In August, Scott Thomas asked if I’d help with the set design for “A Christmas Carol”. He’s directing it for the Saint John Theatre Company and it will be performed at the Imperial Theatre November 17 – 19, 2011. He was looking for a set that brought the story closer to the audience, and that could be used for both indoor and outdoor scenes. I know that there will be a few minor adjustments, but here is what I gave them to start with. The maquette is 1/2″ to 1′. I am looking forward to seeing the show!
Set Design Maquette for "A Christmas Carol" November 2011
Bit by bit, it’s starting to come to life… still much more to be done. While Brenda sewed the body of the bolero together. We’ve now for some strapping and buckles, the box-pleating along the edge, and piping next to it. I’m quite pleased at how well it’s coming together. We still have more details to add including another layer of ribbon detail next to the piping, and some strapping at the shoulders (which will have to go on as we put the sleeves on). I’m quite please at how the shape on the back turned out but I don’t have a photo of that yet. This will have to to:
I also started to figure out the shape of the cuffs – which will be multi-layered…
Before anything, Brenda and I needed to mock up a pattern for the spats. We’ve used some old fabric and have settled on a basic shape (which took a couple of tries to get to). The spats will be made out of a musty gray-green flocked material and we have some great buttons for them.
Brenda and I totally lucked out by finding some great fabric on sale at Fabricville for a mere dollar/meter. My goal was “awesome lining” as I’m a total sucker for that sort of thing. I had worked out a concept sketch of the bolero earlier the other week and Brenda taught me how to convert a concept into an actual pattern. She took on the tough job of adding the buckles etc to the main section while I got started on 420″ of box pleats (which, by the way, wound up taking a total of 7 hours to complete, but was totally worth it!)
It’s a challenge to get a lot done when you can only get together for a few hours each week. Tonight we worked on the goggles and the hat and made a bit of progress with each. Here’s Brenda’s wonderful work on the hat:
As for the goggles, we’ve decided to go with the tops of spice cannisters, held together with screws and bolts and an L-bracket (with a bit of extra bend to it). We fashioned leather sides and straps to it. Next step will be to add some of the embellishments, but at least it’s a start that we are happy with…
Since we needed to pick up some crin for the bottom of the skirt (before we hem it), we decided to start on the hat. Admittedly, Brenda and I are both pretty excited about this part of the costume and wanted to get it started. Brenda started by designing the brim while I worked on building the cage.
We’ve opted to do a short bustle skirt. Here it is in progress. We still have to hem it, add some buckles and a handful of buttons (at the top). It will be shorter than the cage underneath it in order to let the cage show a bit (more so at the front)
It was akin to doing a logic puzzle. Brenda & I had made the necessary adjustments to the corset pattern and spent a good deal of time trying to fit all of the pieces onto the piece of coutil that we’d dyed. Once we got it cut out, it was time to start sewing things together. We put an order in to Farthingale’s for some spiral steel bones and a busk.
Coutil is a heavy & very tightly woven cotton that is used for making corsets. It’s fairly expensive, so Brenda suggested that she had a piece that we could use. Unfortunately it was white, and that would not suit the Steampunk costume at all. We picked up some black fabris dye and wound up with a lovely warm brownish gray…
Well our mockup has been very handy. By making it and trying it on, we have realized that we need to really re-work some of the pattern. We’re going to make the waist area smaller, and we’ll need to increase the room and height in the bust cups.