As a final exam project I set about designing and making a costume for Bertha Mason, Mr Rochester’s crazy wife from ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. I have always loved the story and wanted to try something a bit more creative than just using a pattern.
So I started off with some simple drawings of what I wanted the dress to look like and began sourcing material to make it out of – I wanted it to look simple, and nightdress like, so I chose white cotton and a bit of lace (because she would have the best clothes being Mr Rochester’s wife!) I also wanted to portray her distress and inner turmoil through her clothes, therefore I added numerous sharp pleats at the neckline of the dress which were pulled and stitched out of place so that, when the light shines on them, they produce strange, disjointed lines. To show/ enhance the fact that she is caged like a savage animal, I used buttons all the way down the back of her dress and tight cuffs, also fastened tight with small buttons, to give the look of a straightjacket disguised as a nightgown.
Overall, I was pleased with the way it turned out -as an exam piece, with minimal time to spend researching and planned, it was exactly what I wanted to accomplish with this project.