First off, apologies for the radio silence these last three weeks. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in my first conceptual costume design project of the year: King Lear.
Week five was MILLINERY! I was excited for this week – making hats was always something I’d wanted to try, and it would be the first completely new skill I’d learn at RWCMD. The 3rd year BA’s (who did it last year) told us that we’d get to choose three hats to make: one felt, one straw, and one covered. With that in mind I spent the weekend researching Edwardian picture hats – but how on EARTH was I going to choose?!
I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous going into corsetry week. Our tutor, Jill Salen, has literally written the book on corsets and as I’d made two before, I feared she (and the rest of the class) were expecting great things.
Fortunately for me, having made corsets before meant I got to choose a corset from another period, so I chose to remake these linen jumps from 1790:
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:
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!