Friday, January 30, 2009

Ordination 101

Do clothes make the man? Or in this case, do they make the cleric? I ask this question because of my experiences over the past few months.

Isn't it odd, in the past three plays which I've costumed, two of the actors I've had to costume played priests. I know there is a priest in "The Sound of Music", but he must already have his wardrobe collected. I've now been involved in learning about clerical garb in researching how to make these costumes.

Here's what I've learned:

It takes a $1.30 piece of plastic to make a roman collar.

When purchasing these pieces of plastic in advance of the play, you must put them in a safe place, or you will not be able to find them when you need them. Somewhere in this house is a nice roman collar piece hiding for future treasure finding. I'll find it the day all these plays are over.

The religious goods store that used to be 2 miles from my home has moved to 30 miles from my home. (Needed to go there to by the second set of plastic roman collar pieces after losing the first set.)

You can take a cheap man's shirt, sew down the collar points to make a shirt to accomodate a roman collar. Apparently, frugal clerics do this instead of spending $40 for a cheesy shirt with the $1.30 collar piece already installed.

A new cassock cost $150.

A cassock has deep cuffs. What do they store in those cuffs? Are the cuffs used for pockets? My cassock will not have cuffs.

None of the priests at my parish wear cassocks anymore. My dear pastor said once he got too fat for the one he wore as a young priest, he never replaced it. He is anything but fat! And we celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest last summer. He's a peach of a guy!

Apparently, none of the priests that others know wear cassocks either, because we haven't found one to borrow.

Finding the old Butterick pattern for a cassock requires searching the back of the pattern drawer at at least 4 or 5 fabric stores. Finding out that Butterick pattern that I BOUGHT only put part of the pattern in the envelope was a big disappointment! Especially since I only have 3 days to make this costume, not 2 weeks to search for another pattern.

You can rig anything and cover your mistakes when making costumes. After I cut 4 back pieces out of the same piece (instead of 2) for the cassock, AND I had no extra fabric, I figured out how to use scraps to make the erroneously cut piece into the correct shape to make the back. Plunging open backs is not a look today's clerics, or even those from the 60's have/had adopted.

I can now advise Ty's Mommy from how to dress for her upcoming event as presiding minister at her friend's wedding in the spring. The Rev. Mrs. was ordained online and has her official certificate to prove it.

Why didn't I think of doing that? I could make a little money on the side, now that I know how to dress a cleric!

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