Well, not literally, but I can say for the past day and a half I started using and industrial sewing machine. I was a little apprehensive at first and a little intimidated, but everyone in the shop is helpful and doesn’t mind if you ask them questions. I’m still getting used to adjusting my speed, but I figure it will come with more and more practice. I feel like I’m in an environment where people want me to explore, make mistakes, learn, and succeed.
I’m working on “The Clay Cart” at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and in order to help me adjust and become more comfortable with an industrial, I have been given a fairly easy project, but one that I hope will look nice when I am finished with it. The play is a Sanskirt drama and for the male costumes I’m helping put together some sashes. I haven’t worked a lot with silk/lighter fabrics, so it will be a good challenge for me.
I sat down with my mentor and before I started work, we discussed everything. We talked about rules in the costume shop, expectations, and goals I had for myself. I was glad that I could be honest with her and tell her information about how I work, my skill level, and what I need to do to improve. Right now I feel that I am somewhere in between beginning and intermediate as far as my skill level goes (I’m definitely not advanced) and that I need to work on becoming a faster stitcher and a little more accurate. My mentor and the workroom supervisor are both very good at encouraging me and giving me advice on how to approach certain projects or situations. I feel less intimidated after talking with them and other co-workers in the costume shop.
All of the costumes for the show are beautiful! I get the impression (though I’m not sure yet) that some people started much earlier to get some of these costumes together for fittings already. One co-worker was gluing on sequins to some fabric and later one she was taking some beading off so it wouldn’t get in the way of the sewing machine. It sounds like very tedious work, but the results are wonderful. She ended up having parts for a belt that I think already look very pretty. I haven’t really seen much of the other shows, but I did see one co-worker appeared to be completely covered by a tulle underskirt!
On a bit of a side note, I think I’ll be taking some pictures on the next two days I have off. Probably just my apartment and downtown, but I hope all of you enjoy!