Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I must be mad

That's the only excuse for tonight's sewing project. That, and I say yes to things from which I should run away screaming.

Here's the story. For the past few years, I've done some sewing for a local theater group. The head costumer comes up with all the ideas, and farms out a lot of the sewing to volunteers in the neighborhood. She sews herself, so I don't know how some of these bizarre things come to pass, but I think that while she can sew, she can't pick out fabric to save her life. I had to do a gown last year for the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland made completely out of black and red lining fabric. The flimsy kind. Ask me how much fun that was.

When she called last month, I said I was tied up in a few projects and couldn't take on anything too complicated. She promised me an easy project, and came up with this (actually these): she needs three strait jackets for the next show. No, it's not One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which is the only show I can think that would require that much restraint.

She delivered the fabric the night before I went to NY. I looked at a bolt of white fabric, with its accompanying bag of strapping and D-rings, and put it in the workroom to age. Then she called and asked if I could wash the fabric for her, because it seemed a little stiff. I grumbled a little, because it was 10 yards of fabric and I really didn't want to have to go to the laundromat. Then I looked at the fabric. White cotton duck, treated with something that made it feel like cardboard. The label on the bolt said "dry clean only." I cut a test swatch, washed it in cold and dried it in a cool dryer, and it shrunk by almost 50%. I guess they meant it when they said "dry clean only."

Called and gave her the bad news that she would have a trio of chafed actors. She said that they'd have to deal with it, and that she didn't need the jackets until the end of this coming weekend. So instead of working on them, I made another top another pair of pants for the wardrobe. Today she emailed and said that the photo shoot for their publicity stills had been moved up to Friday at 7:00 p.m. and could I please have at least one jacket done by Thursday. As in tomorrow.

Well, okay, if I have to. The pattern was a "special needs" hospital pajama pattern, and it had to be made so that the opening was in the back and centered (the pattern closed on the side in the front). The sleeves had to be lengthened by 19", with 20" of strapping hanging off the front ends. The back has loops of strapping with D-rings, and 5 straps down the center with velcro closures.

The drawing she gave me only had one ring in the loop, and that's what I did until I realized that for the straps to hold, there had to be 2 rings, and it turned out she did buy me 3 packs of rings. I just wasn't thinking. So I had to pick the strapping off, which made it fray, so then I had to make more loops.

I finished the first one at 10:30. It took me less time the other night to make a pair of pants for myself. Maybe there's a learning curve and the next two won't each take 3 hours of valuable sewing time. I'll find out tomorrow night. I've had it for tonight.


Keely said...

Ok that's certainly up there for weird things to sew, lol. Altho a friend of mine did sew a gimp mask once.... that was weird!

stacysews said...

That's the most interesting project I've seen sewn up in a long time! At least it's a change of pace!

Linda T said...

Oh man, I thought I could get myself into some "volunteer sewing messes", but I think this tops any of mine!. Good luck!

Meg said...

Wow. I mean, wow. You are a saint for volunteering like this.

Elaray said...

Something I've always wanted to do was to sew for a community theatre group - preferable amateur. (Really) We should talk about this.

Berry said...

I couldn't believe the pics, I'm relieved it was for a play ;o)

Now as far as Paris is concerned you can contact me at lesenviesdeberry (at) gmail (dot) com. I should to be there the same week end you are... Let's see if we can arrange something.

Kat said...

Yes, you are mad for doing this ;) . But so giving and kind with your time. You are a great friend!

Connie B said...

OMG that is so funny! At first I thought you were making a statement about going nuts! The strait (straight?) jacket looks very athentic ma'am!

Ann Made Studio said...

Very unusual item to sew indeed, but now you have this experience to add to your "portfolio: :)