I had the opportunity this summer to design the costumes for Theatre Calgary's 'Shakespeare on the go'. I was keen to integrate custom printed fabric into the design concept. Luckily the Production staff, Head of Wardrobe and Director were all on board to go forward with my design concept for 'The Merry Wives of Windsor', found here.
And even more luck, KaeLeah Spallin, who has been experimenting with CLO was available to cut for the show! This was a true experiment in integrating digital patterning into a costume production process, and the results were fabulous. We created simple, ultra washable, cotton jumpsuits for our cast to wear. We acheived a fun, historical looking costume without all the layers. It was perfect for the pantomime feel of this absurd show.
Our Process was a little different than on other shows. We had to start early in order to allow time for the fabric production. Starting a couple months ahead KaeLeah began to pattern out the basic jumpsuits, and I began to illustrate the fabric. We learned so much during this process. Our big takeaway was to give yourself plenty of time for the production of fabric!
Here is a rough outline of what our process looked like:
Pattern Development on CLO3D
Graphics illustrated in Procreate and placed in CLO
Flat Pattern with graphics exported to Affinity Designer
In Affinity Designer we laid out our pattern pieces, and created files which would cover the full yardage we would be ordering. An Affinity Canvas was created to full size of meterage (paying attention to length and width of printed area). The imported CLO flat pattern was then made transparent and I placed the procreate graphics as separete layers with base colours placed beneath,
Send files to the printers
At the end of the day it required lots of patience and creativity to cut out these costumes. Even though they were simple there was so much detail to match, and my graphics weren't perfectly laid out. I made mistakes here and there (Thanks rushing!). Thankfully I work with very talented technicians and they managed to cut around my errors or carefully cover them up. I was just so pleased with how everything turned out!
One of the fabric printers we used printed Falstaff smaller than the full width of the fabric and consequently everything was too small! Happily KaeLeah got creative and made it work!