Dance costumes

DSC_0939 Mani and Sean blue costumes mani and sean swan lake mani blue black dress mani tiny dancer 1


So for this collection of dance costumes I was fortunate enough to work with Mani, a very skilled and beautiful ballerina, who is also a close friend of mine and for the first time ever I worked with a male model, Sean. I love making dance costumes though some aspects are difficult I do find them a lot more fun and simple to make than most other garments, this could possibly be because the first main garments I made where ice skating costumes. It was a very fun relaxed kind of shoot Elly doing photography (AMZINGLY!!) as usual and me also behind the scenes aswell as designing and making the costmes I did the makeup and hair and took behind the scenes videos. These garments were ready in mid October though we didn’t do the photo shoot for these until November 12 because El had to postpone it due to her year 11 school work load. We had about 5 hours to shoot this but time passes so quickly in a studio, so it was all very quick and a eally fun day.

Apex Australia teenage fashion awards 2013



So there’s not much of a story that goes with this fashion line because I started making this fashion line during the break between the two drama performances I worked on (as costumer)and only in the time I wasnt making peoples year 12 formal dresses and completing other small projects. Although I only got the green dress made in this small amount of time, after the drama production I worked on these dresses, again amongst other projects and on September 8 2013 these dresses went down the Apex Australia teenage fashion awards 2013 runway and my photographer Elysha took photos on and off the runway. I really loved working with these models.

year 12 drama 2013 the trojan women costumes



Year 12 major play: the Trojan women

The photos on stage where taken during a dress rehearsal so some of them where not complete at that stage. The other photos were taken by me and have a few the costumes complete but not all of them.

This was originally written as a production report so this is written as though the play has been read and understood by the audience of this piece of writing, I’ve tried to modify it a little. This play had costumes that varied hugely because the message the director and I wanted to get across the message that this could be set at any time in any place even though the play itself is ancient. At the same time as doing all of these costumes I was also working on afew small projects and the garments I had go down a fashion runway a few weeks later.

For this production I worked as costume designer. The role of a costume designer in the theatre is to give the audience a visual explanation of each character, to help support the story with visual effects and to make each character look good.

The play, the Trojan women is one of the world’s greatest antiwar plays, it explores the worst of human behaviour, that still exists and is relevant in today’s society, the effects of war. There are reoccurring themes and messages in this play, the main reoccurring message in this play is that war is bad.

The process I used as costume designer was, after the castings I wrote down who would be playing each character and then took their measurements. I then read through the play and formed ideas about each of the characters, from these ideas I came up with rough sketches as to what I wanted each of the characters to look like, keeping in mind the look and shape of the actor playing these parts. I then shared my ideas with the director of the play and reworked things with his advice. We had some production meetings that enabled the cast to collaborate effectively together, making sure, that things such as hair and makeup would look effective with the costumes and that the lights would bring out the best of the costumes.

I had to work particularly closely with Amelia, the hair and makeup artist, so that our ideas would complement each other’s. Due to the fact that there were so many actors in the play I had to delegate some of the work and trust that the people I delegated the work would do what I wanted.

I made, around about half of the costumes from scratch, using my abilities as a seamstress to do this as I made the costumes I took progress photos of the outfits, I also adapted a few items from the costume room, and sourced the remaining costumes with the help of people I had delegated work to. Each time I had completed a costume I would show it to the director in order to get approval and then move on to the next costume.

During this process I put together a small folio with bits and pieces of work from throughout the process although a lot of it didn’t get updated as I didn’t have quit enough time.

I had to check each costume would function correctly and make alterations if necessary. When organising the costumes I set up two clothes racks in the costume room, one for male actors and the other for females; I strategically placed each on opposite sides of the room with a dividing wall between, in-case of any quick changes. Every costume was labelled; with the name of the character, in order for them to be retrieved quickly.

Each character’s costume was made to reflect their character with an in-depth portrayal of the character, an example of this would be the costume I made for Hecuba, who was supposed to be the queen of Troy, I chose to make her costume in white to show that she was of pure and royal family, I hand painted her dress to look like crumbling marble, this was to symbolize that Hecuba is what makes the kingdom of Troy that is crumbling and falling apart; also on her costume I used food colouring to create the effect of blood, this was to show the amount of bloodshed and the horrors of the ten years of Trojan war.

Cassandras dress was in a white satin similar to that of Hecuba’s dress to show that these characters are related. Cassandra’s dress had hand painted flames on it on the batwing like piece of material on each side, the flames are to suggest Cassandra has become slightly corrupt, it is also in reference to the play where Cassandra often has something to do with fire therefore I decided to make it her theme. The dress itself was white to suggest she is innocent; it is floor length with long sleeves and a high neckline that has chiffon draped over the top half. This dress is designed to resemble white robes as there is a direct reference in the play to Cassandra wearing white robes and also she was supposed to be a priestess. The flames being so full of red contrast heavily with her white dress to suggest to the audience before the war she was innocent but now she is not so.

There were many changes made from the original ideas, an example of this is that the director originally wanted Helen of Troy on a podium, so I designed her dress initially for this purpose, but then, when our director decided that this would be both a safety hazard as well as impractical, he changed his mind which in turn meant I had to change the dress design and materials; it needed to practical allowing for a lot of movement and to be able to withstand the character being thrown on to the stage, so I decided to make the dress from a stretch fabric, which would enable for the actor to be able to move freely and still remain looking glamorous. I chose to dress Helen in red to suggest she is far from innocent and to make a statement about her character as well as to look good.

Astyanax’s costume, was a toga, which is an ancient Greek item of clothing; in order to make this more authentic, I needed to silk screen the bottom of the toga with an Ancient Greek style pattern. I chose a toga for two reasons firstly it is white and the colour white suggests and shows that he is just an innocent young child. secondly he was dressed in a toga as I felt this was the closest item of clothing possible to ancient Trojan clothing style, as there is no record to the style of ancient Trojan clothing. I had to make 3 copies of the toga, but only two were used, because the director’s original idea was to have a dummy thrown from the cat walk to create a dramatic death effect on stage but then he decided to get rid of this idea and I had already made 3 togas, so one was used for when he was supposed to be alive and on stage the other was done up with red food colouring to look like it was covered in blood for when he was brought back on stage dead.

The characters of Athena and Poseidon shared a common theme of the colour gold, this was used to make them look more god like and powerful. Athena’s dress has a 1920’s theme to it that is elegant and helps support the fact she is a goddess of wisdom through its sophistication. Athena’s dress was the only costume I made a calico pattern for before making the costume as I wanted it to look exact to my design idea. There was a lot of detail that went into Athena’s dress on the back, there was some golden slightly trailing net and there was a lot of hand beading and gathering that went around the low back. I also created her a short fur shall to finish the look and unfortunately in the play she doesn’t remove the shall. Poseidon’s suit jacket was adapted from just a plain blue jacket to a jacket with a lot of gold and his white pants with gold were sourced by one of the people I delegated work to. I chose for Poseidon to look a bit like a high up member of a yacht club to reflect the fact Poseidon is supposed to be the god of the sea.

The chorus were dressed in a similar style to that of which existed in Kabul when the Taliban took over and the Russians left. This style included head scarfs and chardri’s as well as a style that they had before the Taliban which was fairly similar to what people wear every day. The women being in this style was to give the play a new element showing this could be anywhere in the world at any time because unfortunately events like shown in the play still occur, even though the play was set in ancient Greece.

Andromache’s costume was supposed to have the look of once being a beautiful gown but after ten years of war, being ripped and destroyed. I chose for Andromache to look like this because her character appeared to be a more conservative and respectful version of Helen and is considered to be a trophy bride. Keeping this in mind when I designed Andromache’s costume I gave it a low back as opposed to Helens dress which had a low front. I also chose to make Andromache’s dress in a plain light purple because it seemed to be a big contrast to Helen’s bright sparkling red dress.

Being costume designer for this play was a unique and challenging experience. If I had to do this again I think I would have started work slightly earlier and I would have put together a better folio to show my workings and I would organise my time better as I spent loads of time on some outfits and only a little on others. Overall though I was happy with how costumes turned out and everything worked really well in the end.



shakespherian costumes year 12 drama April 2013

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During year 12 I studied the subject drama in school; my role was of course costume designer. The first production we did was on the Tuesday the 9th of April 2013 which was week 11 of term 1. We had studied a mid summer nights dream as a class and we were asked to form groups of up to five people and create we had 4 people but we also obtained 3 extra actors from our year level. we had to create our own interpretation of the play meaning that was different to the origional play but along the same story line. We set our play in a pub during the time of Shakespeare’s life so all of the costumes I designed and created were set as mid to late 16th century style. I did end up acting in the play which is not something I’d normally do but we needed actors.
Ironically our group consisted of girls only and so most of the actors had to cross dress as men, where as in the shakespherian days women weren’t allowed to act, so it was all men and men had to cross dress as women.
How we interperated the play: In the play Shakespeare was there, along with two drunk bar tenders, Hermia(under the name Hannah), Lysander (under the name Liam), Demetrius under the name (Demetri) and Helena (under the name Helen). Hannah and Liam are discussing their love in the beginning of the play and then Demetri walks in perused by Helen who is trying to convince him to be in love with her but he shakes her off. There was a bar fight over Hannah of whom both Liam and Demetri were in love with during which shakesphere was accidentally knocked out and then the play followed Shakespeare’s dream, where green lights and dry ice were used to show it was a dream. During Shakespeare’s dream all the language and names were in Shakespearian language, it starts with Helena pursuing Demetrius and Demetrius and Helena arguing, Shakespeare (with magical powers like that of Obaron’s in the actual play a midsummer night’s dream) sees this and decides Helena is perfect for Demetrius and sais some words about why Demetrius should love Helena and suddenly Demetrius realises his live for Helena and has to find her, at first Helena doesn’t believe him but after he talks for a while she is convinced and they are together. Then the play exited the dream sequence and the two drunken bar tenders are standing over Shakesphere, who is just starting to wake up, giggling at him on the floor and Hannah crying over Liam who is on the floor. Shakespeare is asked by his friends if he is ok and he replies with yes but then asks what on earth the sobbing noise is and the drunken friends explain about the bar fight and Shakespeare being knocked out and Liam being seriously hurt or possibly killed in the fight. The play ended there and it was our idea of how shakesphere was inspired to create the play a midsummer’s night dream.
It was fun doing costume design for this play, although it was a bit stressful because I didnt have much time to design and create the costumes due to the fact that we didnt get the script untill about 4 and a half weeks before it was performed.

summer fashion line part 2 (formal wear and wearable art) 23rd of February 2013


The abovephotos are from my ‘summer fashion line part 2 (formal wear and wearable art)’ the very last photo left to right has my model and friend Georgia, myself (fashion designer and model) and my wonderfull photographer and friend Elysha
the story for this one continiues on from my post summer fashion line part 1
Summer fashion line part 2 formal wear and wearable art: about a week before the 26th of November 2013 when formal wear was supposed to be shot at a public manner I called the lady (who worked in this manner) that I had spoken to about the photo shoot to organise a time, but she said we could only use the manner in the morning for an hour and a half and I tried to negotiate with her because that’s when school was on but she said we could change the date again and I said that I wasn’t interested in another date so it was cancelled all together the thought of using this venue and we decided not to shoot it on this date so we thought up a new location this time the botanical gardens. I decided since my model Georgia didnt finnish school untill a week before Christmas because at this stage she was in year 10, we would wait until after Christmas and after new year’s because everyone would be so caught up. During this extra time I now had I decided to make jewellery to complement the garments in the formal wear range of the fashion line, I also did up a majority of the shoes I had to match the garments I fixed ones that were broken so that I had enough pairs of shoes. Elysha, Georgia and myself set a new date for the photo shoot of formal wear and wearable art, the 24th of January 2013, but on the 23rd Georgia became sick so we had to postpone again and set a new date. On Saturday the 23rd of February we did the photo shoot for formal wear and wearable art in the Adelaide botanical gardens. Georgia’s lovely Mum Deb helped us by minding the clothes and just generally assisting with the shoot where she could. although the photoshoot was delayed alot it was a huge success and deffinantly worth the wait!!

part 1 summer fashion line daywear and beach wear November 10 2012

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So, as promised I’m updating my blog way more regularly. The above photos are from the first part of a two part photoshoot, ‘My summer fashion line 2012’.  My photographer Elysha and I were talking on facebook a short while after a small studio photo shoot we had done in early September and came up with the idea that I would create a summer fashion line with three sections beachwear, daywear and formal wear, with a considerable amount of garments in it. We set the date for Saturday the 10th of November 2012 I decided that I would use this as part of my semester 2 year 11 fashion design project. So I spoke to my design teacher Mr B and he was more than happy for me to incorporate it as a part of my fashion design lessons, not that year 11’s were supposed to make anything and year 12’s were only required to make 2 things as at the school I went to we were not taught to sew, although I knew how to sew because I had taught myself. I did not have much time but its great working to such a tight schedule because the challenge is amazing I had from September 9 till Saturday November 10. So I spent a full week drawing up designs I was happy with most of what I drew and changed or got rid of anything I wasn’t happy with once I had these drawings it took me another half a week to figure out what materials and how much to use and the other half of the second week I spent getting fabric from Trisha’s, Dk’s and spotlight. Although I still had to make trips after that for things I had forgotten or run out of along the way.  I asked my beautiful friend Georgia to model for me and she said she’d be happy to, I also modelled for myself. After getting measurements I started creating patterns for formal wear I also started creating all of the outfits. My design teacher Mr B offered to get a sewing machine for the design centre with the funds the school design centre needed to spend before the end of the year, so that I could sew during recess, lunch and some design lessons. I helped to pick out an appropriate sewing machine which was a Bernina B19. This helped a lot because it meant I had lots more sewing time. At the beginning of October I had called around until I found a public mansion that’s staff would not mind us doing the photography for the formal section of the photo shoot and said it would be ok to do this free because we were students and I was told to call back closer to the date. In the meantime I fitted Georgia to calico patterns for formal wear and continued work on the garments Georgia and I would wear. I was almost finished on the week before the photo shoot and that Thursday the 1st of November I called the same lady I had spoken to before about the photo shoot in the public mansion, unfortunately she denied ever talking to me before and after about ten minutes she said our previous conversation was slowly coming back to her  but she denied ever saying that the Saturday the 10th of November would be an ok date, it really upset me and mum had to finish my phone call because of my upset state (that was a disaster). The lady suggested Sunday the 11th for two hours, so mum told her I would have to check with my photographer and model and get back to her the next day. Ellie was ok by doing formal wear on the Sunday and the rest on the Saturday but Georgia was busy so I called and explained this to the lady and she then suggested the 26th which seemed ok by everyone so I stopped working on the formal wear at that point in time and completed daywear and beachwear and we shot that on the 10th of November. Formal wear though it was photographed on a completely different day was still part of this fashion line but due to the dates has it’s own story. Daywear was shot at Micheal Perry Reserve in Burnside and beachwear was shot at Grange Beach where after the shoot I shouted my model, photographer, my mum and I to lunch. Mum did all the driving round that day which was super helpful. I loved creating this fashion line so much and the photo shoot for it was so rewarding!!!

my first garmants to go down a runway


So the above photos where the first fashion garments I ever had in the publics eye. Before this date I did smaller projects and lots of figure skating costumes. This was at Apex Australia Teenage Fashion Awards 2012, I recieved an encoragement award for my efforts.
I found out about this event through a good friend of mine (and photographer from mid 2012- early 2014), Elysha, who went to the school it was hosted at, she also took the photos for me. When I found out about it I had four weeks till the date of the event, I had already made the blue, green and purple ball gow that I am wearing in these photos earlier in the year as my research project but, the other three dresses, the over skirt and hooded fur cape I had not at that stage done any work on.
over these 4 weeks I was at school doing year 11 monday to friday 8:30-3:15 giving me only afternoons and weekends in amongst home work.
I spent 1 week sketching up designs and trying to find models, which back then was difficult as barely anyone had seen my work and all I could show them was figure skating dresses and small projects.
I spent the second week getting the measurements of my models, buying fabric having to make fast decisions on colour and fabric type.
on the third week I made calico patterns of the arments and did a fitting with my models. I also filled out the application forms and sent them in I was a bit worried incase I changed my mind on any smaller details so the forms I sent in were extremely vague. and then I started the dresses.
On the fourth and final week I was working as hard as I could and I was extremely worried, having only the ball gown I wore and the blue and black dress fully complete. I only had parts of the white dress and black dress  but nothing of the over skirt or fur cape. By friday I had finnished the black dress and was about 3/4 way through the white dress and my sewing machine just stopped working. Luckily the fashion show was five days before my 17th birthday meaning I recieved a new sewing machine as an early birthday present (my other sewing machine is fixed now it needed a big service). I finnished the white dress at 11pm friday 3rd of August and made myself wake up at 7am on Saturday the 4th and get back to work, I worked through till early the next morning (the 5th of August 2012) and only just got it all finnished on time, it was extremely stressful but worth it!!!
The event was great and just a fantastic experience and I’m deffinantly a lot faster and better at sewing now thanks to this. I was so happy when I recieved an encouragement award. At this stage I was still 16 and 100% self taught, I only started getting training this year (2014).
p.s stay tuned I’ll post another album and its backstory soon.


Hi everyone,

My name is Kate Bonnie, I am a fashion designer, costume designer and seamstress. I want to use this blog to introduce my work to the world. I create custom garments to fit my clients in a way that is both flattering and reasonably priced. I’ll be uploading some of my previous works, as well as anything that I create in the future.