Development of a complete authentic, beautiful, historical period costume is done in many steps over a period of weeks or months:
- General Time Period research: including environmental, political, economical, & social factors & their influence to fashion in the world.
- Era Specific research: those same factors in the character’s narrower world view.
- Character development: study in the mental & physical state of the person to be portrayed including their views on the world, social status, availability to materials, & special stories, personality quirks, or insight into how they might think & behave that can help enhance the performance.
- Design concept: research on garments required, materials for that character based on historical samples.
- Design development: decisions on materials & methods that will be used, including dyes, colors, patterns, etc.
- Materials acquistion/Final Design: final sketches for customer approval, showing details & methods to be used, & based on real materials currently available (modification of original concept to suit modern methods & availability).
- Construction: starts with the garment closest to the body (usually the chemise), and builds to the outer garments & then accessories “from the underwear up”.
- Completion: adjustment & details including period markings, fancy work, or additions.