It is hard to believe I began seriously thinking about “Cinderella” just about a year ago. I knew it was on the “short list” for my Director, and I happened to find a really gorgeous tulle wedding dress (which we didn’t use) and so I contacted her saying “How serious are you about “Cinderella”?” While I couldn’t share her answer with anyone else, I did start focusing my own thoughts and research in that direction.
And, so, now we come full circle and I am going to wrap this show up. As life changes, I don’t have a new show in my future, which is a little sad, but, liberating as well. It is easier to focus on a show and costumes when you have a purpose. However, I am trying to create a new reasons to do creative costuming and move in different directions. I am going to try my hand at doing some video tutorials and video-blog posts for those people who prefer a visual presentation. You will find them on Youtube, under “Costumecrazed”. I am also playing with an Etsy store (also called “Costumecrazed”). I have some vintage things, upcycle possibilities, and eventually I hope to sell some of the costumes that I create. Both of these two projects are in their infancy and I am learning as I go.
But, to finish up “Cinderella”:
Jean-Micheal, the firebrand, is the love interest of Gabrielle. He is a new character in this updated version of the show. He is pro-democracy and is an advocate for social change. I imagine Jean-Micheal is socially below Madame and her daughters, but above the Villagers. He has an education and can read. Jean-Micheal does not attend to the ball, so he only needs his main costume and then something fancier to wear to the wedding (as he is now Prime Minister).
I had three different volunteers who created Jean-Michael. His main costume consisted of a blue tunic with split sleeves, a white peasant shirt, breeches and a hat. He loved his hat and wore it non-stop once he had it. The belt was something he wanted. All of these were constructed new for this show.
For the wedding, he switched to white breeches, a white and gold brocade vest, and a white and gold hat.
The brocade vest was made by splitting a dress up the front and adding some binding along the cut edge. My original intent was for it to be worn loose, but, he asked for a belt. I am not sure about the belt–it might have been better loose, or with a more ornate false belt. I think an attached jabot would have been a nice touch as well.
The Fox & Raccoon:
The Fox and Raccoon were puppets that I purchased via Ebay. They are the readily available 12-14″ versions. They were visible and worked fine.
My characters wore long white coats, gray satin slim breeches, white Colonial wigs, and white shirts with jabots. I attached clear elastic to the wigs to keep them on during their acrobatics.
The jackets I found on Ebay. We contemplated altering them for a cut-away look, or folding the sides for a more colonial military look, but, we ended up just leaving them as is. I made no attempt to give them visual characteristics of the fox and raccoon–some things you just have to let go.
I dressed the Mice/Horses in white tailed tux jackets, white satin breeches, and white shirts with jabots. The heads were made by a parent volunteer out of cardboard. They wore black shoes to reflect hooves. I rather wish I had added a feather boa for tails, and maybe along the top of the headpieces for a mane.
The Rip-able Jacket:
Madame, in a fit of cruelty, rips up the jacket that belonged to Ella’s Father. Originally I had thought to use a thrifted jacket and remove a sleeve and secure it back in with hook and loop tape. We also had a bit of miscommunication about whether this would be done by the prop person or myself. When I finally decided to just do it, I didn’t have a good jacket, so I made one.
I had a large piece of textured double knit that had been donated. I decided on the desired finished length of the coat and lay the fabric lengthwise with the fold at the shoulders (it had no up and down pattern or nap).
I slit one side up the center to the fold.
I cut a hole for the neck, and then dipped it down just a bit in the front.
I cut two strips for sleeves:
One on side, I stitched the sleeve strip to the robe. Then I sewed up the robe side and underarm. On the other side, I sewed up the underarm sleeve to the same height as the first side. Then I made the sleeve separately. I used hook and loop take to attach the sleeve to the robe.
In retrospect, I should have attached both sleeves with hook and loop tape, or, had the jacket “rip” down the center back instead. On more than one occasion the jacket was not pre-set well, and Madame could not find the correct sleeve to rip.
I used a scarf with metallic threads and some braid to trim the front of the jacket. The jacket was used as a prop, but could easily be utilized as a costume in the future, especially if the sleeve were sewn in.
The Bag for Rags:
In the second act, after the transformation into the gold dress, Marie calls for Ella to put the scraps of her ruined dress into a bag. This is much easier to accomplish if the bag opens easily. A piece of the textured brown doubleknit was sewn into a bag. Along the top edge, a piece of plastic boning was inserted into part of the hem. This made the bag open very easily, and facilitated depositing the dress scraps smoothly.
The Flower Girls:
We had two flower girls. We used two very similar thrifted dresses in a very pale green and a pale pink. These were shortened, and sleeves were added. Curtains were used to make overskirts, and a volunteer made flower wreaths for their hair. We purchased a pack of fake flower petals, and they tossed these as they walked.
The Political Figures:
The Throne Room scene where Sebastian and Topher plan the Ball calls for “political figures” milling about. I believe we had seven boys assigned . . . only three consistently remembered to show up (talk about wasted time making costumes). I limited this costume change to just the jackets as some of the boys were soldiers and some were Villagers as well.
This jacket was made from a blanket. It was folded in half top-to-bottom (similar to the rip-able jacket) and then cut into a “T” shape to make the arm holes. The jacket had the lining, the fringe, and the black border.
This jacket was made from some donated photography drops and embellished with silver braid. It was made using a commercial pattern.
This jacket was made from a red women’s knit dress and a table runner. The table runner was a little stiff, and the dress perhaps a little slim fitting, but, it looked pretty good on stage.
And . . . I think that about wraps up “Cinderella”.
Thanks for reading along . . . and Happy Costuming!