Sunday, November 18, 2012


Our period show this season was The Would-Be Gentleman by Moliere. When designing a show, the first( second and third) thing you do it read the script. Then you meet with the director to talk about when the show is set (modern, the time it was written, etc) Auditions are held and parts are cast.

Designs are drawn using source material, like art books, costume history textbooks, made up stuff, basically whatever you want to use.

Fabric is bought, actor's measurements are taken, then the fun begins!

This dress form was padded out to the actor's measurements, Then a muslin mock up was draped and a petticoat and bum roll was pulled from stock.  We use muslin because it's cheap and you can write all over it with pencils during the fitting.

While the mock up was being make ( and we where working on 2 other shows) a custom made corset was being built.

The costume will be made to fit the actor wearing the corset, so the corset has to fit well, and be comfortable. Or as comfortable as a corset can be. The numbered tape is so the steel boning don't get put in the wrong places.

The back of the corset. A first fitting is done over the undergarments with the muslin mock up. Alterations are done to the mock up, the real fabric is cut out and the costume sewn together for the second fitting.

Patrice helping Carlie into her corset

Corset, bum roll and petticoat

Skirt and under panel

Bodice, with crazy mad sleeves.

For this fitting the hem was set, the sleeves were slightly altered and movement in the costume was checked. Making sure the actor could do all of the direction the director  wanted. Sitting, jumping around, bending over. Actor stuff.

The lovely Miss Carlie Johnson as the lovely Miss Johnson

And as Madam Jourdain


Ta Da!  Esther Iverson designed the costumes, Patrice Trower built the costume , and I took the photos. The whole process took about 2 months. For this show we built three other woman's costumes and six man's costumes. With a cast of 29, we built something around 85 costume pieces, pulled from stock maybe 40, probably had 35 hats, 29 pair of tights, at least 20 wigs! Oh, yeah, and a dog costume, wig and hat. Yes, people in theatre are crazy! Did I forget to mention, in the middle of all this, Esther went to Guam , for 6 weeks, to design a show as a guest artist? See, what I mean, we're nuts.


  1. Your skills make my head spin! That is a masterpiece of clothing. WOW!!! Not to mention that you and your team made 85 costume pieces for that show. Real professionals make it look easy, but the only thing I could costume is maybe a play with lots of ghosts.

  2. I thought the inside of the corset looked like a panda!! weirdo that I am. The costume - and the make up are fantastic!

  3. That costume is a masterpiece! re you ever tempted to borrow them and go to the pub wearing one? I know I would! x

  4. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh I am speachless, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    The sleeves i adore, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Cleve, clever, clever.