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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Polly wants a cracker... » » Hiding those buldges! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Richard_Moor

Just wondered where you guys positioned your loads. I wear tails for my dove act and currently trying to make the suit lie as naturally as possible.

I have an oversized tux and fortunate enough to have a slim waste but just can't seem to get the suit to lie naturally. Do most you guys position your loads high or low on the chest, deep or shallow into the pockets? Do you find it slightly uncomfortable when you costume is fully loaded?

Afterwatching old footage of Lance Burton and Channing Pollock it seems impossible for those guys to have so many birds loaded and look so slim.

Any ideas would be much appreciated.

PS - I have tried stiffner material and this would well at hiding the ripples in the jacket but I'm still finding it difficult to hide them *** buldges.
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1958 Posts

Profile of kregg
I take it you've never been backstage with a dove worker?
Dark colors have a slimming effect, the contrast next to a white shirt helps the illusion. Tony Clark has some great notes on the subject, both on video and in books.

Best Wishes,
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128 Posts

Profile of Darcy
It's important that your jacket is made in a V shape, meaning that it is tighter at the waste than it is closer up at the chest. This will also make it look much more natural.

Dave Scribner
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Lake Hopatcong, NJ
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Profile of Dave Scribner
Richard, after you load your birds, take a look in a mirror. The buldges aren't as noticeable to the audience as you might think. Certainly the jacket must be fitted correctly but from a slight distance, the dark material does hide quite a bit.

The V shaped jacket is nice if you have the build for it but more importantly is that it looks natural on you. Extra shoulder pads do wonders as well as the stiffener material. The stiffener serves two purposes. First, it gives the jacket a smooth look and second, after the productions, the jacket remains in the same position. Nothing looks worse than to come out on stage in a well made suit, looking trim and elegant, and leaving with the jacket sagging like an oversized suite. An excellent source for making the jacket is Tony Clark's "behind the seams"

Positioning of the pockets is a personal preference and depends on the type of production you are going to do. I've seen performers with the pockets right on the edge of the jacket, which often times results in a flash, and others with the pockets set back. The farther back the pocket, the longer the line must be. You have to compensate for this.
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Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Profile of Bob Sanders

Costumes are important. They are your image and your toolbox. With the need to be accessible and invisible, most people who are not professional costumers just don't understand the problems. Therefore, my first advice is to find a professional costumer. A major theater (not cinema) is the place to start. Several parts of the country have something like the Shakespeare Festival we have in Montgomery, AL. The pros there know their stuff. Tony Slydini actually made the costumes for many of his students. (I was not one of the lucky ones there.)

I don’t worry about looking “lumpy” but I also try not to look “lumpy”. The advantage of tailcoats is that they do not button at all. (If you found one that buttons, it is a service worker’s uniform, like a waiter or usher, and not a real tux coat. I see them on stage too often. Apparently they are bargains from the laundry and uniform rental service.) The other advantage is that only white vests and shirts are appropriate with them. (Otherwise, you might as well wear white gym socks and tennis shoes with them. The people in the audience, who know, will know that you don’t know.) The contrast saves a lot of problems. Even if you go the costume route (colors and other fabrics) for the coat and pants, be careful. Lucy and I have several shiny costumes as well as the usual blacks, pinstripes, and dark blues. With the shiny ones, lighting must be good (intense). Otherwise, they will have shadows. The light man is your friend!

For black tie (short tux coats), don’t button them. They don’t work as well as a well-made suit coat but they do work and they are cheaper. The advantage is the vest! In many venues they are simply a better fit with the circumstances. Since those are frequently shows in the flat (platform shows), lighting is usually bad. Avoid light colors. In the 60s and 70s we frequently had to work in white or pastels. It was a hassle.

My other advice is that in regular suit coats, stick to two button models. It gives you more room and access. They also hang, unbuttoned, differently from three button models. If you will notice, unbuttoned, a three or four button coat looks like a sweater. Unless you are Mr. Rogers, that is not a look that gets dollars. The accessibility is very poor also.

Pocket placement needs to fit you and the way you work.

Enjoy your birds.

Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
Christopher Moro
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751 Posts

Profile of Christopher Moro
Personally, pocket placement is crucial for me. Down to the inch. Sometimes if I get a pocket in the wrong place, the load will press against my rib cage and stick out more than if I were to simply move the pocket a centimeter to the right. So, I recommend taking great care in pocket placement. Some pockets end up closer to the edge, while others end up further back. It all depends on body type. There are some performers out there who swear that their costume is made so well (stiff, etc.) that they could place pockets anywhere and not worry about bulge. And while that may be true for them, it is not the case for me, and my costume is very well made. I'll second the recommendation of Tony Clark's "Behind the Seams."
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Louisville, KY
207 Posts

Profile of Crispy
I'm joining this late and am probably repeating what others have said, but here goes . . .

I think the main thing to keep the jacket from bulging is to not ses the top and the bottom of the pocket to the jacket. On my jacket, the top of the pocket is sewn to the jacket and then again in the middle it is tacket to the jacket. The bottom of the pocket hangs down freely. This also allows you to hang the next pocket up under the bottom of the hanging pocket above it. I also only have the upper "lip" of the pocket opening sewn to the jacket. The key to almost imagine if the doves were attahced to your body and you wanted to have the coat hang over them. Allowing the pockets to hang helps acheive this. If you don't allow the pockets room to hang down and sew too much of them to the jacket lining, then you do get the bulging effect.

Or I do hear they have an Atkin's diet for doves, if you have obese doves contributing to the bulging problem. Jk ;-)

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