Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Commedia Costume: Guerilla Costuming #2

So I've got the hat and the pants done, now it's time to make the short cape and the doublet. The cape is super easy, I just grabbed a Halloween costume pattern and chopped off about 6 inches along the hem to make it more practical and to fit Chris better. More zillions of fiddly bits of ribbon were sewn on but the construction was easy.

Here's our darling Brighella again, so we can refer back to him

Now the doublet I had to think about a bit more. This is one of the challenges of working with a drawing--who knows how it really fit? Did the artist know anything about clothing construction? Luckily for me, the look of Brighella is iconic (white costume, green trim, etc.) so all I really had to do was capture the look, this wasn't going to be Super Period Correct anyway since it's meant for the stage. And had to be washable. And comfortable....

I decided to work with a zip-up sweatshirt pattern to get the overall basic boxy shape. None of my other men's costume or garment patterns were as basic as this one:
I was at first a little concerned about using a pattern designed for a knit but I think it had enough ease and a boxy enough fit that it wasn't much of an issue. I pretty much used all of the pieces as they were but I removed the hood and reshaped the front to look more like the portrait by creating a soft v-neck and bringing the waist down to a point. And then came more fiddly bits of ribbon:

Now, this pattern didn't have facings so I created my own by tracing the front and neckline of the back about 3 inches in from the edge and adding seam allowance. The rest of the construction was super easy since there weren't too many pieces AND it fit well once Chris got home and could try it on. (yay!) And even with such a tight deadline, I managed to get everything put together and pressed long before we had to leave for Lake Tahoe, all I had to in the car was sew on the buttons and clip all of the threads I left dangling everywhere.

Here's Chris, in the morning of first weeked. By the second weekend we had a black belt and a pouch but I realized that belting the doublet shortened it up too much (it ended up looking a wee too short anyway, even though it was technically the right length) so at some point, before the next show, I'm going to reshape the hemline of the doublet and add a peplum to give it more length.

And yes, of course I had to wash the whole thing (except for the hat) after each weekend since the dust just JUMPED onto the white fabric at every opportunity. But I'm okay with that, we took that into consideration and the fabric naturally is slightly off-white so I think it will start slowly building a dusty patina over time that's totally acceptable for an actor's costume. I mean really, the costume is being worn under the same conditions it would have been 500 years ago, right?

Here's the whole gang the second weekend doing a song set:

I would like to say I'm done with Guerilla Costuming for a while, but I have a feeling there will be plenty more opportunites in the near future! Chris is a happy camper though, and that made the big rush all worth it.

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