• 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Just how do costumers fatten up an actor to play a role? Kevin Durand shows us how to wear the fat suit; specially engineered  for X-Men Origins ... it's pretty amazing ... Read More
  • Sometimes dancers arrive at the theatre and their flat shoes need to be touched up or dyed. This work is usually done at the studio, but in a pinch, the shoe can be painted with colour or sprayed with shoe dye, in the theatre workshop. Work on newspaper to protect the work surface and, work in a well ventilated area where the shoes can dry without being disturbed. The usual shoe tips apply; fill the cavity with plastic bags, rags or newspaper and wear a mask and gloves. Have a look while Nicki, from the Premier School of Dance shows us how to paint flat ballet shoes.  Read More
  • At one time, men weren't considered to be fully dressed, unless they wore the proper hat. Men tipped their hats to women and the clergy as a sign of respect. Nowadays, many men wear a logo cap. Visit the Barbisio hat factory in Italy to see how La Dolce Vita inspired mens handmade hats in the 1940s and 1950s. It is an amazing process ... Read More
  • Skilled Costumers are proficient at doing many different things, and some days, they work with other costumers and learn something completely new. How to they manage to keep track of all these things? Well, when I first began working in the industry, I was encouraged (thank you Gay and Maureen) to take notes on anything that was new. If something changed or was used in a specific way, I was to record that, as well. I soon realized that keeping notes and samples of ironing, hanging, dyeing and breakdown techniques kept me current, no matter what job I took the call for. At the end of the day, I would place these items in a cardboard filing box marked Projects. The night before a gig, I could read over the pertinent notes and be fully ready and in the zone for work the next day. Nowadays, our cell phones can be our notebooks and keep us current on the latest tool or technique we may need. Read More
  • Steaming is steaming, no matter what brand or style. They are all used in the same way ...  Read More
  • Celebrity Designer Nick Verrenos shows us some steaming tips in this video ... ever get a steamer that drips? He has a great solution ... take a look Read More
  • Want to watch some quick changes? Try to count the number of costumes that are worn during this show. How are the changes made? What happens to the discarded or doffed costumes? Where do the new costumes come from? Get a cup of tea and watch this fun video ... gotta love it. Read More
  • Remember Lucy in the Peanuts cartoons? She used to go around shouting "... attention ... attention ... attention......... I just love attention..." Well I do too; especially when I work as a dresser. I love helping the performers into their costumes and seeing them make their entrance onstage ... right on cue. Listen to a few performers talk about their dressers ... attention...attention ... attention .... Read More
  • Before you run out the door to your film call, check that you have all the stuff you need. You need work gear, stuff to use on the job. You need personal gear, stuff like sunscreen and bug repellent. Then, theres all the clothing gear you need - What if it rains during the filming? What if it snows during summer filming? Costumers need to be prepared, here is a beginning of a list for you ... go ahead and add your own items. Read More
  • Try using the Shibori dyeing technique for special effects. This technique was developed in Japan, and the effects are very interesting. Each dyeing technique allows costumers to create the exact effect the Costume Designer may be looking for. Costumers can never, ever, have too much information ... enjoy this ... 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
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  • Sewing Machines and Sergers
    Written by
    Sewing Machines and Sergers

    To my delight, the first Costume shop I worked in had a selection of sewing machines: domestic sewing machines, industrial sewing machines and a serger. Up until then, I had been a home sewer, so I recognized the domestic lockstitch machine, but the industrial machine and serger were both new and frightening to me.

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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
    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
    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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Show Trailers

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The Costumers Institute

P.O Box 1001
Lethbridge, Alberta
T1J 4A2

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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.
    Read More
  • 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.    
    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
  • 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 .... 
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