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Face to Face Version Syllabus 2005 | History of Fashion Design

Face to Face Version Syllabus 2005

2005 Fall THR F254 F01 Costume Design/Construction I

Catalog Description:

2005 Fall THR F254 F01 Costume Design/Construction I Tara Maginnis 3 Introduction to theory and practice of costume design for the theatre, methods used to make costumes out of a variety of media. Projects include simple hat making, mask making, sewing and related costume crafts. CRN: 75369

09/01/2005 -12/17/2005

Time: 6:30-9:30

Days: Monday

Campus: Fairbanks

Building: THEA

Room: 107

Instructor: Tara Maginnis 474-7630 email:  fftmm1@uaf.edu   web  site: http://www.costumes.org    Office Hrs:  I may be found in my office or the costume shop (room 107 of the Fine Arts Theatre) 1-5pm M, Tu, Th, & F other than when my meetings are scheduled. (not all known at this time, but Theatre dept meetings will be Th. 2:00-3:30 ).

 Costume Lab Hours: Monday 1:15-5:00, Tuesday 1:15-5:00, Thursday 1:15-2:00, 3:30-5, Friday 1:15-5:00

 Web site: Class Web Page: go to The Costumer’s Manifesto at www.costumes.org click on “Classes,” and then click on “Costume Design & Construction I”.   Photos that I take of you in class will be posted there, where you can download or print out the images.  Let me know if you do NOT want photos of you or your work put online.  A copy of this syllabus will also be online there, along with images from previous classes that you can use for study.

Textbook: There is no printed textbook for this class; however, there are free online supplemental materials available at http://www.costumes.org/classes/254pages/thr254projects.htm as well as an online class discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thr254/

Shows: All students enrolled in a theatre class are expected to view our shows, and you will get one free ticket to each UAF show, students working on a specific production get 2.  You may pick up your free tickets beginning 1 week before the show opening at the UAF box office.  Winter Shorts will play in the Lab Theatre Friday, October 14 @ 8:15pm, Saturday, October 15 @ 8:15pm, Friday, October 21 @ 8:15pm, Saturday, October 22 @ 8:15pm, Sunday, October 23 @ 2:00pm, Four Farces and One Funeral will Play in the Salisbury Theatre Friday, December 2 @ 8:15pm, Saturday, December 3 @ 8:15pm, Sunday, December 4 @ 2:00pm, Friday, December 9 @ 8:15pm, Saturday, December 10 @ 8:15pm, Sunday, December 11 @ 2:00pm.  You can also see Tara’s Gallery show 2DCostumes  from September 26 to October 7th in the UAF Fine Arts Gallery.  Sept 27, 5-8pm will be the official reception. Admission free.

Course Goals: To learn basic processes for design, research and construction for period and modern costume on the stage.

Student Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students should have an understanding and appreciation of the steps needed to get costumes designed, made, and fitting a performer on stage.  They should also acquire basic figure drawing and basic sewing skills, several specialized costume craft skills based on their areas of interest, and be able to make simple costume accessories by adapting existing items like shoes, wigs, and caps.

 Instructional methods (and related grading info):  Each class will begin with a demo where I will show you how to do a technique for a possible project this will typically take 1-2 hrs.  After the demonstration occurs, the class will split into two sections, the Independent track, and the Lab track.

  • If you choose the Independent track, for the remainder of class time you may either spend working on one of your projects and getting help from me in how to do them, or head home and work on your own.  You may choose from online projects, or projects demonstrated in class.  You will also need to work on projects outside of class time.  You should expect to do an average of 6 hours a week outside class. You may if you wish come into the costume shop during the times we are open to get extra help, work with our tools, or just have a place to work that is less awkward than a dorm room, or you may choose to take projects home to work on them.  This track offers the maximum freedom, but requires a great deal of self-discipline and ability to work on projects without much hand-holding.  Grading will be based on an accumulation of letter grades awarded for the projects and an overall grade for participation in the demo part of class. (See details below).
  • If you choose the Lab track you will stay after the demo, and return during Theatre Practicum lab times for 3 hours per week.  During those hours you will do both a series of very specific small projects with hand-holding by me or costume shop staff (i.e., Lorraine), plus you will do traditional lab work on the costumes for shows.  You will not be responsible for doing outside class projects at all.  This option requires only the discipline to be able to show up on time for a weekly time slot, but offers no freedom in choosing your projects.  Grading will be based on the assigned projects, regular class participation, and lab participation.


Lab Track:

Assigned Projects 40% of grade:

  • Bandersnatch Hat
  • Banyan or Cape as directed.
  • Rendering a pair of color costume renderings for REIGEN (Hands Around) by Arthur Schnitzler
  • 6 color renderings for R.U.R. by Karel Capek
  • Other small craft projects as assigned and completed in the latter part of Monday night class.

Lab Participation 40% Be there.  Be willing.  Follow directions.  Just like Practicum.  Torque off Lorraine as little as possible by avoiding rude or witless behavior.  If you can manage these things, a good grade is assured. Time spent should be roughly 3 hrs a week or 36 hours over all.

Class participation 20% means providing helpful commentary, ideas, and moral support to your fellow students.  It also means you are there for the demos.

Independent Track:

Grades for the accumulated projects are 80% of your grade. The format of this course allows you to choose project assignments from a series of categories to develop skills in the two main areas of this class: Costume Design and Costume Construction.  Because many students come to my classes with extensive experience in some areas, and gaps in other areas, this smorgasbord is designed so that a student may skip over areas that he/she already knows about, and can concentrate on developing new skills. How this works is that every assignment is “worth” a certain number of “credits” in either Design or Construction or both, depending on the nature of the assignment and it’s difficulty.  As a student you are required to finish project assignments adding up to 50 “credits” in each of the two categories, with a total of 100 credits overall.  This is sort of similar to the way you may have taken classes in woodshop, art, sewing, machine shop, or ceramics courses in H.S. or college previously.  A shortage of credits in either category will lower your grade for projects.  You can access information and handy how-to instructions for the projects any time of day or night at the web page of the online version of this class under the heading “Projects”

Points available for various THR 254 projects: 

The following choices are based on lessons we will have in the face to face class:


  • Rendering a pair of color costume renderings for The Proposal by Anton Chekhov 5D
  • Rendering a pair of color costume renderings for REIGEN (Hands Around) by Arthur Schnitzler 5D
  • Rendering at least 6 color renderings for The Lucky Chance by Aphra Behn 10D
  • Rendering at least 6 color renderings for Everyman  by Anon. 10D
  • Rendering at least 6 color renderings for R.U.R. by Karel Capek 10D
  • Rendering at least 6 color renderings for The Theatre of Apollo (1625) by John Beaumont 10D
  • Generating a Color Chart, a scene Breakdown, and Dresser lists for a production of The Roaring Girl, or Moll Cutpurse  by Thomas Middleton 10D


  • Furry Winter Hat 5C
  • Spray Dyeing and/or distressing 10C
  • Making a robe without a pattern (A “Banyan”) 15C
  • Styling Cheap Wigs 10C
  • Fairy Wings 5C
  • Baseball Cap Turban 5C


  • Fabric Painting and Mosaic 5D+5C
  • Period Shoe Conversions 5D+15C
  • Hot Glue Necklace 3D+5C
  • Buckram sculpture wig or other costume piece 5D+5C
  • Making a complete costume from a commercial costume pattern 5D+25C
  • Same as above, but Altering the pattern or design significantly, 10D+30C

Additional Choice that I recommend: 

  • Designing a real live show that happens in Fairbanks (Bring in the Renderings) 15D

Additional choices available from the online lessons:

  • Design Analysis & Renderings

o        Reading the Play 5D

o        Focusing on the actor: Rendering for “On The Harm of Tobacco” 5D

o        Designing in Cooperation 15D

o        Analyzing Film Designs

§         High Concept Films 5D

§         Realistic Films 5D

o        Historical Research 10D

§         3 Renderings for The Marriage Proposal 5D

§         6 Renderings for Patience 10D

§         6 Renderings for The Contrast 10D

o        No Color Designs 15D

  • Suit Conversions

o        Paint 4D+6C

o        Applied Decoration 3D+ 8C

o        Surrealist Pockets 3D+10C

o        Changing Collars 2D+8C

  • Masks

o        Plaster Bandage & Foam 5D+10C

o        Foam and Airball on a Plastic Base 5D+5C

o        Carved Insulation Foam Mask 5D+5C

§         or Foam Mold for Muslin Mask 5D+10C

o        Wire Sculpture 10D+15C

o        Muslin Mache Mask 5D+10C

  • Sewing

o        Renaissance Hat 2D+10C

o        Cape 5D+20C

  • Paperwork

o        Measurements 5C

o        Building Your Portfolio 10D

  • Millinery

o        Placemat Hats 3D+8C

o        Amazing uses for a Baseball Hat Variable Credits

o        Basic Bandeau of Buckram 5D+10C

o        Edwardian Hat 5D+15C

o        Hat Made Using Craft Felt 5D+15C

o        Craft Felt Sculpture 5D+10C

o        Straw Braid Hat 3D+10C

o        Thermoplastic Helmet Project 5D+10C

§         Non Toxic Metal Finishes for Armor 5C

  • Wigs

o        Beauty School Dropouts & Other Painted Wigs  5D+10C

o        Witch Wig into Samurai Lady 3D+10C

o        Extensions & Hair Rolls 10C

o        Making your Own 18th Century Men’s Wigs 20C

o        Chemotherapy Patient Hats 8C

  • Fabric Modification

o        Fortuny Style Pleating  5C

§         Make a costume using the pleated fabric 5D+10C

  • Foam crafts

o        Airball Sculpture 5D+10C

o        Simple Foam Headpiece 5C

o        Complex Foam Headpiece 5D+10C

o        Animal/Bird Foot Shoe 2D+10C

  • Other Crafts Projects

o        Plaster Bandage Breastplate 5D+10C

o        Make your own Geta (Japanese wooden shoes) Project 15C

o        Copying Period Fans 2D+10C

o        Sample Sheet of Antiqued Jewelry Finishes 8C

If you are interested in a topic or process, other than those shown, let me know, and I can try to find you a book that shows you what to do, or help you to do that process during the lab time in class.  Points can be arranged for projects of this kind as well.

Class participation (or alternatively Message Board participation) providing helpful commentary, ideas, and moral support to your fellow students is 20% of your grade.  If you find you cannot fully participate in the face-to-face class at any time due to travel, illness, or a show, you may participate in “virtual” form on the class message board during that week, and thus need not get behind.  The online message board is located at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thr254

Course calendar: The Tentative schedule for the demos is as follows (This will almost certainly change):

Monday September 12: Introduction of syllabus.  Explain about reading plays, what costumers do, general lecture about what purposes costumes serve. Basic research. Handout: Reading the Play

Monday September 19:  Costume rendering the way I do it demo.

Monday September 26:  Surprise project.  Will take the full 3 hrs for ALL students.

Monday October 3:  Bandersnatch Hats

Monday October 10:  Drawing Ruffles, pleats, feathers & fur (Bring pad of paper)

Monday October 17: Styling Cheap Wigs

Monday October 24:  Assembling costumes out of thrift store finds

Monday October 31: Planning and Paperwork (Bring writing implements).  Class will dismiss early to allow you to enter costume contests and pursue other Halloween activities.

Monday November 7: Baseball Hats into turbans and other fancy headgear (bring turban fabric if desired)

Monday November 14: Making a “Banyan” robe without a pattern

Monday November 22:  Fimo for small costume props

Monday November 28: Hot Glue Necklace

Monday December 5:  Spray Dyeing and/or distressing, Fabric Painting and Mosaic

Monday December 12:  Buckram sculpture wigs, etc.

Final Exam Period: Last chance to bring in projects.  Make and watch costume videos, share tips, etc.

Important selections from the UAF Student Code of Conduct:  “UAF requires students to conduct themselves honestly and responsibly, and to respect the rights of others. Conduct that unreasonably interferes with the learning environment or that violates the rights of others is prohibited…. Honesty is a primary responsibility of you and every other UAF student. The following are common guidelines regarding academic integrity:

1.      Students will not collaborate on any quizzes, in-class exams, or take-home exams that will contribute to their grade in a course, unless permission is granted by the instructor of the course. Only those materials permitted by the instructor may be used to assist in quizzes and examinations.

2.      Students will not represent the work of others as their own. A student will attribute the source of information not original with himself or herself (direct quotes or paraphrases) in compositions, theses and other reports.

3.      No work submitted for one course may be submitted for credit in another course without the explicit approval of both instructors.”.

Course policies: This does not imply that you cannot ask for help on your costume projects both from Tara and Lorraine, other students, or even your dear old Mom.  This is especially important in doing sewing projects.  Just don’t have that person do any major part of construction (minor ones are allowed) and then claim the work as all yours.  Specify to Tara those parts of a project you had major help on, and you will be graded on the work you could do by yourself, yet still be able to accept help on a small part of a project that requires more expert hands. If you did it all yourself, while someone was telling you what to do while looking over your shoulder, it’s still all yours, that is how you learn these techniques in this class.

Attendance, Punctuality & Common Politeness:  It is difficult to earn full participation credit (20% of grade, remember?) if you miss a lot of the class presentations, or regularly come in late.  There is no specific number of absences that is a “cutoff” line for full credit, rather it is the amount of time I see your shining faces, the extent to which you do or don’t participate in the demos/discussions, and above all, the frequency of times I have to shout to be heard over your private non-costume-related conversations that influence my judgments on this matter.   I know that major portions of costume class feels exactly like the Theatre Dept Monday night “stitch and bitch” meeting, (and this is fine) but there are times, most obviously when I’m trying to address the whole class, that you need to stop your conversations and let me be heard.  Repeated brainlessness in this matter WILL lose you points.

Evaluation: Project assignments will be graded based on

25% Completion (Is the project really done, or have important steps been left unfinished?)

25% Neatness, accuracy, clarity (How much have your drawing/sewing/crafting skills improved?)

25% Creativity (Are the choices you have made in design or construction boring and ill thought out or interesting and clever?)

25% Practicality (Would the project actually be usable in a show on stage?)

Support Services:  UAF Student Support Services office is located in 508 Gruening Building Phone: (907) 474 6844  Fax: (907) 474 7480


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