stop knocking yourself out and go for lacing. Buttons would not be correct
            in any case. Make sure you have someone to lace you up!
            Ann

            ----------
            >From: Siebel San <siebelsan@...>
            >To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] Victorian Gown?
            >Date: Fri, Nov 9, 2001, 4:11 PM
            >

            > I know that buttons would be the best choice, but
            > unfortunately, they are out of the question. I actually
            > have to make this gown a size smaller than what I usually
            > wear because that is all the fabric I had for it. Buttons
            > requite too much overlapping in the back, and frankly, I
            > just won't have enough fabric to do that. I will have to
            > wear this gown completely corsetted as it is. I was
            > planning on using hooks and eyes as my first choice. If I
            > am unable to close it in the back, then it will have to be
            > lacing.
            >
            > I don't know the era. It is a Butterick pattern #3012, and
            > the design is flat straight front with a drape at the
            > hipline attaching to the bustled back. It has princess
            > seams and no sleeves, just shoulder straps. I do know how
            > unauthentic these patterns are, but it's the only one I
            > could find with the time I have. Same with the fabric - I
            > had it on hand and don't have time to shop for more.
            >
            > Let me know if you have any other comments or bits of
            > advice, especially if you've made this one before. All is
            > appreciated!
            >
            > Thanks,
            > Jessie
            >
            >
            > =====
            > "I would die for you." -Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
            > - - - - - - - - - -
            > "I've noticed that famous composers in particular hang on for a long time.
            > Deaf as posts, most of them, when Death comes calling. I expect some god
            > somewhere finds that very amusing. It's their kind of a joke.*"
            >
            > *And course, one that misfires. Deafness doesn't prevent composers from
            > hearing the music. It prevents them from hearing the distractions.
            > - - - - - - - - -
            > ìIf the world could have seen what I have seen, feel what I have felt,
            > there would be no more war, only love.î -MLC
            >
            > __________________________________________________
            > Do You Yahoo!?
            > Find a job, post your resume.
            > http://careers.yahoo.com
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > TheCostumersManifesto-unsubscribe@egroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
          • Judy Cataldo
            ... to work. A) According to the pattern, the poufy overskirt is a separate piece from the bodice. I don t think that is historically correct. I think that
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 10, 2001
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              > I think I understand what you mean about the ribbons.
              >both sets are all sewed into the INSIDE of the skirt,
              >right? Yes. The skirt of the gown needs to be made full for la polinase
              to work.

              A) According to the pattern, the poufy overskirt is a
              separate piece from the bodice. I don't think that is
              historically correct. I think that the bodice and the
              overskirt should be connected, all one piece, right?

              The commercial patterns all seem to do that. Not only is it not correct but
              it causes a nasty "gap-osis"
              There are a couple of prints at
              http://www.costumes.org/history/leloir/1787robepattern.jpg and
              http://www.costumes.org/history/leloir/robeanglaisediagram.jpg

              B) I don't know if this is right, even though I am going to
              do it anyways. The woman I am making the gown for is
              losing weight. She wants it to lace up in the back so that
              she won't shrink right out of it too fast. I plan to set
              eyelets and a modesty panel into the back. Authentically,
              how did these gowns close?

              The gowns close in the front. They were adjusted for size either by a
              over-lapping front that was pinned with straight pins or by adjusting the
              back. 18th C. gowns were not cut from a pattern but rather the fabric was
              draped over the woman and it was fitted to her figure. See the above
              diagrams.

              C) The pattern has under-sleeves sewn right into the
              armholes under the bodice sleeves. I think Civil War era
              women did this, but I am not too sure about Colonial women.
              Should I omit the separate sleeves and have her wear her
              full chemise underneath the gown?

              How "authentic" is she wanting/needing to be? The undersleeves are not
              sewn to the gown they are part of the shift sleeve but they shouldn't show
              that much as they end at the elbow. The pattern I have for a Civil War gown
              has separate half sleeves-not attached to the gown. The
              cuffs/ruffs/elegantes are made separately and I think basted to the gown
              cuff.

              There is some really good info at: http://www.18cnewenglandlife.org/. If
              you are making a lot of period gowns you might want to purchase Patterns in
              Fashion Vol I by (Saint) Janet Arnold. I know the late Ms Arnold isn't
              really a saint I just think of her that way :-) I have always found that
              book invaluable. It is available through Amazon.com and you can link to the
              book from The Costumer's Manifesto website
              http://www.costumes.org/pages/18thlinks.htm

              Judy
            • michaela de bruce
              ... My favourite era:). Late 1870s (train, slim line not a pronounced tournure). Lacing would be your best bet. Hooks and eyes, or lacing for evening wear,
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 12, 2001
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                > I don't know the era. It is a Butterick pattern #3012, and
                > the design is flat straight front with a drape at the
                > hipline attaching to the bustled back. It has princess
                > seams and no sleeves, just shoulder straps. I do know how
                > unauthentic these patterns are, but it's the only one I
                > could find with the time I have. Same with the fabric - I
                > had it on hand and don't have time to shop for more.

                My favourite era:). Late 1870s (train, slim line not a pronounced
                tournure).
                Lacing would be your best bet. Hooks and eyes, or lacing for evening
                wear, button down a cuirasseor princess line front, not back, for day.
                Hooks and eyes would be a tad restrictive concidering your fabric
                plight, it means you can have a little bit more ease getting into it
                it.
                You can make your own eyelets, rather than the metal grommets, they
                don't take much time at all, and you don't get frustrated when you
                smoosh the metal out of shape;).
                I mark with pencil on the lining where I want the holes then use a
                knitting needle, as I don't have an awl, to spread the fibres of the
                fabric rather than cutting them. Basically I push the pointy end on
                the spot, with my thumb behind, and twist and turn the point until it
                emerges. Then I push the needle up to the thickest part, pull it out
                and whip stitch the edges of the hole.
                It also means if you do then decide to put in hooks and eyes or some
                other method, you can unpick the stitches and manipulate the fabric
                and remove the holes.

                As for authenticity... don't get me started, but it is a nice line
                and pretty elegant, so don't worry. It's probably going to get you
                more compliments than a really accurate gown for the era anyway. Take
                a look at Janet Arnol's Patterns of Fashion II to see what I mean;).
                Also Costume in Detail by Nancy Bradfield has a lot of line drawings
                of actual garments.
                If you want to make a really acturate gown in the future, I'd suggest
                the Janet Arnold book, and Bradfield together. You'll get a feeling
                for the basic pattern (a two piece front with double darts under each
                breast*, 4 or six piece back, with shoulder seams dropped back, skirt
                of darted and gored pieces) and hopefully use the shapes to adapt a
                basic sloper. Or if you don't feel confident drafting your own, I'd
                really recommend Truly Victorian. Tara will have it listed at her
                site, under victorian links (and patterns probably). The designs are
                accurate, and the owner will create a custom pattern for you. Then
                you can play with the neckline and drapes to your heart's content:)
                If you want a lot of thumnails to look at of dresses of the era:
                http://recital.tripod.com/fashion/index.htm
                Some scans degenerated in the thumbnailing process, but the majority
                are good:).
                http://phoenix.song.tripod.com/2001trip/index.htm
                Has some photos I took in the Victoria and Albert Museum (should be
                in the first setof London images)

                Oh, buttons on the back... I have Historical Costume in Detail from
                the V&A, and there is a lovely early 19th C dress in fuschia with
                buttons at the back. But that's probably the latest until the 20th C.

                michaela
                *I've seen a few bodices that use seams, but they don't go over the
                bust points like a modern princess seam does. Worth used a narrowish
                shaped central panel in one of his gowns.
              • Molly Dewane
                I just costumed The Miracle Worker. Without help, I designed the show, making most of the costumes. In the program (yes, this is minor but it shows how
                Message 7 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                  I just costumed "The Miracle Worker." Without help, I
                  designed the show, making most of the costumes. In
                  the program (yes, this is minor but it shows how
                  little costuming can be valued), the credit was listed
                  as "costumer" and credited after every possible
                  technical or production person. I was insulted. My
                  design work is just as important as the set or light
                  designer. I did have a minor budget for the show and I
                  was paid a stipend, but still-

                  How about this? How many directors argue with the
                  costumer over what is historically accurate? For
                  "Miracle Worker", the director wanted historically
                  accurate clothing. Well, that's fine and nice but if
                  shown a page from a catalog of a particular style of
                  dress, logically, you would think that would fit the
                  bill. This director, too, insisted that I sit through
                  every technical and dress rehearsal. To me, that's a
                  waste of time. What on earth would I change two days
                  prior to opening? By that time, actors should know if
                  there are costume problems. Of course, there's always
                  the little detail item. I sit through the first cue
                  to cue, the first rehearsal with lights finalized and
                  then a dress rehearsal. Does anyone out there think
                  that's not enough?

                  My latest project is Sarah Kane's "Cleansed." It's a
                  contemporary, representational play. One of the
                  characters wears a yellow dress. OK, easy enough,
                  right? I asked the director what type of yellow he
                  wanted. His response? "Yellow." I explained how
                  color can look very different depending on stage
                  lighting and that he needed to be more specific. He
                  told me to stop arguing with him. Excuse me?! I
                  think he is slowly getting the idea that costuming
                  involves more than pulling things out of a closet, but
                  it is so frustrating to not be valued as a member of
                  the production team.

                  Please tell me that I am not alone in these thoughts!
                  Thanks for letting me vent and hope all is well with
                  everyone-

                  __________________________________________________
                  Do You Yahoo!?
                  Yahoo! - Official partner of 2002 FIFA World Cup
                  http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com
                • calinda13
                  Many years ago I helped make costumes for a production of West Side Story. The shop head made sure the directors and coreographer signed off on the costume
                  Message 8 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                    Many years ago I helped make costumes for a production of West Side
                    Story. The shop head made sure the directors and coreographer signed
                    off on the costume designs which had been carefully sketeched out.
                    (The costume designer was a seminary student and had to be on retreat
                    all summer) The week before the production we brought in the "shark"
                    girls costumes for fittings and they told us there was no way they
                    could dance in them as they were too tight. The coreographer never
                    really looked at them, just signed off. We had to completely remake
                    all the dresses! We always got left out of the curtain speech
                    thanking everyone. Those of us who worked backstage the nights of
                    the show wore cards pinned to our clothes reminding the cast
                    that "without us West Side Story would be just another Oh Calcutta"
                    (a show in NY at the time with a nude cast)
                    When I costumed my church productions I got left out of the program
                    on several occasions.
                    So, no, you are not the only one...

                    Judy
                  • Katryn Richardson
                    I have been mostly lurking lo these many months, but I feel compelled to speak up now since I have been in (and witnessed) many similar situations... It has
                    Message 9 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                      I have been mostly lurking lo these many months, but I feel compelled to speak up now since I
                      have been in (and witnessed) many similar situations...

                      It has been my experience that there are more people out there in theater-land who cannot
                      visualize the completed product-- whatever that may be-- than one would think there should be.
                      And this sounds like one of the problems you are having with this director.

                      Almost your only defense is to try to present him with choices that don't rely on him
                      visualizing anything, and don't try to get him to verbalize anything that is detail-oriented.

                      When I've been caught in this sort of predicament, I've tried to only talk to the director to
                      find the general direction he wants to go in, and then try to turn out a full design that will
                      look cohesive enough that it will be difficult to pick apart after it's onstage, while still
                      being in line with what he wanted and with the other visual elements of the play. And always
                      try to have a back-up plan for things that may not go over well, that really helps.

                      Please remember that technically, it is not the director's job to spell out what he wants-- it
                      is his job to give you DIRECTION (a direction to go in) and then your job to catch the ball and
                      run with it. (It is also his job to reign you in if he feels you have gone too far, so you
                      always have to be prepared for that.)

                      It is true that many directors want you to be present at more rehearsals than you really need
                      to be, as a sort of "security blanket". I usually try to bring something to work on, even if
                      it's for another show, and even if I need to work on it in another part of the building-- at
                      least you can be physically present which (I think) is the main thing.

                      Last, it does sound like the larger problem may be that you and this director have different
                      work styles. This can be really frustrating to both of you. If it seems really unbearable to
                      you and you are committed to design several more shows, perhaps talking it out could lead to
                      some compromises. Just realize that his style of working is what he is comfortable with, not
                      something that has been formulated to make you angry, OK?

                      Yes, the program thing is an insult-- is it possible that they had to send the programs to be
                      printed before you were hired?? At any rate, they should do an insert to amend this, and there
                      is no excuse for not recognizing you at all. I am rather infamous for ferreting out who's in
                      charge and speaking to them directly, and I'm afraid that sometimes in these situations I am
                      less than tactful-- but at least being a b*tch about it usually gets results!!! It is important
                      to not just stew about it-- if you are really upset, then try to take some sort of positive
                      action. Just because the arts jobs are underpaid does not mean that we all have to act like
                      sheep.

                      I hope that helps.

                      Katryn

                      --
                      Method is more important than strength...
                      By dropping golden beads near a snake, a crow once managed to have a passerby
                      kill the snake for the beads. - Siddha Nagarjuna
                    • sylvia
                      As a costumer who has designed, coordinated and worked on many productions over the years, I can understand your frustration. You work harder than anyone
                      Message 10 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                        Re: [TheCostumersManifesto] I can't be the only costumer that experiences this! As a costumer who has designed, coordinated and worked on many productions over the years, I can understand your frustration.  You work harder than anyone  (IMNSHO) on the cast or crew and get so little in return.  You should make sure next time that you at least get the proper credit in the program.  Your name should be up there with the set and lighting designers.

                        As to problems with the director, I know it's hard to do what he/she wants some of the time.  There's no point in arguing.  He/she has the last word.  The most you can do is to show him/her lots of research if he says he wants historically accurate and then let him/her decide what they want and go from there.  I have found over the course of my career that one can't show the director too much in advance.  As much research materials as you have, as complete renderings as you can come up with, even if you are pulling and renting.   A lot of directors can't visualize as designers do so easily.  And always be prepared to change things at the last minute.  I will often try to convince directors of my ideas, but I never argue.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  As to colors, bring a swatch book.  Have the director pick out the exact color yellow he/she wants.

                        Re rehearsals, I always try to sit in on one or two run-throughs before tech week.  I didn't used to want to do that because I thought it was taking too much time from my work, but I have discovered that it is invaluable.  You see things in rehearsal you never thought of that will impact the costumes.

                        And when tech week starts, I watch every rehearsal in which costumes are being worn.  I don't watch dry techs or lighting rehearsals, but as soon as the actors are in costume, I'm there.  As far as I know  this is de rigueur in all theatres.  So many things come up all the way into the final dress that require changes, hopefully only minor by that time, but you never know.  And I myself continue to see things that no one else will that I want to tweak to make the costumes fit and work exactly right.  And if an actor has a problem with a costume in a dress rehearsal and you aren't there for him/her to explain it to you, you may not have a clue what is wanted just from reading a note.  And if you are there, you may be able to explain how to make the problem costume work to the actor and you won't have to change anything.  It takes actors sometimes several rehearsals before they are comfortable with their costumes.  That's why they usually schedule 2 to 3 of them.

                        It has been said before that directors work in different ways.  I've had one or two that I never want to work with again and won't.  If you have any choice, find another one.  If you don't, try to use this as a learning experience.  If you can work successfully with a difficult director, you will be able to work with anyone.

                        Good luck.

                        Sylvia Rognstad
                        --
                        Divinity Designs and Emeralds
                        http://www.d-e-designs.com


                        on 5/29/02 5:31 AM, Molly Dewane at mwprncra@... wrote:

                        I just costumed "The Miracle Worker."  Without help, I
                        designed the show, making most of the costumes.  In
                        the program (yes, this is minor but it shows how
                        little costuming can be valued), the credit was listed
                        as "costumer" and credited after every possible
                        technical or production person.  I was insulted.  My
                        design work is just as important as the set or light
                        designer. I did have a minor budget for the show and I
                        was paid a stipend, but still-

                        How about this?  How many directors argue with the
                        costumer over what is historically accurate?  For
                        "Miracle Worker", the director wanted historically
                        accurate clothing.  Well, that's fine and nice but if
                        shown a page from a catalog of a particular style of
                        dress, logically, you would think that would fit the
                        bill.  This director, too, insisted that I sit through
                        every technical and dress rehearsal.  To me, that's a
                        waste of time.  What on earth would I change two days
                        prior to opening?  By that time, actors should know if
                        there are costume problems.  Of course, there's always
                        the little detail item.  I sit through the first cue
                        to cue, the first rehearsal with lights finalized and
                        then a dress rehearsal.  Does anyone out there think
                        that's not enough?

                        My latest project is Sarah Kane's "Cleansed."  It's a
                        contemporary, representational play.  One of the
                        characters wears a yellow dress.  OK, easy enough,
                        right?  I asked the director what type of yellow he
                        wanted.  His response?  "Yellow."  I explained how
                        color can look very different depending on stage
                        lighting and that he needed to be more specific.  He
                        told me to stop arguing with him.  Excuse me?!  I
                        think he is slowly getting the idea that costuming
                        involves more than pulling things out of a closet, but
                        it is so frustrating to not be valued as a member of
                        the production team.

                        Please tell me that I am not alone in these thoughts!
                        Thanks for letting me vent and hope all is well with
                        everyone-

                        __________________________________________________
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                      • BowieGirl1982@aol.com
                        I see that when I start working, I m going to get upset big time about this one!! It bugs me already that on the Oscars programme they put all the tech people
                        Message 11 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                          I see that when I start working, I'm going to get upset big time about this
                          one!! It bugs me already that on the Oscars programme they put all the tech
                          people at the end and cut it short. Hello people, with out us the world of
                          entertainment would be naked!!

                          Jo
                        • yum-yi
                          ... The first show I directed, I was wayyyy too stressed out to put a LOT of thought into costuming, even though it s one of the parts of the theatre that I
                          Message 12 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                            > Please remember that technically, it is not the
                            > director's job to spell out what he wants-- it
                            > is his job to give you DIRECTION (a direction to go
                            > in) and then your job to catch the ball and
                            > run with it. (It is also his job to reign you in if
                            > he feels you have gone too far, so you
                            > always have to be prepared for that.)
                            >

                            The first show I directed, I was wayyyy too stressed
                            out to put a LOT of thought into costuming, even
                            though it's one of the parts of the theatre that I
                            love the most. It wasnt "not caring" what the
                            costumes looked like, it was having a lot of faith
                            that everything would be fine, because there were a
                            lot of things that might NOT be fine, that required my
                            attention instead.

                            Still, when wages are so pitifully low, praise, proper
                            credits and appreciation go a long way.
                            -dawn

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                          • Contessa
                            I never knew that designers were different from the other positions in the costumes shop. I didn t know that the cutter and sewers and drapers and whatever
                            Message 13 of 25 , May 29, 2002
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                              I never knew that designers were different from the other positions in the
                              costumes shop. I didn't know that the cutter and sewers and drapers and
                              whatever where all different jobs because I had done it all for many years.
                              The costumes are the frosting on the cake. It makes the show.

                              I've been everything from Designer to wardrobe to everything in between. 1/2
                              the time, I worked by myself, every once in a while, I'll have help. When it
                              got too close to tech week and I was running out of time, the producer
                              would come and help me with costumes as well.

                              Many times I was not thanked by anyone not mentioned in newspapers or
                              whatever, it does sting and hurt that all the hard work wasn't recognized.
                              BUT the producer and director did say Thank you. It might be frustrating,
                              but in the end, it's very satisfying that something good was completed.

                              I've done a few shows where we've had 100 kids and only 2-3 weeks to get
                              them costumed by tech week. sometimes, I've worked more than the hours I
                              was supposed to have, I've worked until past midnight and such.

                              It's good to vent, but communication is also important. If you can't talk
                              with the director, perhaps you can talk with the stage manager or producer
                              if possible, that can mediate for you. Most of the time, you'll find, it's
                              a simple misunderstanding of visions.

                              As to the program and your name. I can understand that. I'm now working on
                              that end of the theatre. I'm making the programs. I try to get to the
                              department and ask who is doing what. then I ask the producer what title do
                              they go under. Sometimes it's hard to get information from the stage
                              manager. If I don't get information, I have to do my best with names and
                              posistions. sometimes, we make mistakes. The best way to make sure you and
                              your people get credit for your hard work is to write in on a memo and give
                              it to the stage manager. Find out when the deadline is for printing and get
                              it to them right a way. If your not sure of what your title is or if they
                              are not sure of what your tile is, then ask the one who hired you to be
                              clear on your title. This will help greatly.

                              I hope you will have a better show next time. I do miss designing,
                              costuming and all that goes
                              with it, this is why I try to stay informed.
                              Best wishes
                              Contessa
                            • Julia Logan Trimarco
                              HI, a tried to send a message, but i don t think it went through. If it did, bear with me if I repeat myself. You ve stirred up a lot of strong feelings with
                              Message 14 of 25 , May 30, 2002
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                                HI, a tried to send a message, but i don't think it went through. If it did,
                                bear with me if I repeat myself.
                                You've stirred up a lot of strong feelings with your thoughts. Everyone has
                                gone through what you are going through. I've been doing this for ten years,
                                and though the details change, these core issues keep coming back. I've
                                tried to look at it as an opportunity to try to be a better communicator.
                                You would think in a field like theatre that more of us would be good at the
                                cooperative thing, but you'd be wrong. Recently I've been trying to put a
                                more Zen approach into it, and it's all about perception. Your director sees
                                you as argumentative. You see him as unhelpful. You see the program slight
                                as an insult, and it goes on.
                                There are always going to be a lot of little stresses, and big stresses.
                                That doesn't go away. The thing is to try not to take things personally.
                                The director is just trying to accomplish his goals, and he has a lot on his
                                mind. I've found a lot of directors want you to tell them what they like.
                                Sell them on your idea, or bring up the pros and cons of a few ideas you've
                                been mulling over, but NEVER go to them empty-handed. It also helps to make
                                appointments through the stage manager, so that you know you are catching
                                the director when they will be concentrating on you. Just curious, the thing
                                about the yellow dress - was that from a script direction? I mean, why does
                                the character wear a yellow dress? Just because the playwright says so? Or
                                is it actually in the dialogue? What I am driving at, is that a costume
                                designer thinks about these things and comes up with an answer BEFORE
                                discussing it with the director. That's part of the designer's job, so your
                                director may have felt like you were asking him to do your job.
                                Director's play a lot of mind games that can take some deciphering, but
                                don't get caught up in it. Example, the historical accuracy thing: if you
                                showed him a picture that was historically accurate, but he didn't like it,
                                he may have said he didn't like it because it wasn't accurate, but what he
                                MEANT was, it's not right for the character. Within historical accuracy
                                there are tons of options. Give him a few very different options.
                                As to rehearsals, in a perfect world, the designer, or costumer if there is
                                no designer, sits through every single rehearsal where they are wearing
                                costumes. He/she also sits through one or two run-throughs before dress
                                rehearsal, so that you are clear on 1) what kind of movement is being
                                blocked in the costumes, 2) are there any quick changes, or changes where
                                the actor has to cross over backstage, 3) are there any tracking issues (ie.
                                garments getting left on stage and worn later, etc.). Obviously, the more
                                support staff you have, the more likely you will have the time to do this.
                                Assistants, wardrobe supervisors, etc. can sometimes sit and take notes for
                                you, or they can supervise the shop while you are in rehearsal. If all
                                you've got is you, I certainly sympathize, I've been there, and it takes
                                juggling. If the director is insistant, be diplomatic, but explain your
                                workload.

                                Back to the program thing. If you are the costumer/ costume coordinator and
                                there is no costume designer, absolutely insist on equal billing with the
                                lighting and set designers, that is, on the title page. You get whatever
                                they get. Submit a memo to the SM with the correct spelling of your name,
                                and a brief bio (if they get one, you get one). Don't be afraid to be strong
                                on this one. The first time, it is and easy and understandable oversight,
                                but if you raise a stink, it won't happen again. Every time you insist on
                                equal billing, you do a service for all of us in costuming. I'm afraid it is
                                true that it can be boys club, and they will leave you out of the loop. But
                                find out when the production meetings are, find out when the deadlines are,
                                and be there. You will definitely make and impression.

                                Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on. Chin up, don't worry, we know
                                you're "the hardest working woman in show business".

                                Jypsie


                                >From: Molly Dewane <mwprncra@...>
                                >Reply-To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                                >To: TheCostumersManifesto@yahoogroups.com
                                >Subject: [TheCostumersManifesto] I can't be the only costumer that
                                >experiences this!
                                >Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 04:31:14 -0700 (PDT)
                                >
                                >I just costumed "The Miracle Worker." Without help, I
                                >designed the show, making most of the costumes. In
                                >the program (yes, this is minor but it shows how
                                >little costuming can be valued), the credit was listed
                                >as "costumer" and credited after every possible
                                >technical or production person. I was insulted. My
                                >design work is just as important as the set or light
                                >designer. I did have a minor budget for the show and I
                                >was paid a stipend, but still-
                                >
                                >How about this? How many directors argue with the
                                >costumer over what is historically accurate? For
                                >"Miracle Worker", the director wanted historically
                                >accurate clothing. Well, that's fine and nice but if
                                >shown a page from a catalog of a particular style of
                                >dress, logically, you would think that would fit the
                                >bill. This director, too, insisted that I sit through
                                >every technical and dress rehearsal. To me, that's a
                                >waste of time. What on earth would I change two days
                                >prior to opening? By that time, actors should know if
                                >there are costume problems. Of course, there's always
                                >the little detail item. I sit through the first cue
                                >to cue, the first rehearsal with lights finalized and
                                >then a dress rehearsal. Does anyone out there think
                                >that's not enough?
                                >
                                >My latest project is Sarah Kane's "Cleansed." It's a
                                >contemporary, representational play. One of the
                                >characters wears a yellow dress. OK, easy enough,
                                >right? I asked the director what type of yellow he
                                >wanted. His response? "Yellow." I explained how
                                >color can look very different depending on stage
                                >lighting and that he needed to be more specific. He
                                >told me to stop arguing with him. Excuse me?! I
                                >think he is slowly getting the idea that costuming
                                >involves more than pulling things out of a closet, but
                                >it is so frustrating to not be valued as a member of
                                >the production team.
                                >
                                >Please tell me that I am not alone in these thoughts!
                                >Thanks for letting me vent and hope all is well with
                                >everyone-
                                >
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                              • Molly Dewane
                                Thanks, everyone, for your comments and advice. I realize communication goes a long way. I am very clear in preproduction on my expectations. I expect the
                                Message 15 of 25 , May 30, 2002
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                                  Thanks, everyone, for your comments and advice. I
                                  realize communication goes a long way. I am very
                                  clear in preproduction on my expectations. I expect
                                  the director to be clear with me, too. I always have
                                  ideas in hand. The yellow dress is driving me crazy
                                  because I took several fabric samples to the director
                                  for him to choose. His vision for the show is that
                                  the dress be daffodil yellow. It ties into the show's
                                  symbolism. HE CHOSE the fabric. I don't mind
                                  directors changing their mind, but I don't appreciate
                                  getting hassled over cost if the director's choice
                                  doesn't work.

                                  I learned a lesson about programs. In the case of
                                  "Miracle Worker", the information was provided to the
                                  stage manager during the first week of rehearsals.
                                  That is upsetting. The director did apologize for her
                                  panic attack. I think she understands now how much
                                  work goes into costuming a show, especially one set in
                                  the 1880s with a large cast. I'll do whatever the
                                  director wants, too, but it galls me when I get the
                                  "it's not period" response to something that is
                                  historically accurate. For "Miracle Worker", there is
                                  a bit of cheating necessary because of the show's
                                  physicality. Still, I guess this goes back to good
                                  communication, too, but tell me that the garment won't
                                  work because the actor might get hurt in it or rip it
                                  because of the blocking. It's a matter of
                                  professionalism to do accurate research.

                                  Of course, I am getting paid for the show. The last
                                  time I was paid for a show, I received $100 for "Angel
                                  Street." Most of the time, at least in Orange County,
                                  designers are rarely paid. I can think of three
                                  theater companies that pay their designers.

                                  I am glad to know that I am not alone in my thoughts
                                  and that there is a forum to discuss costuming stuff.
                                  Thanks again for the feedback!

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                                • Julia Logan Trimarco
                                  again, my sympathies. sounds like you ve done everything humanly possible. best of luck getting through it all, and take some time off, it sounds like you
                                  Message 16 of 25 , May 30, 2002
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                                    again, my sympathies. sounds like you've done everything humanly possible.
                                    best of luck getting through it all, and take some time off, it sounds like
                                    you deserve it!

                                    jypsie


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                                  • teresa martinez
                                    Molly, you don t work for pay, are you an intern? It sounds like you have some experience!! Teresa ... __________________________________________________ Do
                                    Message 17 of 25 , May 30, 2002
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                                      Molly, you don't work for pay, are you an intern? It
                                      sounds like you have some experience!! Teresa
                                      --- Molly Dewane <mwprncra@...> wrote:
                                      > Thanks, everyone, for your comments and advice. I
                                      > realize communication goes a long way. I am very
                                      > clear in preproduction on my expectations. I expect
                                      > the director to be clear with me, too. I always
                                      > have
                                      > ideas in hand. The yellow dress is driving me crazy
                                      > because I took several fabric samples to the
                                      > director
                                      > for him to choose. His vision for the show is that
                                      > the dress be daffodil yellow. It ties into the
                                      > show's
                                      > symbolism. HE CHOSE the fabric. I don't mind
                                      > directors changing their mind, but I don't
                                      > appreciate
                                      > getting hassled over cost if the director's choice
                                      > doesn't work.
                                      >
                                      > I learned a lesson about programs. In the case of
                                      > "Miracle Worker", the information was provided to
                                      > the
                                      > stage manager during the first week of rehearsals.
                                      > That is upsetting. The director did apologize for
                                      > her
                                      > panic attack. I think she understands now how much
                                      > work goes into costuming a show, especially one set
                                      > in
                                      > the 1880s with a large cast. I'll do whatever the
                                      > director wants, too, but it galls me when I get the
                                      > "it's not period" response to something that is
                                      > historically accurate. For "Miracle Worker", there
                                      > is
                                      > a bit of cheating necessary because of the show's
                                      > physicality. Still, I guess this goes back to good
                                      > communication, too, but tell me that the garment
                                      > won't
                                      > work because the actor might get hurt in it or rip
                                      > it
                                      > because of the blocking. It's a matter of
                                      > professionalism to do accurate research.
                                      >
                                      > Of course, I am getting paid for the show. The last
                                      > time I was paid for a show, I received $100 for
                                      > "Angel
                                      > Street." Most of the time, at least in Orange
                                      > County,
                                      > designers are rarely paid. I can think of three
                                      > theater companies that pay their designers.
                                      >
                                      > I am glad to know that I am not alone in my thoughts
                                      > and that there is a forum to discuss costuming
                                      > stuff.
                                      > Thanks again for the feedback!
                                      >
                                      > __________________________________________________
                                      > Do You Yahoo!?
                                      > Yahoo! - Official partner of 2002 FIFA World Cup
                                      > http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com
                                      >


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                                    • Molly Dewane
                                      Thanks, Theresa, I haven t interned since college! Costuming is my this keeps me sane hobby. How s that for any oxymoron? Most of the theater in the area
                                      Message 18 of 25 , May 30, 2002
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                                        Thanks, Theresa, I haven't interned since college!
                                        Costuming is my "this keeps me sane" hobby. How's
                                        that for any oxymoron? Most of the theater in the
                                        area is non-union and that's where I find myself costuming.

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