Specialist Practice: The Janet Arnold Award- Unit Evaluation
At the end of this unit I have completed a full historical replica of a technically challenging costume as well as a range of appropriate undergarments and a reflective blog and supporting workbook. During this time I have conducted first hand research by studying the original dress and used Janet Arnold’s book as a template for the pattern in line with the conditions set out by the Costume Society for entrance into the Janet Arnold Award next year.
The JAA has been a challenging project as I have completed it in a shorter time scale; as it is normally reserved as a project for FMP. I gave this decision much consideration before the start of SP but I felt confident that I could tackle this opportunity early as I know that my construction skills are at a standard where I could take on this project successfully. I am hoping this large jump from my last unit in level 5 to this project in level 6 will demonstrate my increasing aptitude for precise and skilled construction and push me even further as I go into the final practical unit, where I will be undertaking an even more demanding project.
I have worked very independently and mostly at home for the duration of this unit, returning for feedback from my tutors. The outcome of this has been taking on the risks that come from making my own decisions and using my own judgement. I have gone to great lengths to ensure my copy of the dress is as close to the original as possible and although there has been a large body of work to produce I have effectively planned the use of my time ensuring that I have not needed to rush any elements of the construction.
Speaking critically, I have made some mistakes during the process, some that I have managed to rectify; such as the organdie pleating at the hem of the dress, and others that have been brought to my attention by my tutors; such as the precision of cutting when working with striped fabric.
I feel that the dress imbues many elements of the original, due to finding a fabric that matched the proportions of the original dress and sourcing real antique lace. I have gained a lot of experience from working to historical specifications and this costume has allowed me to feel positive about making further period garments and crucially, it has confirmed that this is a pathway I thoroughly enjoy, helping to refine my personal set of skills.
Looking forward, this project has been an investment, both financially, and in terms of a body of work suitable for my portfolio-it will be a valuable tool in demonstrating my skills to prospective employers in industry and it will be a platform from where I can continue to improve as I move on towards FMP.