• 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
  • 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
  • We're having a contest!  A Costumers Notebook Give Away! Like Us for a chance to win a autographed/signed copy of my book The Costumer's Notebook!   Winners will be chosen at random September 1st, 2014. Contest closes August 31,2014 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
  • 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
  • What's next? .... Smart Shoes! This was just too interesting not to share. How do you think costumers could be  impacted; my thoughts are at the end of the article. Read More
  • Check out this video from Josee Gardner and the Costume Shop at the University of Washington ...The Costume Shop is a busy place and Josee Gardner seems like a great host. Enjoy ... Read More
  • Join antoinette Westphal as she takes us through the costume collection at the Drexel University ... Read More
  • Thomas Schumacher, President of the Disney Theatrical Group takes us through a complete costume change for Mary Poppins, in real time. The clock runs in the corner of the screen, and we can watch the two dressers and makeup artist assist with the change. Read More
  • WOW! Behind the scenes with Spider-Man is incredible ... special FX and choreographed fights are exciting to watch. Take a look for yourself, then call in the kids ... Read More
  • Gillian Austin; Wardrobe Supervisor for Priscilla Queen of the Desert takes us backstage to show us costumes and excerpts of this wild and amazing show .... Read More
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  • Ballet and Dance Footwear
    Written by
    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
    Written by
    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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  • Facebook Contest!
    Written by
    Facebook Contest!

    We're having a contest!  A Costumers Notebook Give Away!

    Like Us for a chance to win a autographed/signed copy of my book

    The Costumer's Notebook!


    Winners will be chosen at random September 1st, 2014.

    Contest closes August 31,2014

    in Costumers News 2 comments
  • 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.

    in Costumers Blog 1 comment
  • 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
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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.
    Read More
  • Sharpening Scissors at Home

    By Rae Stephens
    I'll never forget the first time I returned to the costume shop just as a person, whom I did not know, was holding a large piece of poster paper in one hand and was reaching towards my expensive cutting shears with the other. Yikes! I remember having a horrible feeling in my stomach; danger somehow .... 
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
  • 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.
    Read More
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