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Historical Redesign – 3rd Year

For our final project in 3rd year, we did the infamous ‘Historical Redesign’ project.
This is a much anticipated project whereby we each pulled a slip pf paper with a historical decade written on it put of a hat. In addition to the decade we were also provided with a fabric that the we had to use- ours was a bright red viscose felt feel fabric. We had to redesign the characters of Astolfo and Rosaura from our ‘Life is a Dream’ in the style of the decade and with the red and black colour scheme we pulled out of the hat.

My decade was the 1890s- I was particularly pleased with this as I had been hoping for a late Victorian period. Of course this project was heavily research based as we had to really get to know our decade in order to design, and ultimately make an 1890s costume.

Due to the fabric and colour restraints, I was really pushed to create interesting textiles. I decided to explore two motifs as a starting point to build from; dots and marble. I explored ways of creating an organic, abstract looking textile that imitated a marbling effect. I looked at several techniques, ranging from sublimation print to hand embroidery.

This project was sadly abandoned half way through due to the Corona Virus outbreak, I got as far as a finished toile and some the beginnings of the final costume before our studios were shut. I hope to one day finish this costume, as I was very invested in it, not to mention the time that was spent in the pattern cutting studio drafting, altering and tweaking to make the toile.

I completed an 1890s satin corset with a lace trim, a full petticoat with ruffle back and bustle pad, a bodice toile from patterns drafted myself, a skirt toile with train, and finally, a handmade, fully beaded purse on a chain.

The purse was to be an accessory for the final costume. I knew it would be a hugely time consuming make, so I started to do a couple of hours each night right at the start of the project. I was adamant that I would make an elaborate accessory to compliment the costume after researching the arts and crafts movement of the 1890s, and the bespoke ladies accessories that came from that. I’m really proud of the finished purse, the bead work is so detailed and looks pretty impressive in person. It would have gone so beautifully with the full costume, had I been able to complete the project.