• In Barcelona, Spain, Manuel began working in a tailor's shop when he discovered his true calling ... dressing women. In the 1950s he moved to the United States where he was awarded the Fashion Oscar from Harvard University (1954). His first men's collection was presented in 1997 and he was chosen to dress Letizia Ortiz for her wedding to Prince Phillip of Spain ... Can you imagine designing this amazing wedding dress?           Read More
  • Oh yes, stitchers can do anything .... Read More
  • The Scrubba washing machine was developed in Australia primariely for taveling or camping. The key feature is a felxible internal washboard that allows a quality wash in minutes. Just add water, liquid laundry soap and rub the clothes against the internal washboard. To rinse, simply replace the water with clean water and shake the bag. This would likely work well for washing lingerie or tights ... if you wanted to use this rather than the wash sink in the laundry room ....         Read More
  • After you watch an episode of this wonderful costume show, have a look at the picture credits; the Costume Makers are even listed by name ... costumers gotta love that. Costumed by Terry Dresback, the series tries to remain true to authentic Scottish apparel as well as hairstyles of the era. Imagine wearing those heavy wools. The up side, is that they would be warm ...         Read More
  • The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards were presented last night and FARGO won for Outstanding Miniseries and Outstanding Director, congratulations Colin Busksey and the rest of the team! Read More
  •   Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter is known for her work in Lee Daniels' The Butler, Malcom X and Serenity , but in this video Ruth talks about her individual design process; how she gleans the information from the script and how she helps the director accomplish their vision for each project. Get a cup of tea and enjoy ....     Read More
  • Check out the historical career highlights of legendary costume and fashion designer, Bob Mackie. The video includes appearances by Mitzi Gaynor, Ann Margaret, Carol Burnett, Cher, Elton John and Bette Midler ... enjoy Read More
  • Allison Williams Thinks Happy Thoughts as she takes her First PETER PAN flight. Notice the flying harness  that she wears and how it is connected to the overhead stucture. Imagine how odd it must feel to be held by the harness and to move so quickly from side to side. Remember now, the harness is fitted to the performer and worn underneath the costume. Clearly, performers must be fit for this business, as well as courageous ... have a look ... Read More
  • Mal Barton is the Costume Workroom Manager for the Royal Ballet in England. She shows us a tutu from the Sleeping Beauty ballet and how it is fitted to First Artist, Clair Calvert. Ms Barton discusses the range of motion that dancers require from the tutu and to determine that during the fitting. Have a look ... the tutu is lovely ... Read More
  • We can't discuss dance and ballet shoes without at least finding a video on how pointe shoes are made. These distinctive shoes are saved as souvenirs of performances and decorate many a little girls' bedroom.The Freed Shoe Factory makes points shoes for the Royal Ballet. Grab and cup of tea and enjoy this video .... Read More
  • Lori Lahnmann, Administrative Director of the Philidelphia Dance Academy and the Philadelphia Youth Academy talks us through a three steps in this video; Pique' is a movement when the dancer transfers their stance from one let, to the other, by stepping out directly onto pointe. Plie'is a smooth and continuous bending of the knees, outward, with the back held straight and Releve' is rising from any position to balance on one or both feet ....       Read More
  • From time to time, we all notice things in shows that shouldn't be there. It even happens to popular shows ... *Downton Abbey producers were left blushing this week after a plastic bottle was spotted in one of their promotional photographs. Hugh Bonneville and Laura Carmichael look the part in their 1920s costumes, but the offending item can be seen on a mantelpiece behind them. Read More
  • A Costumer's Blind; Mary, what a great idea!  Now you can work on set and have a place to hide from the wind and weather ... wait a minute .... you can drive this .... I want one .... Read More
  • Designing costumes for comedy shows have some major challenges. For example, the costume elements must support the storyline, and, elicit laughter from the audience. Bob Mackie truly worked his genius on the costumes shown on this video - the colour, detail, fabric and visual appeal are matchless ... Read More
  • These costumes are amazing and so beautiful. A big budget helps, but the designer's vision is what eventually what the audience sees. These designs are based on historical clothing but the design elements are what captures our eyes. Check out the armour, the robes and gowns. The crowns of antler and roses, the wedding dress and the golden hand .... the video is sumptuous .... Read More
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  • Manuel Pertegaz: Fashion Designer
    Written by
    Manuel Pertegaz: Fashion Designer

    In Barcelona, Spain, Manuel began working in a tailor's shop when he discovered his true calling ... dressing women. In the 1950s he moved to the United States where he was awarded the Fashion Oscar from Harvard University (1954). His first men's collection was presented in 1997 and he was chosen to dress Letizia Ortiz for her wedding to Prince Phillip of Spain ... Can you imagine designing this amazing wedding dress?






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  • Glam Fabrics
    Written by
    Glam Fabrics

    Ah, the glam fabrics ... you know; velvet, taffeta,satin, brocade, silk, and of course, tulle. These fabrics are very popular for costumes of all kinds; theatre, dance, ballet and historical reproductions. Each type of fabric has it's own ways, and needs to be handled carefully. For example, heavy fabrics like brocade and fabrics with nap like velvet require special care when pinning the layers together. Silk and taffeta require special pressing and laundry, and, just what can I say about tulle? This article discusses some useful tips for costumes made from these fabrics.

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  • Irons and Steamers
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    Irons and Steamers

    A friend of mine once gave me a great travelling tip; if I wanted to keep the centre crease in my trousers but didn't have an iron, I could simply place the trousers between the mattress and the box spring. While I slept, the trousers would become pressed and the centre crease would be restored. It sort of worked, except some wrinkles were pressed too. Too funny. 

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  • Ballet and Dance Footwear
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    Ballet and Dance Footwear

    When I worked for a professional dance company, I learned that all the ballet and dance shoes worn by the performers are fitted by a professional dance shoe representative and purchased by the dance company. The shoes are the property of the company, rather than individual dancers. The dance company purchases dozens of pairs of shoes for each dancer; for rehearsals and performances for the entire dance season. The shoe crate for a touring dance company may bulge with hundreds of individually dyed and labelled shoes. In this blog, I'm going to discuss the most common styles of dance footwear that I encountered.

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  • Costumes for Ballet
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    Costumes for Ballet

    Ballet costumes have a tough job; they must look delicate and gorgeous, be highly flexible, durable and work for the dancer. I think dancers are athletes; they spend more energy in one minute of dance than I do in an entire day. The costumes must cling to their ever-stretching bodies; but not so much that the dancer cannot extent their graceful arms and legs. Indeed, this amazing feat of engineering by accomplished cutters and stitchers is beautifully hidden by silk, lace, beads, jewels and feathers.

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  • Textiles
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      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.

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Show Trailers

The Costumers Institute

P.O Box 1001
Lethbridge, Alberta
T1J 4A2

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  • Dyeing for fabric, leather and suede

    By Rae Stephens
    Dyeing is another tool used in costuming; to completely change the colour or use more as an effect; to age clothing. The colours used dictate the effect. This video explains the basics of how to dye in a bucket,  in a pot on top of the stove and how to dye a pair of leather boots. It's important organize your work space and to gather all your supplies and tools first; rubber gloves, washing sink with hot and cold water,dryer or drying rack, measuring cups, spoons, hot plate or stove, dyes and timer. Make sure your fabric or garment is wet before you place into the dye bath.
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  • How to Iron a Shirt for Stage or Camera Ready condition

    By Rae Stephens
    Ironing a shirt properly can be very important to the show you work on. For example, can you imagine how different Les Miserables or the elegant scenes in James Bond films would look if all those white dress shirts were hopelessly wrinkled? Yikes. Film and television cameras are able to zoom in for a close up and costumers are loathe to see anything less than a beautiful, crisply ironed collar,yoke, sleeves and body of a costume shirt.    
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  • Bloody Wound

    By Rae Stephens
    Costumers often work with special effects artists to create a scene; anytime a costume is involved, a costumer will be present. Our area of concern is both for the costume and the performer. Creating realistic wounds is very time consuming and demands a certain level of expertise. It is often difficult to incorporate dripping, wounds into a stage show because the show is live; no one wants the dripping fake blood all over the stage, shoes and wherever else it may fall. The artist in the video does a wonderful job creating the wound; have a peek and see what I mean.
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  • Costume Construction Steps

    By Rae Stephens
    Original costumes used for a show are constructed or built in the Costume Shop. The starting point is always the same; the costume design. Costume Designers discuss and describe in detail each costume that is to be built. When you overhear such a discussion, you'll hear words and phrases such as off the shoulder, fullness, hidden closures, drop waist, fitted, hidden pockets, empire line and princess line. These terms help the cutter understand how the competed costume should look and are then able to produce an accurate pattern.
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