One of my favorite costumes to create for the Russian school play was the three Skomorokhi/Jokers costumes. Why? Because they were pure fun. Because I got to doodle with paint on a blank canvas aka shiny poly satin. Because the pattern making was easy and the construction even more so with my trusty Bernina serger (zip zip)! And as an added bonus - bells! on all parts that could jingle!
So I thought I would share the evolution of the costumes here... I started with my sketch. The sketch is mostly from my head, influenced by researching Russian costumes from fairy tales. Purposefully I kept the sketch black and white. As for any production budget is a huge issue and I was not sure whether we'd be able to use fabric from the school stash, score a donation or have to buy fabric. I gave up on the fleeting idea of piecing the garments according to my designs, it would have just been too time consuming and of course time is of the essence.... I was leafing through my costume books for an idea of how to realize my idea.. and found this! Photographs from the 1912 production of Snegurochka/Snow Maiden (Nikolai Andreevich Rimsky-Korsakov) at the Zimin Opera theater in Moscow. Brilliant! I just loved the painted or printed costumes and I knew that I could accomplish that quickly.Measurements were taken. My rusty pattern making skills were brushed off. The blank costumes were constructed.(and modeled happily...LOL) I ran into a bit of a problem at this stage as most paints I had were either bleeding too much or making the fabric too stiff. By stroke of luck I stumbled upon this blog post by Judy Coates Perez, thanks Judy! A quick trip to the local art store for a selection of bright colors and I was off and running. The painting has begun! I kept my original sketch around for inspiration, but wandered from it freely as my muse took me or for ease and speediness. I stuffed the garments with plastic sheeting that has seen many uses and the pool noodles made good stuffing for sleeves. Hooks in the ceiling are a good tool, sometimes it's easier to draw on something hanging instead of lying down flat. Certainly helps with drying! A bit more progress here. By the third costume I was really doodling! and wondering how my doodles would be by the 4th or 5th costume. I was kind off bummed there where only three... Then I got some fluorescent puff paint for details and stopped being so bummed, because this paint required drying with hairdryer and I was running out of time. Even my parents, who were visiting, helped out with the drying... Then I got my mom to sew on all the bells!Here are the three rascals all dressed up. And on the stage.