Try a Historical Fashion Design Workshop

Here’s something for all ages to try.

The aim is to design a modern or a period outfit that reflect the influence of at lest one period’s fashions in the past. Your designs could make an interesting wall display or an online portfolio.

modern ruff - Google Search | Elizabethan clothing, Tudor fashion

MATERIALS: Images of male & female figures in historical costume. One timeline is available here, but much more can be located by researching on the internet.

Coloured paper/cloth etc for creating 2D costumes and accessories (could be anything e.g. scraps cut from magazines or old clothes, photos, paper doilies, newspapers, ribbon, lace etc.)

Glue and scissors & some coloured pens and pencils.

Getting to work:

  • Work alone or with others.
  • Choose one era for inspiration.   Look carefully at your chosen pair of period figures and research some other examples via the internet.  You might like to consider these areas before you begin your own design:
    • Type of fabrics used
    • Colours & patterns
    • Accessories such as hats, shoes, belts, jewellery, gloves, swords…
    • Underclothes
    • The parts of the body emphasized by the designs of a particular period for men and for women.
  • Create your own design with notes about when and where it might be worn, possible fabrics and trims or accessories, and how it relates to your period inspiration.

FINAL DISPLAY: Collect your designs in a folder or on your wall. You could photograph them and create an online display to share with your friends.

 Underclothes are particularly important because they create the characteristic body shapes of the different periods, emphasising different parts of the body. For example, the emphasis of the Elizabethan bum roll is pretty obvious. If you compare the shapes of clothes from different periods, you’ll see that this emphasis changes all the time.