Making Costumes

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Making Costumes

Postby mtompson » 10 Jun 2015, 09:52

While driving the family mad learning the swazzle round the house, I'm slowly building up everything else. I'm happy with woodwork & painting, but don't have a great deal of experience with needlework. I'm busy hoovering up all the wonderful tips on this and other sites and also have 'Successful Punch & Judy' ( great book ).

I wonder if anyone has any recommendations for puppet making books or websites that go into great detail for making costumes especially glove types like Punch & his friends ( or enemies! ).

I don't have a sewing machine at the moment so would be grateful for any suggestions there as well, not too expensive and possibly able to handle thicker materials including the booth cover?

many thanks, I appreciate any help...
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Re: Making Costumes

Postby Chris » 10 Jun 2015, 14:44

Most towns have a shop selling re-conditioned sewing machines. They are usually very reasonably priced. Otherwise it is perfectly possible to manage everything with needle, cotton, thimble and scissors as people did for centuries. Actually when costuming I tend to do most of the work by hand anyway.
I have never used a particularly heavy material for my booths. The heavy canvas tilt came when Punch was at the seaside and the booth was on the beach day after day. I know some people still use canvas for their booths but I can't really see the point. I use a nice, brightly striped cloth (man made fibre), as lightproof as possible. This is easy to sew on a domestic machine, and easy to dry if it gets wet. The only canvas I use is for the roof. Actually even this isn't real canvas but heavy denim material, I waterproof it with liquid from the camping shop.**
Of course for indoor booths the lighter weight material the better.

It certainly isn't worth buying an industrial sewing machine simply to make one or two canvas covers for Punch.

Most books on glove puppetry give perfectly adequate patterns for puppets, and one such is very clearly shown in the book you mention by Glyn Edwards. You might also look on this website for Chris van der Craat's very detailed patterns for Punch figure costumes. Punch specific designs for costumes can also be found in "Punch and Judy" by Peter Fraser published by Batsford. The old showman's style of Punch costume is illustrated in Sidney de Hempsey's "How to do Punch and Judy" Published by Magic Inc. De Hempsey's other book "Practical Punch and Judy" published by Arcady Press also has details for making the cover for the booth.

**The material covering the booth below, which has served me well for outdoor shows over the past 30 years, is very light in weight even though I have lined it, and will drip-dry overnight on the occasions when it has got soaked. If it gets wet during a heavy shower it usually dries on the frame.

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Re: Making Costumes

Postby mtompson » 10 Jun 2015, 20:15

Thankyou Chris, great stuff.
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Re: Making Costumes

Postby martinpunch » 20 Jun 2015, 10:41

Hi

Just to say I am on the same path, I brought an old singer machine for a tenner, but because of the sizes hand stitching is going to be used a lot more than machine. I have used the plans on this site to make the main patterns then tailored them to fit my hand better. I use the machine to make a mock up and then try and find someone to do the hand stitching for me.

Oh and don't swazzle in the house, their patience will run out very quickly :wink: .

Better to do it in the car, then you can also practice without the script.

Good luck

Martin
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Re: Making Costumes

Postby mtompson » 20 Jun 2015, 23:22

Thanks Martin, and yes trips by myself in the car work great for swazzle practice, not sure what other drivers think of some of my facial expressions though!
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Re: Making Costumes

Postby martinpunch » 21 Jun 2015, 11:11

Yes it can be embarrassing especially traffic lights with the windows open
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