First up, a warm welcome to all my new followers! It seems that my millinery trim giveaway
is really popular! I thought it might be a fun idea for paying-it-forward in terms of streamlining things in the studio, and it appears i wasn't alone in that. Very exciting to have so many new readers, and for those who are here with a strictly-millinery interest, i'm sorry to start off with a post that has absolutely no hats in it. Hopefully the secret codpiece at the end will make up for the lack of sweet headwear.
And, because there are so many new followers, I think i should reiterate what the Period Pattern posts are before i dive into photos. I teach in the Costume Production MFA program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our graduate students learn the many skills and arts of taking a costume design from rendering to reality for professional theatre/TV/film, and one of the ways in which that happens is through the series of period pattern classes, taught by our program head, Judy Adamson.
The class this semester is colloquially known as "Gothic to Revolution", and it focuses on the major silhouettes throughout those eras. The students trade off doing menswear and women's attire, and they select their own research images for the exact looks they want to reproduce (which are subject to approval by the professor, of course).
When I post photos of these projects, every so often the question comes up as to why the students often make the projects on the half. There are several reasons for the half-drape phenomenon.
First, they have only two weeks for each project, and in that time must create the pattern from scratch, using their knowledge of draping, drafting, and period research. Then they must make it in fabrics as close as they can find to the original, taking into consideration concerns for the stage, such as what sort of understructure might be required, and how an actress might negotiate getting in and out of the garment.
They work at full-scale, and the students must decide for themselves what an acceptable budget for the costume is. Because the garments are made on the half much of the time, students only have to buy half the fabric required, and that's a big deal for most graduate students living on a fixed income. And, sometimes this allows them to choose better quality fabrics to work with, because they don't have to buy as much as a full dress. With a half-drape, you do half the sewing and half the hand-finishing, and when you're making one every two weeks on top of your other coursework, teaching assistantship, and professional show assignments, saving the time/money can be a great boon.
Of course, they are always free to make their projects on the whole as full garments, and most of them elect to do so at least once or twice a semester. Sometimes this is because they have chosen an asymmetrical resource image/design, and sometimes it's because they want to do a particular piece as a complete garment for entry in a national competition or exhibition, or on commission.
So, that's the logic behind only requiring the half for these projects. You'll see in this collection though, one student with sideless gown elected to do it as a full costume, on commission for a friend who does reenactor activities.
From left: loden green tunic and hose by third year graduate Colleen Dobson, brown robe/hose/hooded cowl by second year graduate Erin Abbenante
, sideless gown and underdress by third year graduate Denise Chukhina
, rust velveteen gown by third year graduate Corinne Hodges
, fur-trimmed sideless surcoat by second year graduate Katie Keener
Here's a detail shot that illustrates the sleeve construction on Corinne's dress
and the antique bullion trim at the front of Katie's surcoat.
And, scandalous, i thought i ought to point out that Colleen went to the trouble to pattern and construct a functional codpiece for the hose on her guy!
Speaking of Colleen, some major kudos are in order! I'll just quote from the official announcement:
Please join us in congratulating third-year MFA candidate Colleen Dobson who has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Barbara Matera Award for Costume Making. Colleen will be presented one of USITT’s prestigious Awards for Young Designers & Technicians in the Performing Arts at the Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio March 18-21, 2015.
The portfolios of the applicants were adjudicated by dedicated costume makers within the USITT membership. Colleen’s submitted portfolio of coursework and costumes made for PRC productions are undoubtedly deserving of this award.
Second year grad Katie Keener will also be traveling to USITT this year to participate in the Costume Commission Poster Session's juried exhibition. I'm so proud of Colleen, Katie, and all our students.