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Thr 452 Advanced Costume Construction

T/TH: 11:30am - 1:00pm
Room: AC/W 17

Kathleen Donnelly
>Office: AC/W 220 - 424-7127
Office Hours: Wed 11:30am – 12:30pm; Tues/Thurs: 9:45am – 10:45am


TEXT:  There is no assigned text for this course. A list of related texts used throughout the course is listed under the Bibliography at the end of the syllabus.


Based on goals established by the Theatre Program, the goals of this course, for the student, are: 1. To have a broad knowledge of the processes of theatrical production; 2.To develop a commitment to the pursuit of artistic excellence and integrity.

Theatre is a collaborative creative process requiring a broad knowledge of the human condition to be successful.  The importance of theatre in society is well documented, and understanding the role it plays in society contributes to the development of a well-rounded citizen.  Theatre, as with all areas of the Liberal Arts, is most effectively employed when it is built on a broad base of knowledge.


The goals listed above will be achieved through the following objective.  The objective of this course is to expand the knowledge of the student in theatre/film/video to the advanced techniques and skills in costume construction. This course builds on techniques and skills acquired in the basic Costume Construction course or through outside experience. The student will be introduced to both flat and draped methods of pattern drafting, and advanced construction techniques used in the creation of historical or Non Western costumes. These principles will be demonstrated and tested through projects and practical application.


At the beginning of each project, a lecture/demonstration will be given to familiarize the student with the purpose, demands, and techniques required of a project.


There will be five projects required in this class, some with multiple parts.  The purpose of these projects is to give the student the specialized skills in pattern drafting, and advanced techniques used in costuming for the stage and screen.


Consistent attendance is critical to understanding the process and techniques of advanced costume construction and pattern drafting. If a student is going to be absent for a lecture, they need to contact the professor in advance of the class, if possible. The student is also responsible for getting the material that was covered in the missed class, and be prepared for the next class. Two unexcused class absences will not affect grade, however unexcused absences in excess of two will decrease your overall class grade by two points for each absence thereafter.  Because it is important to keep up with the time schedule allotted, no late projects will be accepted.



Project 1: Bodice Sloper

Part A: Flat Pattern due: February 18th

The objective of the project is to develop a bodice sloper, for a selected dress form, using the flat pattern method of pattern drafting. The student will take measurements, and develop a paper pattern, which will be constructed out of muslin and fitted on a dress form. Alterations will be marked and the pattern will then be trued to achieve the final pattern.  Project will be graded based on accuracy, neatness and demonstrated proficiency.

Part B: Draped Pattern due:  February 20th

The objective of the project is to develop a bodice sloper, for the same dress form used in Part A, using the draping method of pattern drafting.  The bodice will be sewn together and alterations will be marked. The pattern will be trued to achieve the final pattern. Project will be graded based on accuracy, neatness and demonstrated proficiency.

Project 2:  Dart Manipulation due: March 4th

The objective of this project is to use the bodice sloper pattern developed in project #1a to create a new pattern based on manipulating the darts to achieve a selected bodice design.  The pattern will then be transferred to muslin, and sewn together for a fitting.  Project will be graded based on accuracy, neatness and demonstrated proficiency.

Project 3:  Pattern a Historical garment

Part A: Paper Pattern due: March 18th

The objective of this project is to introduce the student to the flat pattern (grid method) techniques used to draft a pattern of a historical garment.  The student will use as a basis a garment pattern illustrated in the Jean Hunnisett: Period Costume for Stage and Screen or similar book to create a paper pattern. Projects will be graded on accuracy, neatness and proficiency demonstrated.

Part B: Muslin Mockup due: April 8th

Students will use the patterns created in Project 4a to create a muslin mockup of the garment. Students will then fit the garment on a dress form to determine the alterations needed to the pattern. Muslin pieces will be altered to created final pattern.  Projects will be graded on accuracy, neatness and proficiency

Project 4: 20th Century Fashion Design due: April 29th

The objective of this project is to provide the student with the skills needed to construct a garment based on research and images of a design by a renowned 20th Century Fashion Designer. The student will be responsible for creating a pattern using either the flat pattern, draping method or combination of the design incorporating the design elements and details of the original design. Pattern will then be cut and constructed using appropriate fabric.  Completion of project will include research, and images of the original garment along with a journal of the steps used in the reproduction of the design. Projects will be graded on accuracy, neatness and proficiency demonstrated.

Project 5 : Project Runway – Design to Garment due: May 13th

The objective of the project is to provide the student the experience of creating a costume from a drawing or photo. The student can utilize either the flat pattern or draping methods, or combination of methods, demonstrated in class to create the pattern for this garment.  The student will then use the pattern created to cut and construct a garment using appropriate fabric for the design.  Projects will be graded on creativity, proficiency of pattern skills and costume construction skills.



Grading for projects will be as follows:

Project 1a   10%

Project 1b   10%

Project 2   10%

Project 3a   15%

Project 3b   15%

Project 4   20%

Project 5   20%



BIBLIOGRAPHY for Advanced Costume Construction

In addition to the textbook, the following is a list of books that will be used for material in this class.


Armstrong, Helen Joseph.  Patternmaking for Fashion Design, 2/e. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995.

Arnold, Janet.  Patterns of Fashion: The cut and construction of clothes for men and women c1560-1620. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1985.

Arnold, Janet.  Patterns of Fashion I: Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c 1660-1860. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1985.

Arnold, Janet.  Patterns of Fashion 2 : Englishwomen’s dresses and their construction c 1860-1940. London: Macmillan London Limited, 1985.

Davis, R.I.  Men’s Garments 1830-1900: A guide to pattern cutting and tailoring, 2/e (revised).  Studio City, CA : Players Press, Inc., 1994.

Emery, Joy Spanabel.  Stage Costume Techniques.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1981.

Holkeboer, Katherine Strand.  Patterns for Theatrical Costumes.  New York: Drama Book Publishers, 1993.

Hunnisett, Jean.  Period Costume for Stage & Screen: Patterns for Women’s Dress 1800-1909.  Studio City, CA: Players Press, Inc., 1991.

Waugh, Nora. Corsets and Crinolines. New York: Routledge/Theatre Arts Books, 2000.

Waugh, Nora. The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930.  New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1968.

Waugh, Nora.  The Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1964.


Tuesday 4-Feb Intro to Course/ Flat Pattern vs Draping
Thursday 6-Feb Project #1a: Bodice Sloper - Flat pattern
Tuesday 11-Feb Bodice Sloper / Muslin
Thursday 13-Feb Bodice Sloper / Fit and True
Tuesday 18-Feb Project #1b: Draping the Sloper Project #1a due
Thursday 20-Feb Project #2:  Dart Manipulation - paper pattern Project #1b due
Tuesday 25-Feb Project #2:  Muslin Workday
Thursday 27-Feb Intro to Historical Pattern Methods
Tuesday 4-Mar Project #3a:  Flat Pattern - Grid Method Project #2 due
Thursday 6-Mar Project #3a: Pattern Workday
Tuesday 11-Mar Project #3a: Pattern Workday
Thursday 13-Mar Project #3a: Pattern Workday
Tuesday 18-Mar Project #3b: Muslin Mock Up Project #3a due
Thursday 20-Mar Project #3b: Muslin Mock Up
Tuesday 25-Mar SPRING BREAK USITT Conference
Thursday 27-Mar SPRING BREAK
Tuesday 1-Apr Project #4: 20th Century Fashion Design
Thursday 3-Apr Project #4: Workday - Pattern
Tuesday 8-Apr Project #4:  Workday- Pattern Project #3b due
Thursday 10-Apr Project #4:  Workday - Layout and Cutting
Tuesday 15-Apr Project #4:  Workday -Cutting
Thursday 17-Apr Project #4:  Workday - Construction
Tuesday 22-Apr Project #4:  Workday - Construction
Thursday 24-Apr Project #4:  Fitting and Adjustments
Tuesday 29-Apr Project #5: Project Runway Project #4 due
Thursday 1-May Project #5: Workday
Tuesday 6-May Project #5: Workday
Thursday 8-May Project #5: Workday
Tuesday 13-May Project #5: Finished garment - Critique Project #5 due
Thursday 15-May Final Class Meeting
by Alderson, James M last modified Jan 24, 2014 11:01 AM