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Topic: Shakespeare costume *INCLUDING RUFF TUTORIAL*  (Read 21194 times)
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« on: May 30, 2009 10:51:53 AM »

I'm currently in my first year of a degree in costume making and my first project was designing and making a costume for Duke Orsino in Twelfth night. It was supposed to be a mix of historical and contemporary and the bottom half had to be a jeans.

Here's my design:

The doublet:

The cape:

The ruff:


Finally I have an action photo of the entire costume on my model/actor Smiley



I've decided to add a basic tutorial on making a ruff. This wasn't the easiest tutorial to write, and english is not my first language, so please ask if anything is unclear SmileySmiley

I don't recommend making the ruff out of denim, like me.. it was very difficult to work with and the ruff became extreemely heavy... my advise: try to stick with more lightweight, but stiff fabric.

You need

- Petersham/waistband tape
- Ruff fabric, something reasonably stiff, like a stiff cotton of even organza (i.e. cotton organdie/organdy)
- Cotton threads
- Fastenings (hook and eye, snap fasteners, cotton tape)
- Lace /beads if you want to decorate

First you need to measure the neck and make sure you have two fingers width included for comfort.
Then use this measurement + 2 cm seam allowance on both ends to cut out your neckband.

The neckband is made from petersham/waistband tape. You decide the width depending on how big you want the ruff. The one I made was with a 4cm wide petersham.

You can use the neckband like it is, but I like to cover it in fabric to make it more comfortable to wear. For this ruff, I partially covered the neckband in velvet. Since my neckband was 4 cm wide, I cut the velvet twice as wide=8cm x length of neckband. I then placed the velvet right side down and lined up the edges. Then I stitched down 1 cm from the edge on both sides. I then turned the neckband inside out and the neckband is lined with velvet. I decided the velvet side would sit against the neck.

Now turn in the ends in first by 0,5cm and then by 1,5cm. Machine or hand sew this down.

Take out your measuring tape and chalk pen/marker pen and mark up every 0,5cm on both top and bottom edge of your neckband. Now count them all, including the edges as marks. My total for this ruff is 168 marks. You need this number to calculate how long your ruff fabric strip needs to be. For this, add 1 cm to your neckband width (=5 cm for my ruff) and then multiply this with your number of marks.
My ruff: 5cm x 168= 840cm. The width of your ruff is up to you. I chose 7 cm for this ruff, but it can be anything you want. So now you need to cut out your ruff fabric. You probably have to sew together a few strips. If so, do it with a narrow French seam. It is also extremely important that the edges are perfectly straight all the way. Remember to consider seam allowance.

How to finish off the edges is up to you. You can zig-zag or overlock the edges or you can turn in the edges and stitch down (add extra to width when cutting out). You can stitch lace or piping to the outer edge for decoration or you can cut the fabric with double width, fold in half and sew together. This will give the cleanest look, but also means twice as much fabric.

On the inner edge of the ruff fabric, use your chalk pencil to mark every (your neckband width + 1cm), on mine: 5 cm. Then start folding the fabric on the marks, making sure your edges are matching up (this is very important!). To keep the folds in place, thread up 2 needles with double cotton tape and run these through the folds in the top and bottom on the inner edge. If the ruff is very wide, you might want to add an extra securing thread further out.

Now you can sew your ruff to your neckband. Start at the top. The first pleat is sewn to the edge of the neckband, every pleat then follows the 0,5cm marks. Tack the pleats to the neckband with 3 stitches each. Repeat with the bottom.

Now you need to create a figure of eight or honey-combe effect on the front. If your ruff is very wide, you need larger figures of eight than you would need for a narrow ruff. This is a bit difficult to explain, but let me know if the diagram isnt understandable.  You can either just sew small stitches or you can add small beads for decoration. This is the tricky and very time-consuming part of it. (especially if youre sewing in double layer of denim like me)

Now you can add fastenings, either hook and eye or a cotton tape, at the ends of the neckband. You might want to add a couple of poppers/snap fasteners to the end folds as well to keep them together. Since I made mine in denim, it needed quite heavy-duty fastenings, but for a cotton ruff, just regular size fastenings are fine. Also, I needed to use a cotton tape to tie my ruff together. You would usually sew 2 hooks and eyes on instead.

And here is another ruff I've made, which has been very heavily broken down to symbolize decease:

It's part of a costume for the Queen of Hearts
« Last Edit: December 13, 2012 12:14:35 AM by Donella » THIS ROCKS   Logged

So much creativity..
So little time...

I have an Epla-shop for my paper bead earrings (it's like Etsy, but in Norwegian):
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« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009 10:58:59 AM »

The fabric is gorgeous and the design is super cool. I love that shirt.
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2009 11:47:44 AM »

wow that's really impressive Smiley I love all the detailing - especially those zippers and decorative flaps (?) on the doublet

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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2009 11:54:22 AM »

WOW. thats crazy awesome


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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2009 01:36:11 PM »

I love your design..its like Shakepear meets punk..lol. Way to craft it up! *smiles*
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009 04:10:58 AM »

Thank u guys!! SmileySmiley

and the decorative flaps are called tabs Smiley

So much creativity..
So little time...

I have an Epla-shop for my paper bead earrings (it's like Etsy, but in Norwegian):
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009 06:20:48 AM »

it's a wonderful piece of work. you are really great at the small details of the piece and keeping it working together. you totally got exactly what you drew.

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« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009 08:51:24 AM »

utterly amazing and nice person in it, swooshy red hair goes nicely with the cape and collar

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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009 12:04:01 PM »

Great design and finished product!

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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2009 03:25:38 AM »

That's a really interesting take on 16th century costume. I love the zips in the doublet and the ruff.
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