Historical Undergarments and Fitting

Here are some examples of historical undergarment fittings using the techniques talked about in Historical Cutting for Theatre and Film.

One always has to set up a temporary work station for a show in what is obviously a not a sewing room–in this case it’s a kitchen.

As you can see period patterns for Caryl Churchill’s Cloud 9 take shape, are fitted on the wrong people… and then the right people. The challenge with that leather corset was to A) sew the vinyl in a period way that also makes it look like leather on-stage and B) make it fit. The enlargement of the draft got Ricky less than perfect results– nothing that can’t be solved with a fitting.


This green suit is made in a late-1880s style and goes over undergarments. The chemise is not correct, alas it is a modern cotton jersey dress because it will never be seen.

All of those period undergarments had to then be enlarged for a 220 lb. ex-military man playing a demure woman. Needless to say, we did it. You might recognize the model in the second picture.

The last two pictures are fittings for the second half of the show which takes place in 1979. It’s interesting how different people can look in different clothing.


Mask Decorating Workshop

Just in time for Mardi Gras, we’re bringing you a Mask Decorating Workshop:

*This event is 100% kid friendly!*

Masks for Mardi Gras & Music Education!

Step One: Decorate a Mask at Masque and Pettycote Costume Shop on Saturday, February 6th from 3-5pm. Bring your creativity and a desire to help local school kids play music! Choose from four different mask styles priced from $10 – $25. Proceeds to benefit local area school music programs.

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Step Two: Dig in your wardrobe and dust off your most fabulous glad rags! (Can’t find anything? See Step One and make sure to check out their amazing wardrobe inventory.)

Step Three: Put on that marvelous outfit, grab your mask, and make your way to The Fish Tale Brewpub on Fat Tuesday, February 9 from 5pm onward. All ages are welcome! This will be a

Mardi Gras celebration like Olympia has never seen! Entry fee, mementos, and special menu items will all go toward the purchase of band equipment for Olympia area schools.

The Andy Omdahl Band will be playing special jazz selections and New Orleans favorites. Watch out for the “second line” to get everyone out of their chairs and marching to the Mardi Gras beat! Bring your cash for beads and other special items to benefit band equipment in our local schools. Every kid should have the chance to play an instrument in school. Masque and Pettycote and Fish Tale Brewpub invite you to come out and help make the music happen for local area school kids!

Now, it wouldn’t be a Masque & Pettycote post if there weren’t a few historical tidbits now would there?

Mardi Gras is the largest masked party in the United States. Fat Tuesday is the celebration beginning after the Christian feast of the Epiphany–the celebration of Jesus’s physical manifestation to the wise men–and culminating the day before Ash Wednesday–which is the first day of Lent. Easter marks the end of Lent.  So, Mardi Gras falls right between the celebrations of Jesus’s birth and his trials & resurrection–right after a big party and right before a big fast.

In Medieval times Twelfth Night was the mark of the end of a winter festival that started on All Hallows Eve. It can happen before Twelfth Night (The twelfth day after Christmas) or on it. It represented the world turning upside down. All of the ruling class were peasants and visa versa. They ate a cake that had a bean hidden in it, and whoever got that bean would rule the feast. Midnight was the end of his rule and the world would turn back to normal.

Mardi Gras is celebrated different ways in different places but popular traditions include wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, sports competitions, parades, and debauchery.  Originally masks helped party goers to release the constraints of society and class.

Did you ever know The different kinds of masks that we see are very similar/influeneced Commedia Dell’Arte is a style of comedy play in Italy dating back to the 16th Century. Commedia Dell’Arte was a type of theatre where characters were represented as archetypes, based upon Italian stereotypes: for example, foolish old men, devious servants, or braggart military officers.

Stock Characters

Arlecchino was the most famous. He was an acrobat and a wit, childlike and amorous. He wore a cat–like mask and colorful diamond patch clothes and carried a bat or wooden sword.


Brighella, Arlecchino’s crony, was more roguish and sophisticated, a cowardly villain who would do anything for money.


Il Capitano (The Captain) was a caricature of the professional soldier—bold, swaggering, and cowardly.


Il Dottore (the doctor) was a caricature of pompous and fraudulent learning— His mask often resembles the plague masks which had a large beaked nose which men of medicine wore stuffed with aromatic herbs to ward off diseases.


Columbina was the beloved of Harlequin. A Witty, bright servant given to intrigue, she developed into such characters as Harlequine and Pierrette.


Masks outside of theatre

The use of masks in rituals or ceremonies is a very ancient human practice across the world, although masks can also be worn for protection, in hunting, in sports, in feasts, funerals, festivals or in wars – or simply used as ornamentation.

In Ancient Rome, the word persona meant “a mask”

Masks are sometimes used to avoid recognition. As a disguise the mask acts as a form of protection for the wearer who wishes to assume a role or task without being identified by others.

Decorative masks may be worn as part of a costume outside of ritual or ceremonial functions. This is often described as a masque, and relates closely to carnival styles. For example, attendants of a costume party will sometimes wear masks as part of their costumes.


photocredit: Giulia Guidi

The modern Bauta mask is worn for disguise. It has grotesque features (a large beak-like chin, a thick supraorbital ridge, and an over-prominent nose), and accommodates the wearer in drinking and eating without having the remove the mask. In the 18th century, it was worn with a black cape called tabarro and was regulated by the Venetian government. They were used in certain political decision-making events where anonymity was required.

Masks in ritual can transform the mundane

Mask used in carnival  of Venice comes from acts of defiance when the upper classes hid their faces to celebrate and raise mischief as the king had banned a celebration which did not celebrate the coming of lent, but Viennese independence.Ancient_Egyptian_funerary_mask_Louvre

In Egypt, masks covered the face of mummies which resembled the living person, so that that person’s spirit would be able to recognize it when the body and soul were united in the afterlife.  Egyptian priests wore masks to transform the wearer into an embodiment of the gods.

In Korea, masks are used to drive out evil spirits from the sick. In Korean color symbolism, white is for young characters, red for middle-aged and black for masks that represent characters of old age.

In China, masks are rooted in ancient shamanic rituals. Masks are used for exorcisms births and funerals. People wear “Sorcerer’s masks” during ceremonies that are held as welcome celebration of gods and spirits. These masks are also used in rituals that are held as prayers for a better future and during funerary rites to help souls rest peacefully. These masks originate from totemic worshiping of Yunnan and Guizhou.

Whether used for ritual festival or disguise, masks add a certain transformative element to the wearer that has kept them around for centuries. Can’t wait to see you on Saturday!








Costume Atelier to Open In Olympia, WA

Mishka Navarre and Ricky German would like to introduce you to Costume Atelier Masque & Pettycote, a costumer-run cooperative costume storage, rental, and production house located at 209 Washington St. NE, Olympia, WA, 98501. This 3600 sq. ft. location will help us to provide the best service to all of our clients.

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Our mission is to raise the visibility and the standard of costume design and production in our region by combining innovative business practice with age old theatre traditions.

Our business is rooted in the product we provide to our clients, helping them to craft their performances with professional-grade costume services:

Cooperative-Costume Storage
Costume Rental with Professional and Private Rates
Staff Costume Designers
Costume Production
Production Support Services (Dressers, Stitchers)
Costume Research Library

This page is a great page for diving into all that for the first time.

We’ve gotten heaps of questions over the past few months about what our friends might do to help. So, we’ve formulated a plan of action!

Press Release: To all of our friends, but especially those in publishing, social media, and theatre, we need to get the word out! Please share the press kit located in our press section!

Our Work on Display: Go see our work. Grab others and go see a show. Our work thrives best when people see it and tell others to see it!

Mishka: Force of Habbit Coming in Fall of 2015 @ University of Puget Sound

Ricky: Anon(ymous) Opening This Week @ UWT!

Newsletter: Instead of an e-mail newsletter we plan to regularly update this blog. Subscribe to it to get our latest news! Click Follow on the right sidebar!

Like us on Facebook!

Calendar: We aim to make our costume calendar an amazing resource to get the word out to our clients about where and when to go dress up! Help us make it full by giving us your events!

Volunteer: We need all kinds of help from sorting to tech. Contact us for more info.

Start Requesting Now: As much as we like volunteers, the best thing you can do is start using our services right away! We’re excited to do what we’ve always done, but with a system that makes it possible for us to serve everyone.

Gear Up for Our Hours starting June 1st, 2015:

Mon – Tue: 3pm – 8pm
Wed: Closed
Thu – Fri: 3pm – 8pm
Sat – Sun: 12pm – 7pm

Additional Appointment Booking Time:

Weekdays 12pm – 3pm
Late Evening Appts. As Needed

Last but not least. Come to our amazing opening party on the second weekend in June!

Until Next Time,

Mishka & Ricky