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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
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.
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.