• Sometimes, we need to serge a square neckline. This is tricky work; I know I needed to practise more than just a few times. At one point, the video instructor asks the viewer to make a small cut of 2-3 millimetres or 1/8 of an inch. It's a pretty small snip, but effective. Have a look at the video and give it a try. Read More
  • Hats are a part of our clothing history and are regularly included as part of a costume accessory, to finish a costume ensemble. Picking the right hat is important. Phillip Ian Wright discusses the importance of hats, and how they finish the look. Get a cup and tea and have a look at this video; Picking the Right Hat. Read More
  • Stage Costumers and Dressers become familiar with the backstage areas and also the acting areas of the stage.The list of costume changes develops from the rehearsal process. Stage Management informs Wardrobe and these notes become the Doff and Don chart (the who, what and where of costume changes). For example, the location of the first costume change may occur SL (stage left) and the second costume change maybe located SR (stage right). This means the Costumer needs to travel backstage and;  Read More
  • Mens show footwear requires care and diligence. The shoes need to be clean and in good condition to provide the stability required by performers. The type of show, and type of shoe will determine the shoe care schedule. Dress shoes that must gleam for each performance will probably require daily maintenance, on the other hand, work boots may only require conditioning from time to time.  Read More
  •   The dyeing arts are creative and fun. Raw fabric may be dyed, then cut and sewn into costumes, or; a finished costume may be over-dyed, under-dyed or dipped into a bath of coffee or tea.   Try to get organized before you begin, it saves steps in the long run. Make sure your workplace is clean and uncrowded; you need space to work.   If necessary, hang plastic to mask the surrounding area so it does not become contaminated by air borne dye powder. Always read the manufacturers' instructions carefully as dyes vary from company to company. Read More
  • Megan Fairchild, Principal Dancer for the New York City Ballet discusses ballet pointe shoes. She talks about the shoe and how ballerinas feel about them ...., and Angel Betancourt explains that dancers will often wear out one shoe in one day, or one performance. Can you imagine how many shoes a ballerina wears if the show has eight performances in one week? That's 8 shoes per week! Wendy Whelen, also a Principal Dancer with the company shoes us how to break in a pair of pointe shoes ... interesting. Read More
  • Colour is a very important tool in costume design because in most societies, certain colours have certain connotations. For example, white usually shows purity and is often used for weddings, while black is often used for funerals. Throughout history, colours have been used to show different characteristics and also convey emotions, from hot to cool; for example a red dress worn by a boisterous character. The designer can use this idea to deepen the connection between the characters and the action of the story; to use colour and texture to help create characters that remain with the audience, long after the show is over. Read More
  • Can you name 7 sections commonly found in aWardrobe Bible Book? The Bible Book is a three ringed binder that holds the complete wardrobe paperwork record for any project. Of course, the finished costumes and costume photographs are proof of the accomplished work, but the Bible Book also contains specific costume notes including special costume or fabric care or cleaning, dyeing and breakdown notes.    Read More
  • Embarrassing moments caught on camera forever by members of the press. Some of the photos were posed, some were taken while the celebrity was getting out of a car, or walking or performing. It is so easy for clothing to shift and expose more than what was intended. My heart always breaks a bit when I see these pics because the performers are so vulnerable. They really do need costumers to check their every move, to make sure the outfit wont reveal anything the performer does not wish. Some of these mistakes could have been avoided .... Read More
  • Suede and leather materials are often used in costumes. It is important that costumers understand the different dyeing techniques used in the leather industry and how best to care for leather and suede items. This video is very informative and uses items that we are familiar with in our everyday lives. Tune in, fellow costumers .... Read More
  • Costumers work with many different styles of woman's shoes and footwear; ranging from fabulous stiletto heels, pumps and boots to flat ballet shoes. Each pair of shoes need to be inspected to determine whether or not it needs to be cleaned, conditioned or touched up before the show or between performances. Basic Shoe Care principles apply, but begin with a visual inspection. Read More
  • Washing, Dyeing and Finishing is a video about individual artists working on jeans in the fashion industry. I wanted to share this work with you from the standpoint of the breakdown artist. Breakdown artists work in much the same way - one item at a time, giving each area specific attention. Breakdown artists break down an item to get the Costume Designers' approval. Once the designer accepts the work, the breakdown artist must breakdown two more costumes, identical to the first. See how these folks do it ... Read More
  •   We can't always have a tour around our favorite dry cleaners but it is important for costumers to understand the dry cleaning process. Here's some things that I've learned that will help.   Remove all dry cleaning bags from garments as soon as possible and allow them to air in a well ventilated area for as long as possible.   Some performers may request that dry cleaned costumes not be stored in the dressing room because the dry cleaning chemicals become airborne and are very drying to their throats. Try to accommodate such requests, but check with your supervisor, just to be sure. Read More
  • Part Two - Dyeing Techniques - Brush Ombre discusses the brush method to achieve an ombre effect!   This method lends itself to individual projects such as t-shirts and scarves; and can easily be set up at home.   The brush method allows the dyer more control over the placement of colour and diluting water. Read More
  • The Bloody Knife is a wonderful, dramatic bloody special effect. As a rule, Props or Special Effects artists design props like this blood knife, but as long as blood is used anywhere around a costume, a costumer will be nearby. It is always a good idea to learn as much as possible about any special effect that may involve wardrobe because, at the end of the day, the costume will be returned to the care of a costumer. Read More
  • The night before working as a Dresser I would make sure my Dresser Kit was ready to go. I used a fanny pack to hold my needle book with two threaded needles, scissors, thimble, gum, seam ripper, safety pins, flashlight and note pad and pen. Replenish your kit regularly; check your flashlight batteries, re-thread needles so they are ready to work and replace safety pins if you hand them out.  Read More
  •   Traditionally, textile fibres come from four major sources; animal (wool, silk), plant (cotton,flax,jute), mineral (glass fibre) and synthetic (nylon, polyester, acrylic). In the 20th century, new artificial fibres were made from petroleum. These new fibres can be mixed with the other fibres to create new fabrics.    The WOW factor for costumes is usually shared between the fabrics, trims and costume design. Shiny fabrics, trimmed with beads or lights dazzle the audience and costumers alike. It is so exciting to be introduced to new fabrics and technology; indeed, costumers are very attentive while the Head of Wardrobe discusses new fabrics, trims and costume effects.   I have put together a list of basic textiles - you are likely familiar with most of them but new fabrics and textures are being invented every day - eventually, they wind up being used in costumes. Read More
  • Here is a tip for the laundry area in the Costume Shop or at home - put up a laundry chart or poster for quick reference. Find one that is attractive and lists accurate solutions to laundry problems. Make sure the list reflects your lifestyle; if you play soccer, you may need advice for removing grass stains or if you work in an office, you may need advice for removing pen ink. Develop a Laundry Caddy for the laundry area and include all the items need to battle those laundry-day blues. Read More
  •  Scissors are not just a basic tool used in costuming, they are a bridge to the ancient Mesopotamian past. In fact,the first scissors may have been used in ancient Egypt and their modern cousins, the spring scissor type are still in use today. Spring snips have two blades connected at the handle, squeeze the blades together to cut, and then release to pull them apart. I have a pair of these squeeze snips in my sewing kit; alongside paper scissors, embroidery scissors, cutting shears and pinking shears.  Read More
  • For the most part, show laundry is the same as regular, home laundry. Costumes worn by performers need to be cleaned; one way or another and the cleaning can be unconventional at times because costumes are often made of unconventional materials. Those breathtaking costumes made with fabric, feathers, grasses, sequins, crystals and painted plastic require special care in order to look good for each show. Costumers are aware that costumes last longer if they are stored in a clean, dry condition; make-up stains, sweat and body odour left in a costume may not come out. Read More
  •    In a world of spray this and that, I thought to offer some Green Cleaning solutions from the kitchen that would work for costumes; if one has the luxury of time. Modern cleaning products may be more effective, but these may prove helpful in a pinch and wont harm, at any rate.    Always test a product, even a natural one, before using. Try the mixture on some scrap fabric, or use on a place where any negative effect will be hidden from view, such as the garment hem or seam allowance.  Read More
  • Even Mary Poppins gets a few notes ... good idea, put your feet up. Directors, Choreographers, Voice Coaches and other people connected to a show may need some time with the performer, even though they are in costume. Costumers always respect the work and worry about the costume later. No doubt, the costumer for Mary Poppins would have given her final touches before the filming resumed... making sure everything was just perfect. Read More
  • Mascot Designers are in big demand. It is not easy to design a large costume that needs to fit over a human being, and allow for freedom of movement. The person inside needs to be able to see and breathe without obstruction, and, keep cool if at all possible. Check out this video and learn a few new tricks ... Read More
  • Leather gloves may be dyed with aniline or painted dyes. Aniline dyes are impregnated into the leather, while painted dyes are painted on the surface only. If too harsh a cleaner is used to clean your leather gloves, the colour may be removed. Have a look at this short video about leather glove care. Remember; baby wipes clean almost everything ... Read More
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The Costumers Institute

P.O Box 1001
Lethbridge, Alberta
T1J 4A2

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  • Drone-proof fashion

    Designers and artists are constantly developing ideas that make our lives more comfortable, better looking, and more protective than ever. Check out this video to see what we might wear in the future ...
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  • New York City Ballet - Recreating a Tutu

    Ballet companies are not always able to build brand new costumes for each ballet; sometimes, the costume shop is charged with the job of refreshing or recreating a tutu. Over the years fabric colours destabilize and look faded or blotchy. Costumers refer to the Bible Book to see the original fabrics, colours and trims that were used in the tutu. Ribbon, jewels and trims are often salvaged from an older costume and replaced on the new one; connecting the old and new.
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  • Corrie Bloopers

    I love Corrie; I watch for the costumes and the drama!
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  • Wicked funnies

    Broadway.com takes us backstage at a performance of WICKED. I couldn't help but smile at the antics of the performers; some are in full costume and makeup. If you like the show, I think you'll like this video. Enjoy ...
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