Sunday, 12 July 2015

Snow White and the Curse of the Ice Queen: The Dwarves

Individual photos by Ashley Foster.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to writing we go...

In the pantomime of Snow White and the Curse of the Ice Queen, there are only six dwarves, but another is mentioned; Bashful whom we never see, making up the complete seven.

Jolly (the main dwarf in the panto) was the only character to have a description of their costume in the script, along with colours "A man dressed in half-mast orange trousers and a tight yellow shirt". From this I selected the colours of the other dwarves outfits, by drawing and painting out a colour wheel, and tried to use similar pairings as mentioned for Jolly in the script.

Designs by Katie Pollitt
Jolly: Orange, Yellow
Grouchy: Red/Purple
Drowsy: Purple/ Light Blue
Creative: Green/ Orange
Sneezy: Yellow/ Green
Keith: Light Blue/ Red

Designs by Katie Pollitt
Now Sneezy was originally in the script but was taken out and made into an almost ulterior personality of Keith: a regular everyday dwarf. However we then had two new children join the group, so Sneezy made a comeback, as well as a new character who would be Prince Charming's Mother.

However because of this colour scheme and having no budget, I would have to make compromises on the colours of some of the clothing seeing as they would be from the children's wardrobes; the group doesn't have many or really any modern clothes that would fit the children, and seeing as the clothes were meant to look tight on the children if anything because of being dwarves turned into normal sized people, coming from the children's wardrobes would be better. But not everyone would be as adventurous with their wardrobes as the dwarves in this play are. Luckily enough the children had close enough coloured items of clothing either for themselves or for others, however as you can see from the photo of the costumes at the top, a few compromises had to be made.

In the Disney version of the tale all the dwarves wore hats, so I wanted to keep that differentiation from the other characters, especially because in this version the dwarves have had a curse put on them where they have been turned into fully grown people. So the director had the idea of using baseball caps instead to seem more modern. However I had seen more pull on beanie hats than baseball caps recently and they were more likely to be cheaper, so we went for them. Each dwarf would have its own colour, depending on the colour scheme of the rest of their outfit, but mainly matching the colour of their lower half.

Positioning of hats:

Now I know that sounds pedantic, but if the children weren't so enthusiastic to make their costumes their own, this is what I would have done. By the way I'm all for actors/actresses making their costumes their own, because then you can see their enthusiasm for playing the character and getting into their role; this is why I also discuss costumes with them, to see if they have some ideas themselves.

Personally I don't know how you would wear a hat to appear Jolly, so it would just be worn normally.
Grouchy would wear his hat with the rim turn up, but just peeking out of the hood he would have up, you know as if to hide away from the world...

Drowsy's hat would be worn like a night cap, so the rim wouldn't be folded up, and then the tip of the beanie would be folded over to one side, for instance the left. The eye mask would then be worn over the top, on a slant.

I quite liked the actress's (who played Creative) idea on how to wear the beanie hat, pulling it down to make her ears stick out, and later deciding to wear it inside out so the label showed. However this is when continuity of costume needs to be explained, unless it needs to be altered for a reason.

Sneezy needed to pull her hat to cover her ears, because being sneezy would determine them feeling unwell so would want to feel warm, comfortable and all snug. This is also the reason I designed Sneezy to be wearing a jumper and joggers/comfortable clothing.

Keith would wear the hat as you normally would with the bottom turned up.
Drowsy's eye mask:

It seemed entirely necessary for Drowsy to have a sleeping mask, whether it stayed on her head the entire time and not used as an actual mask or used now and then. The actress however did use it the majority of the time. 

Now I knew we had a little pouch of about 3 eye masks that we've had for maybe 10 years or more, that no one ever used; and I thought, ah great, we have some that I'll just need to paint the eyes onto. But could we find them, no.  So I started making one, using my dad's eye mask as a template; literally just tracing round the shape onto a piece of pattern paper and then adding a seam allowance of 1.5cm, that could be trimmed down once sewn.

Once the interfacing has been tacked to the wrong side of both pieces, they can be sewn together. Don't forget to include the piece of elastic to, make sure the piece is in between the two layers and just sticking out a bit either side.
So that the edge of the mask wouldn't be really bulky I made the interfacing only go up to the seam allowance (when making only cut to the original template without the added seam allowance), so that it was just caught. Once sewn I snipped around the edge making it easier and flatter when turning it through to the right side. I then top stitched to keep the shape and seam in the right place, pressing with an iron first to put it in the right place.

I then drew an eye on a scrap piece of paper in pencil first just to practice what I wanted it to look like, then made a copy and tested painting it. When I was happy with the eye, I took to the eye mask I'd just made...very timidly... and lightly with a pencil.

And voilĂ ; the completed eye mask.

...and guess what happened to turn up the next day in a very strange place; the pouch of eye masks...yeah.

Photos by Ashley Foster
Other than Drowsy's mask I didn't have to do that much alteration/making wise for the dwarves, apart from flicking paint at Creative's t shirt. The t shirt was one I had altered from an adult polo shirt they had in stock, for their last production, which I will eventually do a post or few about; so it was fine to chuck paint at, of course I wouldn't have done that to the children's own clothes without have permission from their parents first.


Thank you to Ashley Foster for the character portrait photos, if you want to have a look at his other work or more photos from the junior production please visit his website at  
If you are interested in the drama group itself that I do the costumes for please check out their website at or their facebook page

That's all for now, talk to you soon.

~ K

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