Friday, October 29, 2010

Costume Analytics: Katrina's Zone Front Ensemble, "Sleepy Hollow" (1999)

Better late than never!  And this week on Costume Analytics, we're taking a look at a great, spooky, Burton-y interpretation of 18th c. costume, from "Sleepy Hollow" (1999).  This costume belongs to Katrina Van Tassel, the heroine of the film, and features a zone-front pierrot jacket, worn over a petticoat, and with an "apron" of sorts.  Let's take a closer look...


Pattern
The bodice is a zone-front pierrot (a short jacket most like a bodice with a "tail" on the back), closing at center front with hooks and eyes.  The lines of the zone-front sweep down to the side seams and hen into the skirt in back, which looks to be a basque sort of style, with one large box pleat at the center back seam.  The sleeves are tight fitting, and probably shaped with a subtle curve at the elbow (or would be if they were proper 18th c).  You can see the inspiration for this jacket in an extant example from the Kyoto Costume Institute (Fashion: The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute):


Unfortunately, I have not found any patterns for pierrot style jackets, or zone front anythings.  The construction is not very different from regular bodices - there are no seams on the front pieces, and the back likely consists of a side back panel and a back panel, with a center back seam.  The back pieces flare into the basque, at the waist, with the extension at the center to be sewn together and pleated underneath, at the center back seam.  It appears that the basque and back are all of a piece together- no waist seams.


The skirt is taffeta, pleated into a waistband.  it is worn over a flounced petticoat, to give it fullness.  A final addition to the skirt, and a curious one, is the strip of "apron," a very narrow voile or gauze panel that falls from the center point, and is attached to the waistband of the skirt.

Fabrics & Trims
The pierrot jacket is made up of cut velvet in blue and grey stripes.  The edges of the zone front (the lines running away from the center front of the bodice to the side seams), and the hem of the skirt in back appear to be edges with blue velvet, along with the ends of the sleeves.


The skirt is a sky-blue slightly iridescent taffeta, fading to a lighter color at the bottom, starting about a foot up.  This is a common practice in Hollywood, to "age" the clothes to give them a lived-in feel, and Tim Burton takes the sullying of his film costumes even further.


The apron panel is also quite dirty in appearance.  It's very narrow, made of a very thin material like cotton lawn, voile, or gauze, and features embroidery at the hem, in a very modern pattern with flowers and a butterfly.  To me I can imagine the costume designer buying a curtain panel for a little girl's room, aging it, and adding it to the front of the dress!


Accessories
Katrina is wearing either a thin chemise or a fichu tucked into the neckline of the bodice.  It's difficult to tell if the bodice is heavily boned or if she is wearing stays, but if this were a real 18th c. ensemble, it would the latter.


We also see some screenshots showing the flounced petticoat that supports the skirt, and she may be wearing a bum pillow as well, to puff out the skirt at the top.  Her hair is worn down, pulled up at the sides, and she also sports some blue, strangely Victorian boots, tied with silk ribbons.


Tips on Making This Costume

  • It's not about historical accuracy.  It's Tim Burton.  Get dirty and anachronistic!
  • For the zone-front jacket, try altering a bodice pattern for a Robe a l'Anglaise, or take a look at some other jacket patterns from JP Ryan.  If all else fails, don't be afraid to use a Victorian pattern instead.
  • Get creative with aging your costume - test out a swatch of taffeta in bleach or brown fabric dye.  Here are more tips on distressing and aging your costumes: http://www.costumedesignblog.com/?p=104
Dark Greeen high-low corduroy from Fashion Fabrics Club
  • Cut velvet can be hard to find.  Try wide-wale corduroy, or even striped jacquard instead.  You want a fabric with a solid weight, such as an upholstery fabric.
  • Try trimming with short fringe, such as we see on the inspiration jacket from the KCI.  Look in the home decor setion of your fabric store.  
  • Look for an embroidered, gauzey curtain panel at a store like Bed Bath & Beyond.  Give it a good aging and there's your weird little apron!  
*Screencaps and dress photos are from The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes.

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3 comments:

  1. Ooh, I love this one! I've always dreamt of making it one day!


    And just for fun, some period info tidbits, if anyone is interested - even though you're absolutely right with saying that it shouldn't matter with Tim Burton (or reproducing movie costumes in general) anyway:

    There is a pierrot pattern in Nora Waugh's "The cut of women's clothes", but it is one with a very pleated bodice. But you should be able to make one like in the movie from the working with the lining pattern.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/weinglasarien/5131098664/

    I guess altering Wingeo 207 could also work quite well.
    http://www.wingeo.com/patterns/200series/patrn207.jpg

    Back then, the apron would actually be seperate from the skirt waistband - it would be tied around the waist and the apron waistband could be hidden under the jacket. Throughout the 18th century wearing decorative, embroidered, useless aprons (and this one has such sweet embroidery) was very common, so that design doesn't seem too weird to me.

    The white part at the bodice is probably rather a fichu. On the cosprop photos it looks as if it was sewn into the bodice. If they took such a practical, theatrical approach to creating that costume, my bets are that the bodice is heavily boned and she could skip the stays.

    Random piece of information: Corduroy is a period correct fabric and was especially worn by men (I think I read somewhere it was "a poor man's replacement for velvet"), but for some strange reason, no one has found an existing example for a corduroy woman's garment yet.

    But that would never stop me from wanting to make this! <3
    Thanks for pointing out so many interesting details about it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooh, I love this one! I've always dreamt of making it one day!


    And just for fun, a period correct approach to it, if anyone is interested - even though you're absolutely right with saying that it shouldn't matter with Tim Burton (or reproducing movie costumes in general) anyway:

    There is a pierrot pattern in Nora Waugh's "The cut of women's clothes", but it is one with a very pleated bodice. But you should be able to make one like in the movie from the lining pattern.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/weinglasarien/5131098664/

    I guess altering Wingeo 207 could also work quite well.
    http://www.wingeo.com/patterns/200series/patrn207.jpg

    Back then, the apron would actually be seperate from the skirt waistband - it would be tied around the waist and the apron waistband could be hidden under the jacket. Throughout the 18th century wearing decorative, embroidered, useless aprons (and this one has such sweet embroidery) was very common, so that design doesn't seem too weird to me.

    Random piece of information: Corduroy is a period correct fabric and was especially worn by men (I think I read somewhere it was "a poor man's replacement for velvet"), but for some strange reason, no one has found an existing example for a corduroy woman's garment yet.

    But that would never stop me from wanting to make this! <3

    ReplyDelete