Rae Stephens

Rae Stephens

Friday, 01 August 2014 00:00

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.

Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00


Scissors are not just a basic tool used in costuming, they are a bridge to the ancient Mesopotamian past. In fact,the first scissors may have been used in ancient Egypt and their modern cousins, the spring scissor type are still in use today. Spring snips have two blades connected at the handle, squeeze the blades together to cut, and then release to pull them apart. I have a pair of these squeeze snips in my sewing kit; alongside paper scissors, embroidery scissors, cutting shears and pinking shears. 

Monday, 17 November 2014 00:00

Working Backstage in Theatre Blacks

Costumers, Dressers and anyone working backstage during a live production wears black clothing commonly called theatre blacks. Backstage lighting is very dim during a show and black is worn backstage as a method of cloaking people who need to move around to do their work; like the Burges Hill Theatre Crew in the picture. The entire crew for a show will be decked out in black; sometimes bumping into each other in the darkness. 

Page 340 of 347

The Costumer's Notebook,

The book The Costumer's Notebook is a 295 page comprehensive handbook for Costumers for stage and film including a full Glossary of stage and film industry terms. Sections include methods and tricks for laundry, dyeing, breakdown, Dresser guidelines and protocols for Stage or Film and various size charts for men and women from shoes to gloves. Other Sections include diagrams showing How to Iron A Shirt, How to Tie a Tie and How to Tie a Bow Tie. Costume fittings, costume lay out and costume storage are also discussed.