Historical Dress: Building the Victorians (DRA4390.01)

Tilly Grimes

In this class we will explore the changing female silhouette of 19th century Victorian Eurocentric fashion. This will include researching the historical garment, determining a pattern, scaling and grading the pattern, creating a mockup, fitting the garment, and constructing the garment out of a fashion fabric and culminating in a fully realized period costume.

Depending on skill level and confidence, students will be assigned a period from the Victorians from which the student will choose a Historical Garment to copy/adapt/re-design and fully build.

Construction of the period large scale dresses will be built through a theatrical costume lens and is intended to refine the students’ sewing, pattern making, experience with fabric, and complexity of construction. This is NOT a class in recreating authentic period sewing techniques though they will be discussed and researched. Students should expect to participate as fit models for each other’s period gowns but not their own.

Materials will be provided to ensure accessibility/equity to the course. Underpinnings will be provided unless a student shows particular interest in building a full top to toe look (corset, hoop skirt etc). The built dresses and any underpinnings will stay with Bennington to bolster the historical dress stock and will be displayed at the end of the class.


Learning Outcomes:
-Increase knowledge of fashion history
-Refine Research skills
-Refine Pattern drafting & draping
-Fitting practice
-Challenge and grow sewing skills
-Creation of a large scale garment


Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: DRA 2213, DRA 2130, or demonstration to the instructor that the student has adequate experience using a sewing machine. Determination will be given based on a statement of interest (email: tillygrimes@bennington.edu).
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T 8:30AM - 12:10PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 8
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Drama , Four Credit , Fully In-Person
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