• 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
  • 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, illicit 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
  • Interviews with Costume Designers are few and far between; too bad, because they are interesting and informative. The elements of design change with each project and only the costume designer can explain why they make the choices they do. These discussions provide gems of encouragement for other designers, there is always wisdom in their words ...  Read More
  • Gilbert Arian (1903-1959) was Hollywood Costume Designer and his designs are truly some of my favourites .... did you know he created the largest shoulder pads Joan Crawford ever wore .... Read More
  • The MGM Adrian fashion show illustrates how Adrian incorporates dramatic elements in his designs ...everyday drama .... Read More
  • Dr. Alexandra Palmer, Senior Curator, Nora E. Vaughan Fashion Costume Curatorship opens a package from Dior. Inside is a stunning couture dress commissioned by the ROM. See how they handle everything with care ... Read More
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  • Irons and Steamers
    Written by
    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
    Written by

      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 Laundry
    Written by
    Show Laundry

    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.

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  • Dyeing techniques - Part Two - Brush Ombre
    Written by
    Dyeing techniques - Part Two - Brush Ombre

    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.

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Show Trailers

The Costumers Institute

P.O Box 1001
Lethbridge, Alberta
T1J 4A2

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  • Some actors try so hard .... 

    By Rae Stephens
    During a fight scene, an actor may place a capsule of stage blood just inside his mouth. When the fake punch is delivered, he bites down on the capsule, releasing the fake blood to spill over his lips and chin. He thought if one blood capsule makes the punch to the jaw look bloody, imagine how good the effect will look with two capsules! He placed two capsules in his mouth and when the other actor swung his fist, he bit down hard. What an effect.... red foamy bubbles started to flow from his mouth, down his chin and out into the air towards the audience with each work he spoke. Too funny; he had forgotten the stage blood recipe he was using included blue dish soap and red food colouring ....
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  • Wicked funnies

    By Rae Stephens
    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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  • Finger weaving

    By Rae Stephens
    Does anyone else remember finger weaving? I remember trying to work the yarn; some girls really worked it well and made such designs. Anyways, a blast from the past to look at again.
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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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