Archives for category: College Work

My latest project at Rose Bruford College was to create a nineteenth century period waistcoat. I wanted to create something that was
inspired by the nineteenth century line and cut but with a very modern feel.

I was greatly inspired in my design by the Martin Scorsese film ‘Gangs of New York’. I really liked the shape of the garments in this film because they were clearly a stylized version of nineteenth century design. I was inspired by the character ‘Bill the Butcher’ played by Daniel Day-Lewis. I found the idea of the universal gangster, the hooligan dandy, a really interesting concept. I wanted to portray this image of the threatening hidden by a thin veil of charming, yet I wanted to make this relate to the modern viewer and so I looked to more modern design to help also inspire me.

My plan was to look at gangsters from early Hollywood films to draw on a more modern tradition. I really wanted to use a pinstriped fabric, because although this is a more modern fabric than we would find being used in the 1860’s for waistcoats, it is very typical of the Hollywood movie gangster and it strikes an incredibly strong idea in our minds when we see it.

For the back of my waistcoat I wanted to create a contrasting repeating pattern, in a floral style to look like it was grown onto the waistcoat back. I designed this pattern myself, and created it using fabric paints and embroidery.

I wanted my waistcoat to have a kind of gambling theme and so incorporated in the repeating pattern for the back of the waistcoat are spade and heart images. As well as this I wanted to use the image of the king of hearts on one of my lapels. As the waistcoat was to be double breasted the lapels would be a big feature and I wanted one to be particularly bold. I painted the image of the king of hearts onto the white fabric for this lapel by hand and I think it looks really effective.


So I’ve begun my second year of studies at Rose Bruford College London, and to begin the year westart with an 18th century period waistcoat project.


To learn the key skills needed to create this waistcoat we created three half scale waistcoats of varying style to learn the techniques of how to assemble a waistcoat.

We created a basic half length waistcoat with no lapel (red and green check tartan), a second half length
waistcoat with a flat lapel and main fabric back (gold flower), and finally an 18th Century waistcoat with a longer thigh length front and waist length back and stand mandarin style collar (brown flower).

I felt that these three waistcoat experiments were a real success and I now feel that I have the skills I will need to create my full scale waistcoat, keep looking back for that one soon!

I just received my results from the first year of my studying at Rose Bruford College and I got a First.

I am very proud of my work over the last year and I can only hope that with my continued hard work I can manage to maintain this grade throughout my course!

To celebrate I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a picture of myself at our Summer ball wearing my Grandmother’s vintage dress and looking pleased, with my friend and fellow costumier Elizabeth Donker Curtius (left in the picture).

For our penultimate project of the first year, we had to create a period shirt based on a pattern consisting entirely of varying sizes of squares and rectangles.

The construction of this shirt required a lot of the skills we had learned throughout the year, be that on the kimono project or during our basic skills. I really enjoyed working on this period shirt project, and found I could construct the garment with fairly little guidance meaning I could work mostly independently. I think that the final garment is well finished and looks good.

To go with my 18th Century corset I created an 18th century hooped petticoat or set of panniers. To create this I first flat drafted a pattern by scaling up a pattern I found in a book. From this I altered the pattern to fit my model in her corset and altered the length to suit her height.

I made the panniers up in calico first and then once I had draped fabric over them to check that they created the correct shape for the gown that I had used as inspiration. The aim of the project was to create the foundation wear to fit underneath a chosen gown.

The gown I had chosen was from the V&A collection (right), and to create the shape of the skirt of this gown I thought panniers would be the best foundation to use.

I think that the panniers that I created worked really well and gave a very good shape. They matched the gown perfectly and I was impressed by my ability to scale the picture of the gown up to create the right width of pannier that would be worn beneath.

For my corsetry project I decided I wanted to create an 18th century corset, or stays as they would have been called. To do this I first stand drafted a basic shape for my pattern. Then I used this after balancing it, to create a first toile to try on my model, see left.

After my first fitting I had to take the corset in a lot and therefore I had to remove some bones to make it smaller. The toile for my second fitting fitted far better, see right. I still had to take the corset in a little but the changes

I made were minor or aesthetic and so I decided there was no need for a third fitting.


Once the second fitting was complete I went about creating my final pattern. I used this pattern to create my final corset. To do this I had to cut two entire corsets in calico and then again in the main and lining fabrics and from these pieces I would create the rigid corset.

I was very proud of the final corset I had created, I think it is a good example of my ability to create complex garments to a high standard. It fitted my model perfectly and I feel that the fitting and construction process has taught me a lot that I can take on to use in the creation of future garments.

The first project I completed as a part of my studies at Rose Bruford College, apart from learning basic skills and pattern cutting which were started at the beginning of the year and continued throughout the year, was the creation of a half scale Kimono. This kimono was a fashion kimono and intended to be created using the basic skills we had just learned.

First we had to flat draft a pattern for the kimono and then cut our chosen fabrics accordingly. The construction of the kimono came next, the biggest challenge I found was that because everything was being created in half scale the accuracy was even more important as the detail could be more easily critiqued. I chose a varied colour scheme which made the cutting process more interesting as I had to know what I was cutting on of and the pieces I would need more of.

I was really pleased with the finish of my kimono. I was proud of the way I handled my first project with relatively few problems.

In September 2010 I started my studies at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance. I began my degree, (BA Hons) Costume Production, which I am currently studying and will graduate in 2013.

I have just finished my first year of study which I have enjoyed thoroughly. This last year I have learned a vast amount and I feel like my skills in the production side of costuming have already vastly improved. I am already looking forward to the next two years and cannot wait to learn more.