Block 359: March 1, 2014



It’s March, everyone.

Winter, start packing up.

Date: March 1, 2014

Crane: 359

Days Spent on Project: 377

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Mary Z.

Mary is another one of the Senior drapers in the Yale Rep Costume Shop.

I think one of the greatest lessons that I learned from Mary was about fabric. She made me feel yardage of fabric I bought for a dress to be built for that production of Hedda Gabler, and asked if I could feel how gross it was.

I got it. I knew it was a poly blend, and wasn’t 100% silk. At 25, I fell in love with the color and the pattern; I hadn’t taken into account how differently poly hangs, sews, reflects light, feels, or… “infers” about a product.

In the years between, I’m come to realize how rare it is to actually get the chance to work in and with a truly great costume shop. And, I do consider the Yale Rep costume shop a great one; the ladies and gentlemen that crank out the quantity of work they do in the theatrical AND academic year with the quality that they do, they are skilled artists. That they do so when their designers are usually students, makes them great teachers too. They do good work. They take pride in their work. They teach great lessons, not all of which are easy (or immediate) to learn.

So I’ve learned to always try (and I do TRY!) to provide the best fabric I can. Especially when the budget is tight, and you have to dig your way around to find something that’s not horribly synthetic or legion or plead for a bargain with a store, it makes such a difference to a shop and the people working with them. When you give someone exciting materials to work with, they get excited; that enthusiasm usually shows up in the product. The quality of the media helps artists (And isn’t that what drapers and flat-patterners and first-hands and stitchers and craftspeople and so on ARE?) make a better product.

Polyester absorbs light; I’m convinced of it. Polyester clothing doesn’t have as much visual depth as clothes made of natural fibers. It doesn’t feel right; can’t you feel that plastic in it? It doesn’t always gather or lay well. It can be spongey.

At 25, I thought I was happy with the five gore skirt that Mary made. Looking at the pictures of that outfit now, I’m not necessarily.

Music I listened to while sewing: I’ve got music on by a group called Hiatus today. Thumbs up.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Nothing like starting your taxes as a freelance designer to make you start questioning your entire life.

And also realize how much money you’ve actually spent on this little project.



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