21M.732 | Fall 2008 | Undergraduate

Beginning Costume Design and Construction

Study Materials


Intro: who are you and who am I?

What is a costume? Why a costume designer?

Lecture: Reading the Play

Chekhov, Anton. “On the Harm of Tobacco.”

Baker, Georgia O’Daniel, and Helen Redel Pullman. “The Basic Figure and How Clothes Fit the Body.” Chapter 1 in A Handbook of Costume Drawing. Burlington, MA: Focal Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780240804033.

Basic Function of Costumes (PDF)

Reading the Play (PDF)

Stencil Rendering (PDF)


Lecture: Psychology of Clothes

Discuss On the Harm of Tobacco lists

Perrault, Charles. “Little Red Riding Hood.” (1697)
Baring-Gould, Sabine. “Little Red Riding Hood.” (1895)
Sharpe, Anne. “Not So Little Red Riding Hood.” (1985)
Phillips, H. I. “Little Red Riding Hood as a Dictator Would Tell It.” (1940)

Taken from:  Zipes, Jack. The Trials & Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood. New York, NY: Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 978-0415908351.

The Psychology of Clothes (PDF 1), (PDF 2)


Discuss Little Red Riding Hood and the idea of concept


Lecture: Script and Character Analysis; Research; Styles of Costumes

Discuss On the Harm of Tobacco renderings

Script, Character, Concept (PDF)

Research (PDF)


Lecture: Translating Emotion to Visual

Visual Conversation exercise

Line/Emotion exercise

Edwards, Betty. “Drawing Out Insight.” Chapter 7 in Drawing on the Artist Within. New York, NY: Fireside, 1987. ISBN: 9780671635145.

Boxes 5.A, 5.B, 5.C, 5.D, pp. 123-125 in The Magic Garment.


Look at research for On the Harm of Tobacco

Lecture: Elements of Design

Elements of Design (PDF)

Fig. 4.29, 4.30, 4.31 in Costume Design.

pp. 72-73, 75, 92-93, 95, 101, 123-125 in The Magic Garment:
Box 4.A, “Aspects of Line.”
Box 4.B, “Visual Effects of Shape in Costume.”
Box 4.F, “Historical Color Symbolism.”
Box 4.G, “Major Color Associations of Western European and American Cultures.”
Box 4.H, “Effects of Texture.”
Boxes 5.A, 5.B, 5.C, 5.D.


Rendering exercises

Drawing lab

Hamm, Jack. “Building on the Double Triangle.” In Drawing the Head and Figure. New York, NY: Perigee Trade, 1982, p. 45. ISBN: 9780399507915.


Discuss line gowns

Watch excerpts of Hamlet by Zeffirelli and discuss idea of concept

Hamlet.” Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Warner Brothers, 1990.

Boxes 5.A, 5.B, 5.C, 5.D, pp. 123-125 in The Magic Garment.


Discuss food assignment with preso

Begin drafting unit: bodice and hip block

Fig. 9.7, 9.8 in Costume Design.

Discuss Hamlet collages

Continue drafting

Begin cutting and sewing muslins


Discuss food assignment

Finish and fit muslins

Russell, John C. Stupid Kids. New York, NY: Dramatists Play Service, 2000. ISBN: 9780822216988.

12 Thrift store transformation workshop  

Pattern manipulation and drafting

Discuss Stupid Kids

Introduce sloper manipulation project


Lecture: Stylization and Abstraction

Wedding project


Color workshop

Talk about garbage project


Look at Stupid Kids sketches

Begin sloper manipulation project

Maginnis, Tara. Kiosk Man.

Look at group dynamics

Discuss final project

Continue sloper manipulation project

Goldman, James. The Lion in Winter. New York, NY: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004. ISBN: 9780812973358.


Look at Stupid Kids renderings

Sloper project


Look at Kiosk Man sketches

Discuss dynamics of play and characters in Lion in Winter


Open shop: garbage project brainstorming

Sloper project

Lion in Winter questions

The Duct Tape Guys. “Duct Tape Fashion Gallery One.”

Apparel Search Company. “Unusual Clothing - Tokyo Skirt.”

Apparel Search Company. “Unusual Clothing - Baby Mops.”

Apparel Search Company. “Unusual Clothing - Handy Support.”

The Scream Online. “Hats of Meat.”


Texture exercise

Pinstripe Olympics


Look at Lion in Winter preliminary sketches

Papers returned

Open shop


Present garbage project

Look at finals so far if needed

Open shop


Final project preso, Lion In Winter


Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2008
Learning Resource Types
Image Gallery
Projects with Examples
Design Assignments
Written Assignments