July 17, 2015

Doctor Dolittle (Part I)

Photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Big news!  I've moved!  Boxed up everything and traveled two doors down to a new bedroom.  Formally our crib room, the 8.5' by 8.5' feet space is cozy and comfortable!  Took me all week to sort, deep clean and move in, but now that the room is fully decorated to my liking, I am very happy (and looking forward to sewing again)!

Why the change you may be asking?  We're hosting an exchange student from Germany this year beginning in early August!!  Lisa & my sister, Maria, both being the same age and having similar interests, will be bunking together in the big room.  Such a great opportunity for cultural exchange & connection - yippee!

The exciting and new news aside, time to get back into the swing of past posts... Today it's the first of three throw-backs to my senior show & highlight of my high school portfolio.  Of course all of this was done before the internship, so, looking back on it now, it is positive proof of how far I've come in my understanding of period clothing, fabrics & construction techniques.

Cast photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Along with YOHP's Christmas Carol High School, Stage's Doctor Dolittle (2013), directed by Dianne Schaumberg, kept me busy senior year!  In addition to a few other responsibilities as the student costumer, I was placed in charge of designing and creating the lead female's costumes (as well as her backstage quick changes)!  At the time, I was ecstatic - never before had I been given such a chance to showcase and prove my worth as a costumer.  It was a lot to juggle with a full course-load at school, but I am so pleased at how everything eventually worked out!  Enjoy!

Doctor Dolittle (Part I): Underthings

First things first, I knew even back then that before I could dig into pretty dresses and trims, Emma (the lead character) needed some undergarments.  Ms. Shearer, the head costumer, found a sparkly, pink corset at a thrift store - not historically accurate, but worked for the "shipwrecked scene" - and light pink drawers to fit the young actress.

"Shipwreck" photograph courtesy of STAGES.

Next, instead of an itchy mesh crinoline, I suggested a hooped petticoat.  Ms. Shearer agreed having been familiar with the other hoops I've built for the stage.  Made from thrifted cotton sheets, tubing and connectors from the neighborhood hardware store (great place, I used to cashier/clean there!), Emma's two hooped petticoats were durable enough for plenty of onstage use and reuse.  (In fact, they're still being used at Stages, most recently in their production of Little Women.) 

Preliminary sketch. 
Pink Striped Hoop:  Mainly used for practices and as a prop.  (However, since then, it has seen much more stage time!)

A cleverly placed extension piece had to be added for length.

Ivory Hoop:  The hoop skirt Emma used during the performances.  Pinked the edges of the ivory taffeta ruffles to gather around the 90" circumference.  (Later, to make the hoop more adjustable and reusable, I stitched closures at different measurements along the waistband and trimmed the ruffle up a few inches off the floor.)

Finally, to smooth over the rungs in the hoop skirts, an over-the-hoop petticoat was a requirement!  

And that will finish the past project installment for today.
Next up: Emma's Act I Costumes.  Thanks for reading!

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