FIRST FOLIO! Much Ado About Costumes

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~posted by Ann G.

Shakespeare’s First Folio is still here in Seattle for a few more days—if you haven’t gotten a chance to stop by, consider getting tickets and coming to see it! The library hosted a program recently called “Make Your Own Shakespearean Costume”; we had stations where you could make ruffs, cuffs, brooches, beards, and crowns. It was a lot of fun, and not hard!  We used the titles below for inspiration, patterns and techniques (our projects were pretty straightforward, but if you want historical accuracy and detail, the sky’s the limit!). Enjoy!

evePatterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, C1560-1620 by Janet Arnold is the undisputed grand dame of English costume (she even endowed an award for serious researchers on the topic). Patterns of Fashion is part of a series of books that is based on surviving examples of clothing and accouterments. Here you’ll find patterns for both men’s and women’s clothes, details of construction, and 300 photographs of actual garments. It’s one of the first and most authoritative books on making an Elizabethan outfit!


Elizabethan Costume Design and Construction
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 This book is by an experienced theater costume designer, and focuses on designing costumes for theater. It also has instructions for men’s and women’s costumes, and specifies that it covers garments for all social classes.

Shakespeare mustacheThe Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing 16th Century DressThis is a book which will take you step-by-step from start to finish. It features 36 patterns and has detailed information on each process involved, including how to shop for and choose materials. Its strength is that it shows how to adjust the costumes for different shapes and types of people, and as you learn to do that you are also picking up how to adjust and create your own variations.

Tudor Roses. The reverse of the title page says this: “Being a collection of rich and curious works in hand knitwear inspired by diverse women of the Tudor Dynasty that ruled over England from AD 1485 to 1603; also including knitwear designs and sublime works of art and photography by Jade Starmore, and cunning works of jewellery fashioned by sundry scholars at City of Glasgow College.” This pretty much speaks for itself! Hasten thee to place a hold!

Shakespeare for Kids: His Life and Times (21 Activities):  If you want to make a slashed-shirt costume, with gloves and a matching sword, this book is for you. And besides costumes, it has ideas for all sorts of Elizabethan-era activities, including juggling, making a quill pen and producing period-appropriate sound effects. While they’re aimed at kids, the ideas here are easy and fun for all ages!

~posted by Ann G.

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