The underlying structure, patterns and templates provide the shape and style of dresses, head dresses, collars, belts, leg pieces and large forms including back packs. These mentioned items are individual parts of carnival clothing for each themed section.

Costumes have undergone a vast evolution over time. Former popular fabrics used in the 1960’s were satin, velvet, lamé, cotton, corduroy and linen. In addition, materials being used to create the underlying structure for larger costumes and back packs, a structure worn on the back to aid wearing, comprised of steel, copper, aluminium, wood and bamboo. These materials were used to provide shapes for larger depictions. However, these materials were somewhat heavy and rigid, and often required the wearer to be assisted in order to carry the weight of the costume. This often meant that costumes where supported on wheel structures. Cane was one of a few flexible lightweight options at the time. Body dress style often depicted aspects of the royal courts, dresses relating to ceremonial occasions and cultural influences.

By the late 1970’s cane had a resurgence for being the material of choice to create wings and more aero dynamic shapes due to it being a natural light fibre. Fibre glass, plastics and styrofoam have also become the items of choice for modern costumes. Lighter fabrics of silks, organza, polyester and cottons are the present choices for today’s carnival dress and costume making.

Stages of Creating a Peacock

Foundation of costume construction

Patterns & Templates 

The dress makers are responsible for creating a variety of textures, shapes and forms for the dress. Paper patterns are used as the primary stage of development to shape collars, sleeves, front and back of shirts, skirts, dresses and trousers which contribute towards the overall shape and fit of carnival outfits.

Creating templates for every part of a section or large costumes are also drawn on paper, before it is transferred to materials like leather, fabrics, sheet foam, plastics and metals etc. For example, in seeking to create a butterfly, templates of its feelers, the shape of the head, body and wings all need to be individually templated so that the scores or hundreds of samples are identical for the section it represents.