All posts filed under: Textiles & Costume

1760s stays with theatrical construction

Stay with me (for over a year, because that’s how long these 1760’s stays took to finish)

When I started teaching costume construction at Toi Whakaari: the New Zealand Drama School last year, I decided I should do some of the projects that the costuming students do as part of their coursework, so I knew how the garments were taught and constructed in the course. It was also a good way to familiarise myself with ‘my’ industrial machine. Every costume shop has its own ‘house rules’, and, while there are general method groupings, there are literally an infinite number of ways to make any specific costume item. Every year the first year costumers build a theatrical version of a historical style from the foundations out: boned undergarment, petticoat and skirt supports, dress, accessories, hat. Last year the theme was 1780s, this year the students are doing 1570s Elizabethan. I chose to make the 1760s stays the students make some years, as they have elements common to a lot of the different eras of boned bodices. Since we’re teaching costuming for stage & film, not historical costuming, they are machine sewn and use …

Theresa in the 1910-11 inspired Little Miss Muffet dress

The Little Miss Muffet Dress: Construction Details + Theresa Wearing it Gorgeousness*

I went to write a post about how fabulous Theresa looked in the Little Miss Muffet 1910-11 inspired dress at our photoshoot at Otari Wilton’s Bush, and realised that I’ve never done a post about the dresses construction details. So here is a dual-purpose, word-and-image heavy, post of Miss Muffet dress awesomeness! The dress pattern is based on a number of sources: a couple of pattern diagrams published in NZ newspapers in the early 1910s, as well as one in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion. It has a back fastening, the cut-on sleeves that had just become popular in Western fashion, and a two layers skirt. The cut and construction are fairly straightforward**: typical of simpler styles of 1910s lingerie dresses For the back fastening, I used lingerie buttons that face inwards, so no buttons are seen on the outside. A lighter fastening finish, with little hooks and domes/snaps, would have been a more accurate choice of finish. The under-layer of the skirt does fasten with domes/snaps: There is no fastening to the over-layer, though …