Tailored Waistcoat: Research

At Wimbledon College of Arts, the Costume Design course is run in parallel with Costume Interpretation. In the last term of 1st year they made a men’s tailored waistcoat. I watched my flatmate make hers with jealous eyes.

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So now I’ve decided that I’m going to make one too! I’m going to make mine fit me. The waistcoat I have chosen to make is from 1850-1900 (the stripy one on the left).

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1850-1900 from ‘Men’s Garments 1830-1900’ by R. I. Davis

I researched women wearing waistcoats in this period, finding fashion plates and photographs. I love when women wear masculine dress, so finding the book Women in Pants was fun though not very helpful in this instance.

1888 and 1889 from 'Victorian Fashions A Pictorial Archive' by Carlo Belanger Grafton

1888 and 1889 from ‘Victorian Fashions A Pictorial Archive’ by Carlo Belanger Grafton

1893 and 1896 from 'Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper's Bazar' by Stella Blum

1893 and 1896 from ‘Victorian Fashions and Costumes from Harper’s Bazar’ by Stella Blum

1890s, 1898 and 1899 from 'Paris Fashions of the 1890s' by Stella Blum

1890s, 1898 and 1899 from ‘Paris Fashions of the 1890s’ by Stella Blum

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1896 from ‘Women in Pants’ by Catherine Smith and Cynthia Grieg

I’ve decided to emulate this outfit from 1893. Loving the shirt and tie, and the matching jacket.

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1893 from ‘Dressed to Impress’ by Christina Walkley

1st year Costume Design

Well! My 1st year studying Costume Design at Wimbledon College of Arts is over! Unsurprisingly I have loved the design projects.

The first was an 18th Century play, The Mistress of the Inn by Carlo Goldoni. This was steep learning curve for me. I’d never done costume drawing like this before. I took the figures from period paintings and designed my costumes on top. I then coloured them using watercolour, gouache and black ink.mirandolina designs by phoebe robertsmirandolina designs by phoebe robertsmirandolina designs by phoebe roberts

I was then told to be more experimental and to use collage. I scaled up from A4 to A3 for my final two designs. I wish I’d had time to do the full set like this.mirandolina designs by phoebe robertsmirandolina designs by phoebe robertsThe second design project was dance. Director/Choreographer Lea Anderson was our tutor. She asked us to design the costumes for the production she was working on at the time. Lea wanted to take the attic scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, and recreate the movement on screen with a troop of circus performers. Our costumes had to be able to be worn by any performer as they would all be representing Melanie and the birds. My first set of designs were inspired by traditional Indian dance costume. I used gouache and black ink, painting paper and ‘pleating’ it before gluing it behind cut out sections.circus birds designs by phoebe robertscircus birds designs by phoebe robertscircus birds designs by phoebe robertscircus birds designs by phoebe roberts
At the final crit I was told by the tutors that they weren’t macabre enough. Lea used the phrase ‘sleazy circus’. So I went back and completely redesigned them for the end of term presentation. The next set was super circus, I sort of lost everything form the previous designs. My next step would be to integrate the two styles together to get something that encompassed birds, circus and the macabre.circus birds designs by phoebe roberts circus birds designs by phoebe roberts circus birds designs by phoebe roberts circus birds designs by phoebe roberts circus birds designs by phoebe roberts
The final project of the year was a mini film project. The challenge was to take a real person described to us by a fellow classmate, and research for contemporary costume design. My character was a 20 year old lolita style enthusiast. I made a mix and match wardrobe for her, trying to incorporate a little british influence (hence spots and tartan).contemporary film designs by phoebe robertscontemporary film designs by phoebe roberts
The tutor then gave me a ‘curveball’ for my character. In the aftermath of a nuclear explosion, when the populace has been evacuated from the country, what would my character look like?contemporary film designs by phoebe roberts
A very varied set of design briefs I think you’ll agree. I want to do more! Rumour has it the first project of 2nd year is a Shakespeare – I can’t wait.

Hello and welcome!!

My name is Phoebe. I am a Costume Design student at Wimbledon College of Arts in London. I love costume. I love films, TV and books. My favourite genres are historical, fantasy and science fiction, which is very obvious when you look at my Pinterest!

Having just finished my first year of uni I thought it was a good idea to start documenting my work. I love designing and making costumes, and through this blog I will share them with you.

I have an Etsy shop, BelphoebeDesigns, where I sell bits of historical costume. I’m going to be adding more products through the summer so keep an eye out!