Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Book Review #2

Another one!

I'm having a slightly stressful day, work-wise (meaning that there is nothing more I can do until people return my many, many messages....phone and email....grr...but I digress.)  So I decide that while I wait, I might as well do another book review post!

2) "Costumes for the Stage:  A Complete Handbook for Every Kind of Play" by Sheila Jackson


I love a book that makes my job look so easy.  It makes me believe that I might be able to do it!

Like the "Elegantly Frugal Costumes" book, this one goes point by point through the process of designing a show.  It's very simple, laid out chronologically, with illustrated checklists for recommended supplies and how to measure actors.  And like the other book, it goes through the timeline of history with drawings of the changing shapes of the clothes.  But where this one gets extra points is in the patterns. Accompanying each chapter are some pages of graph paper with scaled down patterns which can be photocopied and enlarged.   It's so very helpful.  It's amazing and I love it.

Towards the end of the book, it goes more in depth about the design process (well, as in depth as a 149 page book can be!).  It goes over a lot of points that a first time designer might not consider right away - or might not know how to tackle.  Colour schemes, working with the set, meeting with the director, and drawing your designs are all discussed.  Further on, the book covers ways to work with what you've got - stenciling/painting fabric, adapting hats, using trim, making easy accessories, and so on.  Everything is simply described and well planned.

The last few sections are devoted to specialized types of plays - musicals, pantomimes, pageants and school shows.  The tips for costuming children are useful for every kind of show!

Rating:  4/5 stars.  While the "Elegantly Frugal Costumes" does a better job of covering the whole design process start to finish, the patterns provided in this one are so easy to follow and so multi-purpose it gets the extra stars!

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