MA Week 3: Britches ‘n Hose

Costume Construction, RWCMD

Teehee, I love a good pun. Sorry guys – I didn’t even make any hose (though some of the other girls did and the results were fantastic), but I really couldn’t help myself. Anyway, yes, britches (or breeches) and hose! Or as this week was actually titled, men’s pattern cutting. We worked from a book called Pattern Cutting for Men’s Costume by Elizabeth Friendship, and it’s a similar method to how I drafted Ben’s tailcoat pattern at NCC. Instead of drafting straight to a specific pattern, though, we started with basic blocks and adapted those to different period patterns throughout the week.

We started on Monday by drafting blocks for bodices, sleeves, and trousers:

men's basic blocks

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Absolutely Frilling (& Pants-tastic)

Costume Construction, RWCMD

The shirt is FINISHED! The final button-loop got sewn on Friday afternoon, halfway through making up a pair of ethnic trousers (we’ll get to those in a minute). Day two and three of shirt construction went much smoother than day one – getting over my cold and having slept better probably had a lot to do with it. And you know what? The gussets really weren’t so bad the second time round. Behold!

Getting Shirty: The Sequel

Costume Construction, RWCMD

So when I saw square cutting on the timetable for week 2, I assumed it was something I’d never done before. Turns out I have done it and just never knew that’s what it was called – which is silly in retrospect, as it literally is cutting squares:

men's shirt 1680-1800

Adventures in MA Costume Design

Costume Construction, RWCMD

ID photoI probably should have mentioned earlier, but this year I’m undertaking in MA in Theatre Design at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. I had my interview back in May, and while I had a great time talking about my work, I walked out thinking there was no way they’d take me. My lack of formal art training seemed to be a real sticking point at the time – I guess it didn’t bother them too much since I received an unconditional offer about a month later.

French Revolutionary Fashion: Accessories of War, Part 2

Costume History, Fashion History

We left off with the bonnet rouge, or the red cap of liberty, being adopted as an accessory of the French Revolution that represented the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

Louis XVI in bonnet rouge

Caricature of Louis XVI wearing the red cap of liberty

But what happens when you assign so much political significance to an article of clothing? The meaning shifts, and soon the bonnet rouge came to represent something else altogether. What began as a symbol of resistance to oppression, a sartorial call to arms, soon became a form of protection: moderates took to wearing the bonnet rouge during the Reign of Terror to mask their true political leanings, lest they be denounced as aristocrats and sentenced to the guillotine. Even Louis XVI donned the Pyrigian cap during the invasion of the Tuilleries Palace by Parisian sans-culottes in 1792, as illustrated in this reworked engraving (right).