On Thursday April 5th approximately 50 members of the Toronto Guild of Stitchery met at the National Ballet of Canada for a specially design tour of their costumes and workshops.   With great anticipation our group was divided into two groups and I joined the first group lead by Marjory Fielding Wardrobe Supervisor.  We entered a hallway of wardrobes bulging with costumes and on the walls were spectacular sketches and water colour paintings of costume proposals from current and previous ballet performances.  Marjory helped us enter the world of ballet.  The costumes are a collaboration of talents resulting in sketches that become patterns and emerge into the incredible complex costumes that are worn by athletic dancers who create magic before our eyes. We entered a light filled workshop with many costumes suspended from the ceiling.  There were multiple workstations and large work surfaces with patterns ready for constructions and irons with cords suspended from the ceiling. There were of course many mannequins in a full body form as well as heads.   Costumes were a study in glitz and glamour.  They were hand painted and made of every kind of material imaginable, even chain maille.  We saw a variety of whimsical hats and Marjory showed us the mesh inside the hat that bobby pins secure it to the wearers’ head.  We saw a wall of individual compartments of buttons.  It was a feast for the eyes.  We entered a room of fabrics all tagged with identification of the show and the year the costumes were created.   There was a gasp from our group.  We were in awe.  This fabric inventory is important as many of the fabrics from possibly forty years ago or more would no longer be available.   The fabrics are necessary to make alterations to fit the different sized performers as well as to make repairs due to general wear and tear.  I think the finale was a visit to the wardrobe storage room.  This was a massive room filled with large wardrobes, clothing racks and large storage containers of costumes from many, many shows.  These costumes are borrowed by ballet companies around the world.  It was fascinating.  We observed a box titled “How to make a tutu”.  Of course we were overcome with curiosity and needed a short lesson from Marjory.  We saw many examples of foot ware.  There were slippers of course, boots created as slippers, high heel shoes etc. At the conclusion of our tour a guild member asked about the fabric scraps left behind from these wonderful creations.  Marjory thrilled our group by bringing out the scraps for our members to help themselves. Our tour was a great success and we had a wonderful time that won’t be forgotten.



1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous and interesting outing! Thanks for sharing and posting pics.


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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

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