More Littlehampton

Peasants – Each costumes will have 3 tulle underskirts and one sheer various colored overskirt.  The sky is the limit on this set of costumes!  Each one is a different color and each skirt layer is a different color.  The fun part is choosing the mix of the tulles.  We will have 8 to 10 colors to choose from and depending on where the colors are placed and what color it looks like from above, will decide the overskirt color.  There are also 12 overskirt colors and most are made up of two colors so they look iridescent–one on the crosswise grain and one on the lengthwise grain.

Each bodice is a different color of cotton velveteen.  We had a difficult time finding the cotton velveteen.  Tammy at the Fabric Place located it for us.  When you are dying it is always easier to use natural fibers, they take the dye better.  Joanna dyed some beautiful fall colors for the bodices.They will each be trimmed with different color braids and ribbons. The only color that will be consistent with all of them, will be the blouse color and the chevron in the center front of the bodice. A real riot of colors on the peasants!

There are 6 peasant men and they will also be a different shade of velveteen. They will also have the same color shirt. Very cool. The trims of ribbon and braid will all be different, too.


IMG_2982IMG_2985        Arrived. Can’t wait to see Peter!


Our friend at A-Z Fabrics, helping us with brocades.  

Peter finished the rendering of Giselle the last day of our visit. She is beautiful.

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Great trip. Going home on the Queen Mary II!


We arrived in Littlehampton on Saturday evening.  It is a two hour train ride on the Southern rail service from Victoria station.  Whenever we visit London we always train down to visit Peter.  This time we rented a house on the River Arun for a whole week.  Our house was a block and a half from Peter’s house and the train station was a block away.  Thank you VRBO.  Vacation Rental by Owner.

We went to Peter’s house on Sunday and I showed him all my purchases from Barnett and Lawson.  We went through the trim, flowers and hardware, and decided where they would look the best.  Monday and Tuesday we went through the color swatches  for the Peasants and decided which colors would not work.  “What you do is put them all on a piece of paper and see if any of them jump out at you.  If they do they will not work.”  Peter taught me that many years ago.  Out of the 14 colors Joanna dyed only one jumped out at us.  It can be tinted a little so that it will work.


Peter and I at his house


Peter  signing  posters

Between discussing the costumes Peter signed the beautiful GISELLE posters that Kelly designed for us with Peter’s beautiful GISELLE painting.  We carried them over for him to sign.

David cooked us a lovely dinner both nights at our house.  Another reason to rent a house.  David, Peter. Anne and I had a great time.

Wednesday we went back to London to meet our friends Nick and Ann.  We had lunch at the Ivy in Covent Garden and saw KINKY BOOTS at the Athena Theatre.  We were near Buckingham Palace when the Prime Minister met with the Queen to resign.Lots going on in London that day.  We trained back to Littlehampton and had dinner at the Steam Packet where I stayed in February and March when I met with Peter.

During the week I was getting photos and emails from the costume shop with questions and progress reports on what was happening there.  I was also ordering and canceling shoe orders.

Thursday I met Wizzy at Victoria station.  I met Wizzy a few years when we did ALICE in WONDERLAND.  We rented it from the English National Ballet and she came to Pittsburgh to fit the costumes.  When you rent a ballet it is always good to have a representative from that Company come to fit the costumes.  They know exactly what will fit the dancer because they have a dancer the similar size.  They also explain how everything works and how they want things taken care of.  Great help.  It is also very nice to visit with people that have the same job as you.  You have a great deal in common with them.  I asked Wizzy to shop with me in London for GISELLE.  She knows all the shops and shopkeepers.  We needed Court fabrics (brocades) and sheer fabrics in many different colors for the Peasant girl over skirts.  Wizzy thought the best place to get them would be Sheperds Bush.  We took the tube there and found most of what we needed.  We had at the Portabello in Nottinghill and then stopped at the Victoria and Albert Museum to see the undressed exhibit.  I highly recommend it, undergarments through the years.  Tubed back to Victoria and trained back to Littlehampton.  Good Day.

Friday I walked over to Peter’s with all the fabric and we draped the brocades over his sofa with trims and hardware.  He loved it all and said he would have purchased the same fabrics for GISELLE court.  Then we took all the sheer fabrics and draped them over the recliner with some trims and had a look at them.  He was very pleased.  Called the Fed Ex and boxed them up and shipped them to our costume shop in Pittsburgh.  Thirty five pounds of fabric.  One hundred twenty five yards of fabric and five hundreds yards of ribbon and trim.  Wahoo!  Another day in Paradise!


We arrived!


Checked into the hotel and I took a cab to my favorite trim shop in England.  I visit it evertime I am in London.  THEY WERE HAVING A SALE!!!!!!  How Lucky!  I found lots of ribbons, flowers and hardware.  Most of them were on sale!  The hardware is for the Court costumes, buckles and brackets.  It is hard to find nice ones, these are very nice ones.  The whole bag was only ten pounds.

When I mentioned to the sales girls I had just gotten off the plane from the States they asked if I would like a cup of tea or a refreshment.  So sweet!  I am never to tired to shop at Barnett and Lawson.  image

Today we train down to Littlthampton,to see Peter.  Can’t wait to show him all the. Wonderful things I found and what we have been working on at the shop.  I brought a headpiece that Svi put together for the friends.  Some extra flowers to add to them photos of the peasant blouses and of courses swatches!

First Fittings

To date we have fit:

Six “Wili” bodices, nine “Wili” skirts, and three “Friends of Giselle”.  They are well on their way to completion.  The bodices we have to bone (we use a spiral metal boning at each of the seams of the bodice and two center front and two center back.  This will give the bodice structure and keep it from wrinkling). Then we pipe the top and bottom, add elastic and hooks and eyes.  This will take another three or four hours.


The dancers are as excited as we are!


Pictured here are corps de ballet Olivia Kelly (top) and Diana Yohe

The skirts will need to be trimmed, Joanna has been working on those.  We put the skirt on the mannequin and measure up to the pin (that we placed at the perfect length during the fitting).  At this point, trimming is done from the floor–at eye level.  They look so wonderful once they are trimmed!


Dancers make our work come alive. (Pictured: Diana)


Collaboration with Svi and I

Svi is working on the friend headpieces. I will take one to England for Peter to see, and a few extra flowers for him to add the final touch.


Candidates for peasant bodices! 




Next group to be worked on are the peasants 12 Ladies and 6 Men.  All different shades of Autumn. Joanna dyed 14 different colors so that Peter had choices.




We also have a commemorative poster with Peter’s original work. They just arrived yesterday. Along with the headpiece, I will be taking 100 posters for him to sign.Giselle Poster_final

DROP DEAD GORGEOUS (if I do say so myself)!!