This project has required a lot of dedication and has been very stressful but ultimately rewarding. At reaching its end I feel it was definitely the best unit choice for me and I have developed my abilities further than I thought would be possible. I think I have achieved my goals which I set in my learning agreement, at the beginning of the project, and feel much more prepared for level 6. I am a lot more confident about my skills in pattern drafting and cutting on the stand and feel more able to problem solve and make my own decisions about the direction of my work. I have also developed my knowledge of women's clothing in the 19th century a huge amount, creating a file of my research, as well as my advancing my construction ability, due to the high standard of finishing on the National Theatre piece.
I have improved my planning,and found it interesting, and challenging, to construct my own time management frame, not having constant guidance as to what stage I should be at with my work. I think I may have possibly taken on almost too much work, as I have been non stop everyday throughout the project and felt much more pressure than on previous units. However this has also pushed me to work faster and prioritise. Looking back on what I have achieved in the time frame, I think I have picked up speed in the way that I work, without loosing any quality. Having said this I have only kept one of my deadlines throughout the project, and this was because I took the mannequin home over Easter. This has made me consider where I might have gone wrong, and was possibly because I was a bit ambitious with joining the two separate projects, the national piece being the major set back which delayed my last toile. At the time I found it quite stressful however now I am pleased to have done it as it is a nice piece for my portfolio and will look good on my CV.
Despite writing in my brief that only one toile was to be fully finished, I completed all three toiles to a neat standard to make them more presentable and clean looking for photographs. Although this altered my ability to keep to my time frames I am pleased I chose to do this, as I now have three completed pieces rather than just one, and it generally only set me behind by one day. Each toile was a challenge in its own way and I think I made the right choice in the patterns that I picked with Dexter, as each has developed my learning further, through varying techniques and problem solving. I have a much greater understanding of patterns and the way information can be interpreted from them, and have learnt to use them as a guide only, due to the changing shape and sizes, the design being much more important overall.
I think at the beginning I got behind partly because lack of confidence in my decisions and work, without a tutor to guide me when I was stuck, but later on I developed much more confidence in my own ability. With the reduced amount of tutor support, I really had to problem solve and come to my own conclusions. Finding that my choices worked was assurance that my ability to do the project was there and has given me more determination to try and work things out for myself.
I also feel I have developed my understanding of the appropriate fabrics to use for cutting on the stand and different weights of calico and how they relate to different fabrics, the more expensive pre-shrunk and washed calico being a step above normal calico for draping. As I am hoping to produce more period pieces next year I am pleased I to have more knowledge of what is available from the costume store and the way different items can be used to create the right silhouette, but may not necessarily be historically correct.
I did not find the project too pressured until the last week when I was really pushed for time, and generally it has been a lesson in perseverance and patience. Learning that mistakes happen or that a guess was not quite right, was one of the main things I had to deal with, not being under tutor supervision, and dealing with that frustration of doing things over and over until they worked. I feel this has developed my ability to work with stress and being able to carry on under pressure to get the job done. Overall I think this project had made me more competent as a maker and my experiences, developed skills and confidence will transfer positively into my work in my final year on costume.