Tuesday, April 24, 2012

May Day Costumes and Pattern Making

In Hawaii May Day is a huge deal.  It is a day to celebrate Native Hawaiian culture and it has been celebrated since the 1920's.  For May Day every year the schools put on elaborate festivals that the students practice for for months ahead of time.  They learn special dances and wear special costumes and receive lei's and goodies after the performance and then go home early from school. Our school has their May Day performance at the Polynesian Cultural Center in the big Night Show Theatre.It's a big deal. 

Every student is in the show and therefore every student has to have a costume.  Cue the seamstresses--I volunteered to help with sewing the sixth grade costumes and when I showed up I found out that for the girls they had one pattern that was for one size.  The pattern needed to be altered to accommodate some of the dance moves, and to make the construction cheaper and easier. It also needed to be graded (sized) to accommodate the 6 different size ranges of the 23 girls who needed the dress. No one there knew how to do this.

Being that I am new and still know very few people here I was a bit shy when I walked in.  I was prepared to sit back and be told what to do and to be a good little worker bee. As the gal in charge pointed around the room to each of the mothers who had shown up she asked, "what kind of a seamstress are you?" Some of them answered "I can stitch a straight line" or "I've made a couple Halloween costumes" or "as long as I have a good pattern and instructions I think I can figure it out". 

I was a little flustered trying to think fast about how I should respond.  Should I be shy and humble? Should I be proud and honest? Would they think I was bragging? Should I be upfront and tell them I could do patternwork? Should I let them figure it out so that if something goes wrong I don't get the finger pointed at me?

That's when her finger pointed at me, "And what kind of a seamstress are you?"

Without much more thought I shyly and honestly blurted, "Professional." Yikes, what had I done?

I suppose it is lucky that I don't have a sub job today because it's time to pull out the pattern paper, mechanical pencils, hip curve, L-square, 24" & 12" vary form curves and my 18"x 2" c-thru ruler. I've got some work to do.

(I'm so excited! I actually do like patternmaking a lot more than I like sewing.)

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