Dressing Mr. Bumble

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Here is the pompous Mr. Bumble in last fall’s production of Oliver!, presented by Mount Saint Charles Academy at the Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI.

I was so pleased with the way this costume turned out. To create this costume, I searched for many weeks for the right coat – color and size – to use as the overcoat. I finally found this blue women’s jacket at Saver’s. Next, I purchased a similar blue fabric to create the shoulder cape, which I designed from muslin.

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Because I had just enough blue fabric, nothing to spare and had purchased all that the store had left, I first created a shoulder cape with a different fabric and tried it on the actor before cutting the blue fabric.

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Large period style pocket flaps were cut from the remaining blue fabric to hide the modern slit pockets on the coat. The overcoat and cape were then trimmed in gold French gimp. I choose the color blue to represent authority, which Mr. Bumble was very proud to express. Given the limited resources, this coat was a good find.

The vest was made from scratch from a remnant piece of brocade fabric. It was an ivory color, as were his socks but they appear white in the photo due to the stage lights.

The knickers were cut from a pair of woman’s elastic waistband slacks. I like to use women’s elastic waistband slacks, wool when I can find it, for men’s period pants because there are no front zippers.

I used leftover black lining material for his cravat.

In the end, I decided to skip making cuffs. I didn’t have enough material and thought of using a contrasting fabric like burgundy or black but just had trim and buttons sewn on to give the look of cuffs. I discovered that the buttons should have been on the bottom but, oh well! It gave the impression I wanted. The overall look of the costume was effective enough.

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My very talented assistant seamtress did an amazing job with the final sewing.

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