Polynesian Attire - The Virtual Costumer
Polynesian Attire - The Virtual Costumer
The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -1- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild ISSN 2153-9022 The Virtual Costumer the costuming magazine of the Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild Polynesian Attire Polynesian Attire Exploring the Pacific Island Exploring the Pacific Island cultures through their dress cultures through their dress SiW Dreamcatcher and ICG President's Award Recipients
Table of Contents Silicon Web Costumers' Guild President’s Message 3 From the Editor 4 SiW Members Receive ICG President's Awards 6 La Photographie Receives Dreamcatcher at CC34 6 La Muerta Receives Dreamcatcher at CC34 8 Virtual Author Talk How to Make Sewing Patterns 9 The author talks about what's new in this second edition Feature Articles Hula Kahiko 13 Historical recreation of ancient Hawaiian hula attire Costuming for Nā Lei Hulu 18 Creating costumes for a hālau (hula schools) show The Story of the Aloha Shirt 24 The inside story of the origins of this iconic garment A Chief of the First Born 34 A sci-fi adaptation of traditional Tongan warrior attire Creating Miss Fiji's Traditional Attire Costume 40 Costume honored at Miss Pacific Islands competition Mutants and Mai Tais 48 One of the wackiest Polynesian costumes ever Interviews Recreating Hawaiian Feathered Cloaks 52 Decade-long project recreates Kamehameha I court cloaks Short Subjects Oldest Dress Found 64 Egypt Tarkhan dress is at least 5100 years old Three Costume Exhibits at Kent State Museum 64 Fibers, flappers,and fashion at Ohio university museum R2-D2 Creator Dies 65 Special effects expert built Star Wars iconic robot Swagged and Poufed 65 Museum exhibits upholstered body of late 19th C.
17th Century Silk Dress Found in Shipwreck 66 Noblewoman's gown buried off North Holland coast Website Helps Date Old Photos 66 Resource helps use features in a photo to deduce date Upcoming Calendar of Events 67 Ongoing Events 68 The Virtual Costumer (ISSN 2153-9022) is a publication of the Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild (SiW), a non-profit, volunteer-run chapter of the International Costumers' Guild (ICG) Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoncommercialNo Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Images, and material related to novels, movies, exhibits, or otherwise owned by others, remain the property of their respective copyright holders.
Authors with "*" beside their names are Silicon Valley Costumers' Guild members. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -2- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild ISSN 2153-9022 About the Cover Looking commandingly over the small town of Kapaau in North Kohala is an impressive statue of one of Hawai’i’s most revered leaders, Kamehameha I. The statue commemorates this leader and warrior who, in 1810, united the islands into one kingdom after decades of struggle and threats from western forces. The king is dressed in his royal attire, a bright yellow 'ahu 'ula (feather cloak) and mahiole (helmet).
Rick San Nicolas describes his decade-long project to recreate seventeen cloaks and helmets of King Kamehameha I and his court based on a painting by artist Brook Kapukuniahi Parker, starting on page 52. Photo: Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Silicon Web Costumers' Guild Silicon Web Staff President: Kevin Roche Vice-President: Elaine Sims Treasurer: Bruce MacDermott Secretary: Deb Salisbury Virtual Costumer Editor Philip Gust Web Diva and Assistant Virtual Costumer Editor: Kathe Gust President’s Message Kevin Roche* It’s spring! (Actually it’s almost summer. How did that happen?) I’ve been doing my lame imitation of an international jet-setter. Andy and I flew to Manchester, England for Easter weekend (and Eastercon, which was there this year) to promote the San Jose in 2018 Worldcon bid, and had a fabulous time. We took our “chairman” costumes -aka sports jackets, slacks and slick name tags -- and hosted a party in the fan bar on Saturday night.
We also did the RoboGames (ThinBot took gold again -- that’s 4 times straight!), FogCon, Costume-Con 34, and I’m writing this from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, where we are off on our annual pilgrimage to the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival, one of our rare non-SF outings. It has plenty to see in the way of sartorial eye candy of course.
After having to cancel on attending Costume-Con 33 because of financial and familial obligations, it was great fun to get to Madison, Wisconsin for CC34. We set up the San Jose table, I was a judge for the Single Pattern Contest this year on Friday, we sponsored the hospitality suite for lunch one day, and my only other commitment was to take my masculine Barbarella homage down the runway in the Future Fashion Show. That meant I had the privilege of wrangling the Silicon Web group discussions on what might deserve kudos from SiWeb in the form of our Dreamcatcher Award for the Science Fiction / Fantasy, and the Historical Masquerades.
SiWeb's Dreamcatcher is awarded for creative use of technology in a costume made by someone who is not a member of our chapter (which meant Andy was frantically reviewing our roster for me each time something interesting came across the stage). This year, we had some serious discussions about what that meant, and made a point of looking at technologies that were more than simply the best blinky lights, including some bits of stagecraft. Our winner in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade (“La Muerte” from The Book of Life animated feature) was, in fact, an illuminated costume, but it was Rachel Kojetin's solution to the structural issues of keeping candlesticks vertical on her train and enormous sombrero that impressed us.
In the Historical Masquerade, the use of new printable fabrics to ornament her dress with turn of the 20th century photographic portraits netted Nora Mai’s “La Photographie” a Dreamcatcher. In addition to the spider-bestrewn Dreamcatcher trophy, Rachel and Nora received one-year memberships in SiWeb Costumers' Guild. Congratulations and Welcome to them both! As I mentioned in February, we are now in our annual officers election process. While the existing officers are all willing to serve another term, we welcome more involvement, in particular exploring the possibility of splitting the Secretary’s role to have someone take on our social media presence as an formal role.
Towards that end, I’m thrilled to announce that we (finally!) have an official SiWeb FaceBook page! Be sure to visit and “Like” the page so you can see our posts.
If you’d be interested in helping out, there is a lively and friendly discussion going on in our email group right now, or drop a line to email@example.com to let me know. I’m going to hold off on the actual election for a little longer to encourage folk to step forward. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -3- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild ISSN 2153-9022
As we move into summer, Westercon and Worldcon, of course, loom. This weekend (Memorial Day) I know we have members at Baycon, Balticon, FanimeCon, and Clockwork Alchemy, and I’m sure more I haven’t mentioned.
Where are you going, and what did you wear? Post pictures! P.S. Here in Las Vegas, we just did a vodka tasting at the Vodka Vault, an ice bar tucked into the Red Square restaurant on the strip. They even loan you Russian coats and hats to keep you warm while you are on ice! P.P.S. Site Selection for the 2018 Worldcon has just opened. Besides the San Jose bid that I am on, there is a bid from New Orleans. If you care where Worldcon (and its Masquerade) is held, take the time to vote. You need at least a supporting membership in this year's Worldcon (MidAmericon 2, in Kansas City) to be eligible, and you’ll have to pay an advanced supporting membership fee when you vote (converts to a supporting membership in the 2018 Worldcon regardless of who wins).
Visit the Worldcon site selection page for more information. Also visit the San Jose site and the New Orleans site. Both bids also have FaceBook pages.
Obviously I'm biased in favor of San Jose, since I'll be its chair if we win, but the important thing is that you vote if you care where the convention takes place! From the Editor Philip Gust* For many, a visit to a Polynesian island brings to mind a tropical paradise where people go to splash in the waves, drink beverages with little umbrellas, and take pictures of lush scenery and people in exotic clothing, all while wearing shirts or skirts of bright and colorful materials. However, for the people of the Islands of Polynesia, it is a place with a rich history, ancient customs, sacred places, and traditional attire that unites them while also making each of them unique.
This issue of VC explores the rich history and the cultures of Polynesia by learning about both traditional and modern attire of the people who call some of these island nations home. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -4- May 2016 Kevin Roche (2nd from right) with Mette Hedin, Andy Trembley, and Bryan Little (far right), vodka tasting in Vegas. The islands of Polynesia. Image: Hobe / Holger Behr.
We begin with a “Virtual Author Talk” by Don McCunn about his book, How to Make Sewing Patterns. A new edition provides expanded content and instructions for creating patterns of every kind for both men's and women's clothing.
In his article, Don tells us that he came to patternmaking through his interest in the theater, and the influence of a professor in college who had been a student of Lucy Barton, author of the classic Historic Costume for the Stage. The rest, as they say, is history.
Although she has never visited Hawai'i, Terry Walker became interested in Hawaiian attire when she took a dance class on a whim, and became hooked by the second class. In her article, she describes her recreation of attire for the ancient form of Hawaiian hula, hula kahiko, which she entered in the novice division of the Costume-Con 33 Historical Masquerade in 2015. Her greatest enjoyment is showing people what Hawaiian dance really is. Patrick Makuakāne is also passionate about Hawaiian dance, culture, and attire. He is the Kumu Hula (hula master) of Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, one of the largest hālau (hula schools) in the United States.
His school puts on several shows a year for an appreciative San Francisco audience, with costumes that span the spectrum from traditional to urban contemporary, all made by the school and its students. In his article, Patrick shares with us some of his favorite costumes that have been featured in shows throughout the years.
Dale Hope grew up in the Aloha shirt business. His father was a textile salesman for a supplier of Hawaiian-printed fabrics, and Dale remembers ordering his first Aloha shirt from him in the third grade. He went on to become an executive in the industry, and a leading collector and authority on the Aloha shirt. Using stories and pictures from the newly published second edition of his book, The Aloha Shirt from Patagonia press, Don takes us on a fascinating tour through the history of this iconic garment. Designing a costume for a feared pirate and chief of the “First Born” from Edgar Rice Burroughs' “John Carter of Mars” series of fantasy books was much harder than first expected.
In my article, I describe how I looked to the traditional attire of a Tongan warrior chief for inspiration, as part of a project with four teams of costumers that we called, “Costuming by the Book.” Hair and makeup artist Ashley Phaneuf Wakai received a phone call in late 2015 from the newly crowned Miss Fiji, Zaira Begg, asking for help with her hair and makeup for the upcoming Miss Pacific Islands pageant. Little did he dream that he'd also be called on to design and create her Traditional Attire Costume, or that his creation would win the prestigious “Best Traditional Attire” award at the pageant.
In his article, Ashley describes the unique design, materials, and techniques that he used for the costume.
Kevin Roche's inspiration for one of the wackiest Polynesian costumes ever came from a beaded tasseled trim he found in a Texas fabric store that reminded him of robot hula dancers. An avid Doctor Who fan, his mind immediately made a connection and lead to the creation of the Tiki Dalek, based on a evil race of creatures from the series. The result was “Gilligan's Island meets Doctor Who.” In his article, Kevin describes the project and the reaction of attendees and fellow Dalek-makers at one of the largest Doctor Who conventions. When the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative contacted Hawaiianborn featherworker Rick San Nicolas, they proposed an audacious project: recreate seventeen royal feathered cloaks and The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -5- May 2016 Vintage travel poster promoting Fiji tourism.
Matson Cruise Lines, c. 1960. Source: Pinterest.
helmets of King Kamehameha I and his court depicted in a painting by artist Brook Kapukuniahi Parker to help promote their reforestation project. In his article, Rick explains how he undertook this decade-long project, how he learned the ancient techniques by studying historical cloaks, and how he hand-ties to a mesh over 200,000 feathers that look just like ones from highly endangered or extinct native Hawaiian birds. Here is a quick preview of what is upcoming in VC. In the August 2016 issue, we'll explore “Hair, Hairstyles, and Accessories,” and the many ways that historical costumers as well as those in scifi, fantasy, anime, and other genres, use hair, hairstyles, and hair accessories to accentuate their costumes.
The theme for the November 2016 issue is “Labors of Love,” exploring why costumers are driven to invest outrageous amounts of time and effort into their creations, completely out of proportion to any reasonable expectation of any return for their efforts. I am pleased to announce that the theme for the February 2017 issue will be Props and Costume Special Effects, focusing on the art and practice of making props and creating special effects to add an extra spark or a look of authenticity to costumes and their presentation.
See the Upcoming Issues page of the SiW website for details.
Now is a great time to start writing for VC, and share what you know and love with your fellow costumers. SiW Members Receive ICG President's Awards Two SiW members received ICG President's Awards at Costume-Con 34. The award recognizes extraordinary service to the ICG. It includes a certificate and a listing on the ICG President's Award web page. SiW members who were recognized are Kathe Gust and Bruce MacDermott. Kathe was recognized for collecting, scanning and indexing all issues of the ICG's Costumer's Quarterly magazine; indexing back issues of the ICG's International Costumer newsletter; and developing public relations material for the ICG Resource Center for Chapters and SIGs.
Kathe is the ICG Recording Secretary and a member of the Communications and Public Relations Committee.
Bruce was recognized for establishing and administering the ICG Group Exemption Letter (GEL) program, which enables participating U.S. chapters and SIGs to become 501(c)(3) non-profits easily and at no cost. Bruce is chair of the ICG Finance Committee. Kathe and Bruce join SiW members Betsy Delaney, Denisen Hartlove, Jay Hartlove, John O'Halloran, Carole Parker, Kevin Roche, Elaine Sims, and Jeanine Swick, as past ICG President's Award recipients. Bruce MacDermott and Jeanine Swick have both received the award twice. Congratulations, Kathe and Bruce! The other President's Award recipients at Costume-Con 34 were Patrick O'Connor, past editor of the ICG newsletter and a member of the ICG Publications Committee, and Vicky Asaratanakul, editor of the ICG's International Costumer newsletter and chair of the ICG Publications Committee.
See the President's Award page of the ICG website for details of these and all past awards. La Photographie Receives Dreamcatcher at CC34 Historical masquerade entry cited for Creative use of vintage photos printed on fabric.
During the Historical Masquerade at Costume-Con 34, SiW President Kevin Roche presented a Dreamcatcher award to Nora Mai for her entry, “La Photographie”. Nora's costume was cited for creative use of vintage photos that she collected and printed on the fabric of her costume. She received a Dreamcatcher, a one year membership in SiW, and a place of honor on the SiW Dreamcatcher Award page. We asked Nora to tell us a little about her costume and its inspiration: For much of the nineteenth century fancy dress balls were popular in England, the U.S. and Canada. A lot of time and money was spent planning and designing The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -6- May 2016
costumes for individuals and groups (for tableaus). Popular costumes were based on historical and literary figures as well as allegorical or emblematic costumes representing broad concepts or ideas. My dress was inspired by a Miss Stevenson; one of three women who attended the Garrison Ball in Montreal in 1865 as “Photography”. The origins of modern photography can be traced to France and the work of Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and Louis Daguerre. By the beginning of the Belle Epoque, Cabinet Cards and Carte de Visite had become widely available, and were a popular way of capturing a portrait both in Europe and the United States.
Carte de Visite (CDVs) were developed first, generally as an albumen print mounted on cardstock roughly the same size as a visiting or calling card. They were immensely popular and commonly collected and traded, even those of prominent people and “celebrities”. Many cards were embossed or printed on the back with the photographer’s name, studio address and sometimes specialties. Cabinet cards gradually replaced CDVs. Essentially the same process but a larger image roughly 5 by 7 inches which could be viewed across the room when displayed upon a cabinet in the parlor. I collect old photos purely for the beauty and clarity of the images.
Some are actually from my family but others I acquired at estate sales or online. I like to think about these people and their stories. On the bodice of my costume, there are 13 portraits centered on a picture of my maternal great-grandmother Myra Lockwood. On the skirt there are 37 pictures centered on a picture of my paternal grandmother Ellen Nelson Schneeberger. Photos were printed from my computer after being scanned and edited, but the colors and the images are mostly unchanged.
It was based on the shapes and the construction techniques from around 1870 with a fitted bodice and pleated skirt but the dress is more about displaying the beautiful photos rather than historical accuracy. Many of my modifications were for ease of wear and surface maximization. I modified the basic bodice and added a curved collar to better display the photos. I arranged the selection of portraits to carefully fit them around the collar. Each photo was stitched in place then framed with gold grosgrain before the collar was assembled.
The band of photos around the skirt was pre-assembled on a strip of cotton for stability.
The photos were separated with grosgrain during assembly, and then the entire strip was attached to the skirt. A band of grosgrain was then stitched above and below the photos. Nora entered in the Master division, and also received a Judges' Choice Award in the Master division for Creative Use of Technology. Congratulations Nora, and welcome to SiW! The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -7- May 2016 Photo: Scott Johnson, Realtime Portrait Studio.
La Muerta Receives Dreamcatcher at CC34 Sci-fi/fantasy masquerade entry cited for giant sombrero and dress train with candle lighting effects. During the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Masquerade at Costume-Con 34, SiW President Kevin Roche presented a Dreamcatcher award to Rachael Cuddle for her entry, “La Muerte.” Her character is the Ruler and Queen of the Land of the Remembered, from the animated movie, "Book of Life.” Rachael's costume was cited for its giant sombrero and train with illuminated candlesticks. She received a Dreamcatcher, a one year membership in SiW, and a place of honor on the SiW Dreamcatcher Award page.
We asked Rachael to tell us a little about her costume and its inspiration: I was born and raised in Mexico to missionary parents, and retain a deep love for its people and culture. When the “Book of Life” movie came out, I instantly fell in love with their depiction of 'La Muerte' and knew I needed to recreate it in a costume. I kept an eye out for the perfect fabric and carefully studied pictures to make sure I could do the character justice. I learned to sew when I was 9 and have sewn both with and without patterns throughout the years. This is my first year really pouring myself into intricate costumes so I could try entering contests and I picked a fairly difficult one to start.
For La Muerte’s dress I wanted to get the perfect round train and the unique silhouette. I draped muslin to create the dress pattern and used that when cutting the dress fabric out; no store-bought patterns were used for any of the costume pieces. For the large round hat and the train to keep their shape I used PVC pipe. The top piece of the hat that is covered in marigolds was shaped out of Dollar Tree cutting boards and then covered with the fabric and embellishments. The gloves were also made without the use of an existing pattern and they had fold details painted onto them. Between the dress and hat there are approximately 200 hand stitched marigolds make from felt.
There are also around 50 little hand cut and painted craft foam skulls on the hat and dress. I was lucky enough to find the perfect candles for this costume at the Dollar Tree. The base that came with them was perfect for keeping them attached in place. There were approximately 27 candles on my costume.
All in all, this costume was a huge undertaking but it was a wonderful journey in improving my sewing skills and crafting, and I was so proud that it was my first Masquerade piece. I am sure it will improve as I find ways to make it better but this is a costume that I love and hope to get to show off for a while.” Rachael entered in the Novice division, and also received a special award for movement onstage. Congratulations Rachael, and welcome to SiW! The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -8- May 2016 Photo: Scott Johnson, Realtime Portrait Studio.
Virtual Author Talk How to Make Sewing Patterns Don McCunn* The author of a howto book on practical patternmaking talks about what is new in the recently-published second edition.
My book, How to Make Sewing Patterns, has been continuously in print since 1973. I came to patternmaking because of my interest in theatre which I discovered as a junior in high school in 1959. I was a social klutz until I discovered the joy of collaborating with others to create live theatre. In the arts I am both cursed and blessed because I have no natural talent for anything. This is a curse because nothing comes to me quickly or easily. I have to struggle to learn how to do things. It is a blessing because once I do figure out how to do something, it is easy for me to share with others what I have learned.
And I do enjoy teaching in the classroom, through my howto writing, and even as a director in the theatre.
When I started doing theatre I really wanted to be an actor. But because of my lack of natural talent, I was relegated to being the stage manager for a production of “George Washington Slept Here.” Believe it or not it was my good fortune that one of the leads literally broke his leg a week before the show was to open. Because I was the stage manager I knew the blocking, the part, and the show better than anyone – so I got the part. Actually as I look back on that experience I realize it is prophetic of how my life in the arts has evolved. Rarely do my plans for the future materialize the way I foresee.
Instead the fates direct my future and I am more than willing to grab the opportunities that arise.
As I progressed in theatre my focus was on directing productions. But I quickly learned that while many love to act, I encountered few people who were willing to commit themselves to the time and effort required for the technical end. And many of those who were willing to do the work had limited abilities. So being a control freak and rabid do-it-yourselfer, I determined to learn all the technical arts so I could fill in whenever it was necessary to achieve my vision for a production. For my undergraduate work I had the good fortune to attend the University of Texas in Austin which had an amazing teaching staff.
The costume professor was Dr. Paul Reinhardt who had been a student of Lucy Barton, author of the classic Historic Costume for the Stage. He introduced me to the idea of measuring the body to create patterns. But for the productions we students were relegated to sewing the costumes from the patterns someone else made—I don’t remember who. Not knowing how to make patterns wasn’t good enough for me. My perception is that if you want to create costumes, you need to be able to make patterns for any body shape, for any design, from any period of history, or maybe even imagine the The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -9- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers’ Guild ISSN 2153-9022
future. So after I graduated from UT I set about researching the techniques for making patterns. What I found were approaches to creating patterns that were designed primarily for the fashion industry. There is a huge difference between the process of creating a pattern designed to fit as many bodies as possible as opposed to creating a pattern for the custom-fit of a specific body. So I set about to create my own approach to making patterns for costumes. It was after graduate school when I was looking for work that I decided to put my ideas into book form. I sent out letters of inquiry to about 100 publishers I thought might be interested, about 10 responded.
But one publisher, Harold Hart Publishing, wanted me to convert it to a pattern making approach for the general home sewer. He thought it would have a better market potential (the hand of fate at work). He assigned one of his editors to try out every instruction to verify that what I had come up with would actually work in real life. After a full year of going through my book and making all the garments, she did make one very useful suggestion: she recommended I use numbers for my stepby-step instructions. With a published book in hand I was able to get a teaching job through the San Francisco Community College Adult Education program.
This was an invaluable experience for me as I was able to see my approach applied to hundreds of different bodies. But the hand of fate was again at work. Harold Hart decided to close his publishing business.
All of a sudden I had hundreds of students and no books to use. I decided, as an avid do-it-yourselfer, to take control of the publishing myself so I wouldn’t have to worry about it going out of print again. About the Book I strongly believe that making custom-fit sewing patterns is not “rocket science” that requires four years of study at a fashion academy. What you need to learn is how to look at the human body and see reference lines on the three-dimensional body that can then be applied to create twodimensional patterns. To create custom-fit clothes for an individual the basic process is to first create fitted patterns, called slopers, that show the contours of the body.
While measurements of the body are important, they can not predict all the The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -10- May 2016 Illustration from the Introduction showing the difference between a commercial pattern and the pattern shapes required for real bodies
contours of a specific body. In the new edition of my book I have eliminated all the darts from the initial draft. Measurements will tell you how much fabric you need to cover the body. But the only way to truly determine the shape of the body is to fit fabric to it. When I first started teaching this process, I used what everyone uses for initial fittings – a fabric called muslin. I used to go around class with a magnifying glass to make sure the grain of the fabric was corresponding to the reference lines of the body. Then I was in a fabric store one day and my eyes fell on gingham. This fabric has threads in different colors that clearly indicate the grain lines, so now I use that.
Once you have recorded the shape of the body with these slopers, you can create the designs you want using a few simple pattern alteration techniques. If you are a costumer who needs to make patterns for many different bodies, once you have done this process a couple of times, you can frequently be more selective in the steps you follow to achieve accurate results. The final 100 pages of the book give examples of how to create the patterns for a variety of different classic designs. I actually learned from the book I wrote for Mr Hart that it was important to use timeless variations rather than designs that are topical.
The example of bell bottom hip huggers got dated pretty quickly. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -11- May 2016 Sample pages from How to Make Sewing Patterns, Second Edition.
Ease of Use As I said, I really believe that custom patternmaking is not rocket science. One of the pleasures that I have had was a temporary assignment teaching a semester length introduction to costume class at a junior college. I taught the basics of design, patternmaking, and beginning sewing. The class project was to make a costume for a local semi-professional theatre production. Each student took a design for a costume in the production, measured the performer, created the pattern, fitted it to the the performer, and sewed the complete costume.
Some of the productions were fairly large with leads coming from Hollywood.
I assigned the beginning sewers the simpler costumes and the more experienced sewers the more elaborate costumes. At the end of one semester I learned that one of the men in the class had never learned to thread a bobbin. When a machine ran out of thread, he would move to a different machine. But he completed his costume. I found this process a great “division of labor” as, in addition to teaching the class, I was also responsible for running the costume shop. I had enough time that I was able to act in the productions. Being the tailor in Moliere's The Bourgeois Gentleman was particularly rewarding as I was able to do a particularly outrageous costume for “Monsieur Jourdan.” One of the features which I wish I had during that class was to have examples of designs in three-dimensions.
I have addressed that issue in this edition of my book by including instructions showing how to make a Mini-Me Dress Form. This dress form allows you to replicate the shape of a specific body in quarter scale. How wonderful it would be to be able to teach the history of costume and have examples of garments from the different periods for people to look at similar to the scaled versions used in Theatre De La Mode.
Don McCunn has been helping people learn patternmaking for over 40 years. In addition to 'How to Make Sewing Patterns', he has created a series of Pattern Design Guides that are Interactive e-Books with embedded how-to videos. They cover topics including 'How to Make Custom-Fit Bras', 'How to Make Custom-Fit Corsets', and 'How to Make Custom Dress Forms'. Visit his website for more information. How to Make Sewing Patterns Second Edition is available from Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Alibris. Visit the ordering page to locate other sellers. 8-1/4" x 10-3/4", 182 pages. Perfect Bound Paperback: US $24.95 ISBN: 978-0-932538-21-5 Case Laminated Hardback: US $34.95 ISBN: 978-0-932538-20-8 The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -12- May 2016 Model with quarter-scale version of dress.
Feature Hula Kahiko Terry Walker* A 'hula haumana' (hula student) describes her historical recreation of attire for performing the ancient form of Hawaiian hula, 'hula kahiko'. For a couple of years I kicked around the idea of doing a traditional Hawaiian hula costume to enter at Costume-Con. I have studied hula for about a decade, but I am not Hawaiian, I’m not from Hawai’i, and have never been to Hawai’i. I took a dance class on a whim and by the second class I was hooked. I love the poetry of the music and the flow of the movement. Most people think grass-skirts-and-coconut-bras when they picture hula, and I enjoy showing people what the dance really is.
Last year I found the inspiration for a costume in a chant describing the story of Hi‘iaka. An epic story in Hawaiian culture is of Pele, the goddess of fire, and her family of cloud bearers coming from Tahiti and settling in Hawai’i. Pele has many sisters; her youngest and favorite is Hi’iakaikapoliopele [Hi‘iaka in the bosom of Pele]. In one part of the tale, Hi‘iaka embarks on a journey to bring Pele’s lover, Lohi'auipo, to her on the big island. Among the many perils Hi‘iaka encounters along the way is a torrential rainstorm. The chant “A Ko’olau Au” describes this event. This is the chant that I performed to.
I chose colors, symbols, and greenery for my costume that represented Hi‘iaka.
My costume is in the kahiko style of hula. (Kahiko, which means ancient, is the style of hula to chanting and percussion, and is the old, traditional style. Auana is the modern style danced to music.) It has a pa’u (skirt) and wrapped top. Pre-missionary contact, it would have been a pa’u made of a bark cloth called kapa and worn without a top. Nowadays, neither of those is practical. Skirts A pa’u is a skirt worn by hula dancers, made of fabric, kapa cloth, ti leaves, or raffia. If the side of the pa’u is open, it is tied with rope; if the side is sewn up, the waistband is elasticized. The skirt is worn on the high hip or at the waist and is between knee or mid-calf length.
Historically, Hawaiian garments were made of kapa cloth that was wrapped around the body as clothing or draped over the shoulder to connote one’s status. Kapa is made from the wauke tree, which is a type of mulberry. When the missionaries to Hawai’i The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -13- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers' Guild ISSN 2153-9022 Attire for ancient kahiko style of hula, consisting of pa'u (skirt) and wrapped top, lei po’o (head) on head, and kupe’e (bracelet/anklet) on wrists and ankles. Photo: Ken Warren.
introduced fabric, kapa production fell by the wayside.
It is still made today by a handful of artisans, but on a very small scale. Most dancers wear fabric pa’u, but if they require something that resembles kapa, Pellon is used. It mimics the drape of kapa and can be dyed and stamped. There is protocol covering the wearing of a pa’u. In all lines of tradition, your practice pa’u is to be revered. What I have learned through my different Halau (hula schools) is that 1) I am never to put on my pa’u or take it off by stepping into or out of it—it must go on or come off over my head, 2) I am not to eat in the pa’u, and 3) I am not to go lua (potty) in the pa’u.
Other schools have other rules, e.g., put the pa’u on overhead, step out of it to take it off; do not hem it because that symbolizes a cutting off of your knowledge; the color represents where you are in your progress as a dancer. A pa’u that is strictly a costume does not require as many rules. If you have to do a fast change, that pa’u might have to be put on by stepping in. There are also pa’u worn for ceremonial purposes that might require the dancer to dye and stamp or paint the it in a certain way. It is treated with more reverence than a practice pa’u and is considered to have your mana (spiritual power) in it.
I treated my pa’u as a costume. As a side note, something that I hear occasionally is that a pa’u should be a width of 5 yards or 3 yards. I once heard that Hawaiians consider those to be sacred numbers, but I have absolutely no substantiation for that. What I do know is that no one gets offended by a 5 yard pa’u. For my costume I wore three pa’u. My base layer pa’u was 5 yards of Pellon 830/patternmaking, dyed in the washer with Rit Cocoa Brown without prewashing. I air dried it. I chose brown to represent the land, and the stamped symbols are my interpretation of mountains. It came out very well, with no tears or pilling, which surprised me because Pellon 830 isn’t made to be apparel.
I chose it because it was the only non-fusible that was 45” wide. The main pa’u is green for plant life. I dyed 5 yards of cotton muslin with iDye Kelly Green and then overdyed it with a little bit of black fiber reactive dye. The stamped symbols are a flower and woven lauhala at the bottom. Lauhala is the dried leaf of the pandanus (screwpine) used for weaving. At one point in the story, Hi‘iaka dances in the pandanus groves.
The overskirt represents the sky and clouds, and was colored a blue gray for that reason. Pellon 40/craft, chosen for its stiffness, was dyed using 1 part latex paint mixed with 3 parts water. I used latex paint because I reasoned, correctly, that if it didn’t wash out of the clothing that I got it on accidentally, it wouldn’t wash out of the fabric I wanted it on intentionally. I dunked the Pellon into a bucket of the paint mixture, wrung it out and laid it out to dry. There was a slight unevenness in the color due to the surface I dried it on. Next time I use this dyeing method I will deliberately dry it on a more textured surface for greater effect, as the paint settles in the lower areas.
The style of overskirt that I wore is used mostly on men over their malo (loincloth) but is occasionally seen on women. It is two pieces tied in front and back with a strip of black fabric, with the fabric also wrapping around the waist as a belt to hold up the overskirt. The stamp of stars was not only to signify the sky but also because the Hawaiian name given to me by my Kumu (master teacher) is “Waileia,” which is the ancient word for the morning star. I chose two different stars because I couldn’t decide which one I liked better. To make the stamps, I drew designs on graph paper with pencil and rubbed them The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -14- May 2016 Design drawn on graph paper and transfered to flexible craft foam.
Acrylic paint was sponged on stamp and pressed onto fabric.
onto sheets of flexible craft foam. I cut the designs out in stacks of three glued on top of each other to make enough depth. These were then glued to foam board. I used two layers of foam board, but that was not quite thick enough for a good hand hold. Acrylic paint was sponged onto the stamp and then the stamp carefully pressed on the fabric. The acrylic will not wash out of fabric, so there are no second chances with this process. Let me just say that this is not something I’m good at. But I decided that from far away, no one would see the mistakes.
Bloomers may or may not be considered a traditional part of a dancer’s uniform.
I have seen traditional dances performed with and without them. I chose to wear them to avoid my underwear showing, but as it turned out my skirts never flew up that high. I dyed them turquoise using a cold water dye to represent the ocean. They didn’t dye evenly, and I think that was because I used an old sheet that was worn more in some places than others. The top is black cotton sateen fabric and a 15-yard, 9-inch strip of the same fabric twisted and wrapped around it. I chose black as a neutral color because I wanted to emphasize my skirts. Leis I wore several leis—a lei mali around my neck, lei po’o (head) on my head, and kupe’e (bracelet/anklet) on my wrists and ankles.
A lei is defined as something ornamental that circles a part of the body. The kukui nut ankle leis are strung on black elastic cording to keep them on. You can buy them pre-strung, but I like mine a little bigger so I strung them myself.
One of the constraints that I had was getting fresh greenery to make the other leis. I wanted greenery that corresponded with the story of Hi‘iaka—pala’a lace fern and pandanus leaves. Pandanus leaves are available where I live (Washington, DC) but were too large to transport. When I tried cutting them, they went bad pretty quickly. I wasn’t able to get the lace fern before I left for Costume-Con, so I decided to see what was available in Charleston. I substituted Palmetto, which I cut from the side of the road, for pandanus. I was able to get a plumosa fern from a local florist to replace the lace fern.
Bad choice. That type of fern sheds all over everything it touches and didn’t have the volume of the lace fern, so I needed a whole lot of it.
Lei haku is a braided style and was used for the wrists. Palmetto and raffia were braided together. Lei wili style was used for the head and is characterized by twisting or braiding a material into a strip and using more material as a wrap for the flowers and greenery. In this case, fern, palmetto, lehua flowers and raffia were used. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -15- May 2016 Lehua blossom. Making the faux lehua flowers. Kukui nut ankle leis strung on black elastic.
I also used ti leaves because they are commonly used to make Hawaiian leis.
The ti leaves were brought from home because they have a wonderful property—if you heat them (iron on low heat), they become pliant and can be frozen and re-thawed. The neck lei is made from the ti leaves in style called lei hilo, made by twisting the base of the ti leaves around each other. Hi‘iaka is also associated with groves of lehua trees, whose flowers are impossible to obtain in my area and are too fragile for reliable shipping. So these are man-made. I made the lehua flowers by taking the bristles from a scrub brush and hot gluing them to a small piece of fabric that I shaped into a cone.
I stuck a piece of floral wire into the center for a stem. Spray paint was used to give them their red color. (I had tried latex paint, which did not work well). The “flower” base was wrapped in floral tape. Because the wrist and head leis had to be made the day of the competition to be fresh, I spent the afternoon working on them before judging and rehearsal. And because I finished the fabric stamping the day before leaving, and was working on other costumes while in Charleston, I never tried on the entire costume before competing. I didn’t actually see what I looked like until after I performed, and while there are tweaks that I would have made, I’m quite satisfied that it looked much as I had envisioned.
The Performance I tried to be mindful, in choosing the chant for the performance, that this was a presentation to show off the costume. Most hulas to chants don’t involve a lot of turns, so you don’t see the back very often or not for an extended time. I considered walking around the stage to a recited chant in order to show all aspects of the costume. But then I remembered that the second verse of “A Ko’olau ‘Au,” as taught to me by Kumu Kimo Awai, has the dancer turn in a square, and I knew that would be the perfect piece to display the costume.
Choosing a recording was difficult because none of them matched the version of the chant that I learned.
I ultimately chose the one that sounded the clearest. I also didn’t want to be on stage too long because this was a costume competition, not a show. I asked a friend who is an audio whiz to edit the piece to one time through the first and second verses and remove extraneous beats, which involved me writing the whole song as a score for him to reference – something I haven’t done in a LONG time. But he did a great job; the final track sounds seamless. There were a few hiccups in the performance. The lights blinded me, so I was unsure of my position on stage and felt my arms flailed a bit when I was afraid that I would fall off.
I tried to use the whole stage, but hadn’t rehearsed it that way, and it threw off my positioning. I could also see that the skirt was not full enough and didn’t move The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -16- May 2016 Lei hilo worn around the neck is made by twisting base of ti leaves around each other. Finished lei po’o. Photo: Ken Warren.
well. The underskirt acts as a crinoline, and it needed a second and maybe a third one. Final Thoughts I was surprised and pleased that I won Best in Class for Presentation in the Novice division. I thought that I might win a cheeky award like “Best Use of Interfacing” or “Best Adaptation of a Scrub Brush”, so I was floored that I also won a real award, for “Best Interpretation of Traditional Design with Modern Techniques.” My goals were to create a traditional hula kahiko costume being respectful of the Hawaiian traditions and culture, show people what hula is, and get out of my comfort zone by competing.
I feel that I achieved my goals with this project. Bibliography “Kane: The Rise of Men,” by Wanda Adams / Special to the Star-Advertiser on March 31, 2013.
Ka Hana Tapa: The Making of Bark Cloth in Hawaii, by William Tufts Brigham. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, HI 1911. “Kukula Ke Ea A Kanaloa: A Culture Plan for Kanaloa Kaho’olave,” by Dr. Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele. Edith Kanaka’ole Foundation, February 1, 2009. Terry Walker has been sewing for forty years but didn’t know about historical/sci fi/fantasy costuming until a few years ago. At her first convention she knew she had found her people. She and her husband live in Washington, DC.
The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -17- May 2016 Performing a hula kahiko to “A Ko’olau ’Au” in the Costume-Con 33 historical masquerade.
Images from the masquerade video by Eric Cannon, Rare Recorded DVDs. A Ko’olau Au A Ko’olau wau ’ike i ka ua E kokolo a lepo mai ana e ka ua E ka’i kū ana ka’i mai ana e ka ua E nū mai ana ka ua i ke kuahiwi E po’i ana e ka ua me he nalu E puka, e puka mai ana ka ua Weli, ke one i ka heli ia e ka ua Holowai nā kahawai Koke wale nā pali Hae e ka wai ka ilina he ’īlio He ’īlio hae ke nahu nei From Ko’olau, I watch the rain It comes with swirling dust The rain passed in columns, it passed by The rain roars in the mountain It sounds like the roar of the surf I t smites, it smites, now the land The sands were pelted by the rain The creek beds filled, water ran down It poured down the hillsides The waters became angry and raged like a dog The dog rages, he bites to be free Source: Bishop Museum, Mader Collection 1930-35, Kanahele Ka’io tradition.
This hula tells of Hi‘iaka's journey to Kaua’i to bring Lohiau back to Pele. Among the many obstacles she encountered was the rain at Ko’olaupoko, Oahu. Only the first six lines are usually performed today. Listen on YouTube.
Feature Costuming for Nā Lei Hulu Patrick Makuakāne The Kumu Hula (hula master) of one of the largest hālau (hula schools) in the United States describes what goes in to costuming a show, My hālau (hula school), Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu (the many feathered wreaths at the summit, held in high esteem), located in the San Francisco Bay area, celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. The school is known for its unique, contemporary form of dance called hula mua or “hula that evolves.” The style blends traditional movements with non-Hawaiian music like opera, electronic, dance, alternative and pop.
Both hula mua and authentic, traditional pieces are showcased in our company’s visually captivating stage productions. Over the years we have amassed a large collection of costumes and adornments, which span the spectrum from traditional to urban contemporary, with stops in between paying homage to classically nostalgic ensembles from the early to late 1900s. I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite costumes we’ve featured throughout the years. First and foremost, I’d like to speak about what most people assume is the national costume for the hula dancer: the grass skirt. Let’s tell the truth about its seemingly ubiquitous role in hula.
Ironically, the grass skirt didn’t originate in Hawai’i. It was brought by migrant workers from the Gilbert Islands in the late 1800s and possibly became popular when hula dancers traveled the vaudeville circuit on the mainland. It returned to Hawai’i and eventually insinuated itself as an authentic, traditional garb of the native hula dancer. Dancers do not use the moniker, grass skirt, they call it by the natural fiber from which it’s made: either raffia (a string-like weed found in tropical settings) or hau (made from the wild hibiscus tree inner fibers). Although it is used periodically, usually representing dances from the monarchy period in the midto late-1800s, it is not considered the national hula costume.
Below are two examples of costumes that use the material. At left, in a dance honoring King David Kalākaua from the previously mentioned monarchical period. At right in a modern co-opting for a hula mua piece, that is accompanied by a bassladen electronic dance track. The Virtual Costumer Volume 14, Issue 2 -18- May 2016 Copyright © 2016 Silicon Web Costumers' Guild ISSN 2153-9022 Left: Dance honoring King Kalākaua. Right: Modern co-opting of hula mau piece accompanied by electronic dance track.