In the bleak midwinter, folded paper made clothes………………….

So, this blog has been inactive because the costume studio was taken over for five weeks by other activities. The Petworth House Christmas exhibition   “A Feast for your Eyes”  needed eight dressed mannequins, and who better to ask than the in-house costume studio! The fun challenge was to produce them using PAPER (and a little glue and paint, and lots of folding, fun and more than a little ingenuity!!)

You’ll have to go to Petworth to see them in situ properly. The exhibition runs from 30th November until 22nd December – see website for details http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/petworth-house/things-to-see-and-do/events/christmas/

However, I’ll share a few of the construction photographs and some detailed close-ups with you to whet your appetites!

Getting the scullery maid to juggle her paper plates properly!!

Getting the scullery maid to juggle her paper plates properly!!

Sally Stripe (you can just see her skirts in the background) starts to take shape

Sally Stripe, a kitchenmaid  (you can just see her skirts in the background) starts to take shape

After Susie Stripe came Sally Spot (another play on a traditional black & white servant uniform)

After Susie Stripe came Sally Spot, a maid  (and another play on a traditional black & white servant uniform,                                                                                 and yes that is spotty PAPER that we have made, not fabric!)

This is the beginning of a pretty little Dairymaid

This is the beginning of a pretty little Dairymaid

And here is the Hunter for the meat larder (awaiting his wonderful paper wig)

And here is the Hunter for the meat larder (awaiting his wonderful paper wig)

By the end of the process the studio was full of colour and snippets of paper offcuts, plus other props being worked on by another team. In the following photograph you can catch a glimpse of one of the three  fabulous mannequins produced for the specially constructed  Winter Dining Room as the grand finale to the exhibition. Do come along and see them in situ.

The studio - but not as we know it!

The studio – but not as we know it!

Hope you make it to Petworth before the 22nd December to experience it all for yourselves.

DELICARTA – Bringing Paper to Life. Visit http://delicarta.wordpress.com to follow the progress of Denise Watson as she further develops the paper mannequin concept.

Happy Christmas to all our readers – see you in 2014, when needle & thread will regain their rightful places (if scissors and paper allow!!)

Workshop Day Photographs

Better late than never! We had a great day back in September with Barbara – here are our volunteers in costume as promised.

We discussed plans for next season – everyone is keen to carry on and develop their roles, with help and more information. So 2014 will see more and varied costumed interpretation at Petworth House, watch this space!

Working out the status line up - from low

Working out the status line up – from low

to high status!

to high status!

The men receive some instruction!

The men receive some instruction!

Our happy family!

Our happy family!

The men are released from the classroom - all smiles now!!

The men are released from the classroom – all smiles now!!

Our Workshop Day plans

We are busy planning a workshop day with Barbara Painter.

We are going to get all of our costume volunteers together (in costume) to explore how the season has been for them and to look at how the costumes should be worn and maybe brainstorm some ideas for next year! I’ll take the opportunity to photograph them all together – will post the photos soon!

In the afternoon Rosey and I are going to spend some time with Barbara exploring 1820’s dress design in more detail – so next season you should see the results of our deliberations.

Looking forward to a good day!

The third 1820’s jacket takes shape

This coat started life as a Warsaw Pact Army Greatcoat – and after a lot of manipulation, deconstruction, recutting and remaking it is nearly ready to make its appearance on the Petworth stage!

This is the second coat we have done as a remake from an existing coat. The advantages are two fold

* the material is so much cheaper  – about third of the price compared with starting from scratch, and,

* it is slightly quicker to make than starting from scratch. Although more of a risk too, as you are not sure (until you get the existing coat ripped apart and reconfigured) whether you will have enough material. So far we have been lucky, although on this coat some bits are made from a couple of pieces of fabric – but then a 19th century tailor would have adopted a parsimonious attitude to cutting out!)

We have nearly finished this jacket – here are the photographs from the final fitting.

Length & general fit are good, but..

Length & general fit are good, but…..

The collar isn't sitting well!

The collar isn’t sitting well!

The fit is good – with the exception of the collar which is far too big, I will have to undo this, remove some of the pad stitched padding and alter its shape  a bit. Happy Days!!

Then we just need to get on with the breeches, shirt and waistcoat…………………

An new upper housemaid is in the offing

The final fitting – just a few tweaks required with the apron!

Our next new housemaid at her final fitting!

Our next new housemaid at her final fitting!

Great side view!!

Great side view!!

 

Hope you like the beautiful floral dress and her fancy linen apron too! We’ll need to make sure that she’s not afraid of rolling up her sleeves and getting on with the work!

After this final fitting we  have to make a few adjustments – the aprons were worn under the bustline (empire style position), we just need to consider how we keep them up there!! This particular apron has not got a pinned bib which would have helped enormously – am thinking of adding a button behind the waistband somewhere!!