B uilding on one basic bodice pattern Ambrose suggests different trim that will change the attitude, style and period of the garment. A Victorian Bodice is achieved by adding a high neck and leg o’ mutton sleeve. Rococo bodices from the 1770s are created for different events: dinner, garden, travel or party. Adaptations for Restoration 1650s create different classes: peasant, upper class, court, travel. The 1600 Elizabethan looks include court, merchant, upper class, and peasant. Additional sleeve treatments for the 15th-16th centuries are also included.

4 x 6 in.


Bonnie Holt Ambrose has been designing, cutting, and maintaining costumes in her own theatrical supply company for over 25 years. Ambrose supplies costumes to many light opera companies, Gilbert & Sullivan Performance Groups, and educational theatre productions. Her shows have been produced at the Wortham Theatre Center, Houston, Texas to the Buxton Opera House, Buxton, England and all points in between. The patterns she designs are also popular with re-enactment groups.

Amazon Reviews:

“A concise reference for the Theatrical Costumer. This book is great for the person limited on time and space for costumes. It shows how to transform a basic shape into several different looks depending on the details. Elizabethan, Rococo, Restoration and some Victorian are all covered briefly. Don’t be shocked about how small it is. There is a lot compacted into this little reference guide.”

“The Little Bodice Book shows how to take a mid-20th century bodice pattern with bust darts and decorate it to give the impression of historical style. This is a fine book for school and community theater.”

“Excellent for amateur costumers. Covers basic bodice construction thoroughly with enough detail in the instruction to support basic theater or festival-type needs. Shows in black/white, hand-drawn diagrams how to modify the basic pattern to depict different classes of bodices, in the eras of 1600 (Elizabethan), 1650 (Restoration), 1770 (Rococo), and Victorian.”

Concise reference

There is a lot in this little reference guide.