Spoken.ly – The Easiest Way To Create Pretty Quote Graphics, Fast

Standard

I came across an awesome new site the other day, spoken.ly. It’s a very simple concept; type out a quote, choose a pretty background and a font style/layout, and ta-da! Pretty little quote graphic, like so:

53d2a21ae3e3349607ae90df

53d2a4aee3e3349607ae90e153d1cd8fe3e3349607ae9012

53d31331e3e3349607ae91b0A lot of people are using them for song lyrics, inspirational quotes etc., but I think it’s a great way to throw out some show quotes when trying to advertise a play. So far I’ve made a couple for “No Visible Scars” and one for the upcoming Bygone Theatre production of “Rope”. Many more to come I’m sure.

So check it out if you want to make something pretty for your show (or anything else) but don’t have the time/patience/talent for trying it in photoshop.

-E.

Suicide: A Global Epidemic

Standard

Working on “No Visible Scars” has got me thinking about mental health issues and in particular, suicide statistics globally and here in Canada. When I started researching them I was shocked at how high some of the numbers were, check it out:

SuicideStatistics

For more information on suicide prevention and awareness, check out the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and be sure to check out the Promise Productions performance of “No Visible Scars” that deals with the subject in an open, honest way.

New York, New York!

Standard

A little over a week ago I received an unexpected email from the head of Promise Productions, saying she had gotten my information off of the production resources contact list, and was looking for someone to stage manager her show that was headed to the New York Fringe. Initially I assumed she had contacted dozens of people, and that I wouldn’t stand much of a chance; how often in this business do we get a call asking us to take on a job, let alone one that will give us the chance to travel to the Big Apple? Yet, here we are! On August 2nd I will be traveling to New York to work on “No Visible Scars”, so expect lots of theatre updates as well as a lot of excited posts about all the stuff we’re seeing and doing in NYC!

Before we head out, we are doing a free preview performance of the show, July 30th, 7:00pm; all the details can be found on our facebook event page. Donations will be accepted should you want to help fund our NY production.

All for now!

-E.

How To Make a Buckram Hat Frame

Standard

Recently I posted a blog on how to make a custom hat pattern from scratch, based off of skills I learned at my Stratford Off The Wall millinery course. Here is part 2 of my very simple how-to series on constructing a buckram hat.

How To Make a Buckram Hat Frame:

Step 1. Trace Your Pattern

DSCF1643

Step 1. Trace your master pattern onto the buckram.

In the last blog, you created a master pattern for the crown of your hat. If you haven’t already, make sure you remove all the tabs from the head opening (inner circle); this is to ensure you are always coming back to the same, original size. They will be added again shortly.

To make sure you trace it perfectly, try pinning your pattern into the buckram and through a piece of foam. Be sure to hold your pencil perpendicular to the floor so you don’t skew the measurements by adding or subtracting space when angling your pencil.

Step 2. Darts and Seam Allowances

DSCF1644

Step 2. Make sure to leave an 1 1/4″ seam allowance in the head opening. Don’t cut out your darts.

Now that you’ve traced your pattern, it’s time to add in a seam allowance and mark your darts. Add a 1 ¼” seam allowance to the head opening of your hat. Mark all of your darts and seam allowances. If you have large, cut-out darts like I do, don’t cut them out; simply trace the edges as these will later be folded over. When you’ve completed your tracing, cut out the buckram and add tabs again by slicing from the edge of your seam allowance up to the edge of your head opening. They should be approximately 1/8″ wide.

Step 3. Hand Stitch Your Darts

DSCF1646

Step 3. Stitch together your darts

Since it can be difficult to properly pin your darts (buckram is very stiff), it is best to hand stitch the tops so that they stay in place when you move to the machine. Make sure that you are following your original guidelines and are using the proper measurements. Extra strong thread, like upholstery thread, may be good for this step.

DSCF1647

Step 3. If you are having trouble holding the fabric with pins, try tape. Just make sure not to stitch over it.

Step 4. Machine Stitch Your Darts

DSCF1649

Step 4. Use a zig stitch on your machine to hold together the back seam and your darts

To make sure that your back seam and darts are strong, you will now want to machine stitch them. Use the zig stitch on your machine, keeping the stitches close together. This can be a little awkward if you’ve never sewn a 3D object like this before, but it gets easier as you go along. Make sure you have a strong thread and needle.

Step 4. A dart, zig-stitched together

Step 4. A dart, zig-stitched together

 Step 5. Add Millinery Wire

Attach the millinery wire

Step 5. Attach the millinery wire

Adding the millinery wire can be a difficult step if you have an unusual shaped crown like I did. First, bend the wire to fit the top of the crown, holding it in place with masking tape. This can be a tedious process, but it will add strength and shape to your hat and so is well worth it. Next, machine stitch the wire to the buckram using the zig stitch; on the one side, the needle should be going into the buckram, on the other, into air. It is very easy to break your needle if you hit the wire rather than the buckram or the air, so go slowly. I hand-cranked the majority of mine.

Step 6. Molding The Crown

Step 6. prep your form so  you can mold your buckram crown

Step 6. prep your form so you can mold your buckram crown

In order to mold your crown, you first need to prep your form. Mark clearly your FC, BC, SR, and SL marks, as well as the edge of where you want your crown to be. Again, mine was a topper and so was a bit unusual; it was high-up on the head and wasn’t parallel to the floor. If you are using a good hat block, this should be done on masking tape, never the block itself. Afterwards, wrap your form in plastic to make removal of the buckram easier. We used plastic produce bags; any thin plastic will work, including cling wrap. Be sure it is as smooth as possible.

Step 6. cut buckram on the bias

Step 6. cut buckram on the bias

Cut out a piece of buckram larger than your crown (give yourself a fair bit of room to make tugging easier) and lay it on your head. The bias should be facing FC and BC. Spray your buckram with water. It should be damp enough that it begins to soften, but not dripping to the point where the glue (in the buckram) washes away.

Step 6. pull and form your buckram

Step 6. pull and form your buckram

You will notice the buckram start to soften; now is the time to stretch it. Pull and smooth your buckram over your form, pinning it in place. Since I used a wrapped styrofoam head, I was able to use straight sewing pins. If you use a wooden hat form, you will need tacks or nails that may need to be inserted with the help of a hammer. Remember, you need just enough to hold it in place, all of these will have to come out again so don’t go nail-crazy.

The buckram will get sticky so be careful of your clothes and jewellery. You can achieve the majority of the smoothing by pulling rather than rubbing your hand over the surface, and this will help you be a bit less dirty. Once you’re satisfied with the result, set it aside to dry, leaving about 24 hours.

Step 7. Finishing The Brim

Step 7. glue bias tape to the edge of the crown

Step 7. glue bias tape to the edge of the brim

While your crown is drying you can complete your brim. Take a piece of bias tape longer than the circumference of your brim, and coat it lightly with a strong, tacky glue.

Step. 7 use the knife ridges as a guide

Step. 7 use the knife ridges as a guide

You can use a plastic knife to spread the glue evenly, and try to leave just the amount in between the ridges. Be sure there are no globs.

Step 7. attach to the wire

Step 7. attach to the wire

Once the bias tape is covered in glue, your can attach it to the wired edge of your brim. Go slowly and make sure you are attaching it evenly, and applying it firmly. You will be left with a smooth, covered edge.

DSCF1666

Step 7. your completed brim and the molded crown

Step 8. Removing Your Crown

Once the crown is completely dry, you can remove it from the form. Sometimes a vacuum is created and so you may want to enlist the help of a buddy.

DSCF1717

Step 8. Remove your crown

After you’ve removed your crown, trim it with some sturdy scissors to get it to  your desired shape. You are now ready to start covering your hat!

If you are putting light-weight or sheer fabric on the hat, you may want to try mulling it first. This is a technique that involves covering the entire form in some lightweight, white, flannelette. If you don’t think this is a necessary step, you can begin to cover your hat with your final fabric. But that will be covered in another blog!

All for now,
-E.

How To Draft a Custom Hat Pattern

Standard

On Monday I started my week long millinery course at Stratford Off The Wall; after only one day we’d already done a ton.

After going over some basics we had a chance to tour the costume warehouse at Stratford, including the upper level not usually open to tours. There we saw some amazing costumes, like this beauty;

Hat in the Stratford Warehouse

Hat in the Stratford Warehouse

There was so much to see we could have easily spent a day there, but our main focus was the hats. Even limiting it to that section, we spent a good hour browsing the aisles, each of us allowed to pick out one to take back to the studio and model our own hat after. I chose this cute little topper that had been worn in Guys And Dolls a few seasons back;

Hat from Guys and Dolls

Hat from Guys and Dolls

While my own hat has since been altered greatly from this version, it was great to see a professionally made one up close and personal.

There’s a lot of work that goes into making a hat, and being a novice I certainly have more to learn than teach. But in the interest of sharing knowledge and fun I’m going to break my lessons down into several blog posts, starting with this one. So part 1 in my hat how-to tutorial begins with….

How To Draft A Custom Hat Pattern From Scratch

Step 1. Prepping Your Hat Form

Step 1. Prep your hat form

Step 1. Prep your hat form

If you don’t have the luxury of using a wooden hat block, the first thing you need to do is prep your hat form – here I used a Styrofoam head. I covered the entire thing in plastic wrap and masking tape, making it stronger and protecting it for future use.

If you were looking to do a more fitted hat that comes down more on your head, like a cloche or a fedora, you’d need a form that is the right size for your head. Since I was doing a topper, it didn’t need to be as precise, so this method worked well.

Step 2. Make sure the form is protected

Make sure the form is protected

Step 2. Get Your Measurements
Measure the head you are building the hat for, and transfer those measurements to your form. You need to have your centre front, centre back, and size measurements, as well as your circumference. For detailed instructions on how to take proper measurements, consult the millinery book, From The Neck Up: Illustrated Hatmaking.

Step 3. Get your measurements

Get your measurements and oval pattern

Step 3. Make Your Initial Pattern
Once you have all your measurements, as well as an idea of the type of hat you’d like to make, you can start to construct your pattern. We used butcher’s paper; any study but light-weight paper will do. This is where some basic math is required.

Start off with the circumference of your head, or the size of your “head opening” spot of your hat. In my case, since it was a topper, it was smaller (higher on my head = smaller opening than the true circumference of my head). In my case, it was 19.5″. We were lucky enough to have use of our teacher’s patterns, so I had a ready-made oval that was 19.5″ in circumference. Without that, you’d need to make one yourself. Trace this onto your paper.

Mark the Front-Centre (FC) of your pattern, and then divide the number by 2, so you can find where your Back-Centre (BC) should be; 19.5/2=9 ¾ BC

Following the same idea, continue to measure and mark your Left-Side (LS), Right-Side (RS), and the halfway mark in-between those as well. You should have something that looks like this:

Step 4. Make your pattern

Step 3. Make your initial pattern

Add a 1 ¼” seam allowance to the inside of your head opening, and then you’re ready to cut our your pattern. Make a slit up the BC of the pattern and cut out the inside of the head opening (leaving the seam allowance).

Step 4. Notches
Take your scissors and make notches to the seam allowance, going in as far as your actual head opening; this is so you can attach the brim to the crown. They should be about 3/8″ wide all around the head opening. Now you are ready to begin shaping your brim.

Step 5. Make notches and fit that pattern to your form

Step 4. Make notches and fit that pattern to your form

Step 5. Shaping Your Brim
Pin your crown to your form using the notches. Tape up the CB seam. Now is the fun part! You can fiddle with the brim, deciding on how wide you want it, and if you want to alter it by using darts.

Step 6. Begin shaping your hat

Step 5. Begin shaping your hat

Step 6. Slicing and Layering
If you want to create a brim with some shape, do so by slicing and layering. This is an experimentation process; don’t be afraid to make a mistake. You can easily tape it up and go back to your initial shape.

Step 7. Shape your hat by slicing and layering

Step 7. Shape your hat by slicing and layering

Step 7. Complete Your Initial Pattern
Play with the slicing and layering until you are happy with your brim shape; I was going for a 1940’s look, so I created an exaggerated brim, but you can do whatever you want. Once you’re happy with it, be sure to mark the size of your darts and then un-tape the pattern and flatten it out. Remove the tabs.

Step 9. Complete the initial pattern of your hat

Step 7. Complete the initial pattern of your hat

Step 8. Creating a Master Pattern
To be sure to get an accurate master pattern, you want your paper to be as flat as possible; use steam if necessary. I then pinned it over my strong cardboard (for the master pattern) and into a piece of foam to make sure it wouldn’t slide. Trace the pattern remembering to mark where you will be placing darts. If you have large notches like I did, do not cut them out, just trace them. They will be layered.

Step 10. Flatten initial pattern and trace a simplified version on cardstock

Step 8. Flatten initial pattern and trace a simplified version on cardstock

Step 9. Checking Your master Pattern
When you are done tracing, once again add a 1¼ seam allowance and create your tabs. Then, cut out the pattern and pin it to your form, making sure it still looks right.

Step 11. Make final adjustments to your master pattern, fitting it onto form

Step 9. Make final adjustments to your master pattern, fitting it onto form

Congratulations! You have now created your master brim pattern.

More to come.

-E.

 Like this post? Check out my company blog, Bygone Theatre for related posts on a brief history of women’s hats and how to convey character through hats.

Nice Topper, Where’d Ya Grab It?

Standard

Tomorrow is the final day of my week long millinery course at Stratford Off The Wall. It’s been a long week, but we’ve managed to learn a lot in a short period of time. Once I get my notes all organized I’ll be uploading some basic tutorials here, as well as a picture of my final product. For now I thought I’d share some of the more interesting hats I’ve come across while researching ideas for my next millinery masterpiece 😛

-E.

A Tip Of The Hat: Conveying Character With Hats

Gallery

Check out my latest Bygone post – I’ll be posting a how-to tutorial on buckram hat making sometime in the next week or so.
-E.

Bygone Theatre

Every costumer knows that it is their job to create an outfit that showcases the actor’s character onstage. While every designer has their own method, it is doubtless that all put in hours of research trying to find just the right colours and styles. But the actor too can make small changes to the clothes they are given and in doing so drastically alter the meaning of the pieces, especially when it comes to hats.

I am currently taking a millinery class at Stratford Off The Wall. You can see some of my how-to tutorials on making hats here. Today in class while we were creating our patterns an interesting point was made; depending on the angle someone chooses to tilt and wear their hat, a variety of personalities can be conveyed, all with the same costume piece. Take for example, a man’s fedora;

In the first image…

View original post 398 more words