Thursday, 03 August 2017 13:39

Costume Shop Safety

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*(Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning)


A Proper chair

A proper adjustable chair makes all the difference; I know it sounds too simple, but it’s true.    Sit all the way back in the chair; with your back against the chair back. Poor leg circulation, upper back neck, shoulder and hand pain can result from improper sitting. Look for a chair with pneumatic seat lift; this allows the seat height to be adjusted, and, choose a chair with a good pneumatic lift warranty.

The seat should articulate; this means the seat can be tilted level or slant down in front. A waterfall seat curves down at the front (behind your knees) reducing pressure on the back of your leg which directly impedes circulation. If the seat is too deep from back to front, the seat will cut into the back of your legs and again, impede circulation. If it is too shallow, it won’t provide enough support.

If your chair has armrests, make sure they are adjusted to fit. Adjust the seat back to fit the curve of your back. Notice that as you sit, your knees should be slightly lower than your hips. Your seat and hips should be fully in the chair - with your back against the back of the chair. I have worked with many costumers who bring their own chairs with them to the work call in order to prevent back pain and back discomfort or further injury.


When you do stand away from your work, take a moment to correct your posture; take a deep breath and align your shoulders, hips and knees before you walk away. If your work requires you to stand in place for a long time, try to stand on a carpet or an ergonomic mat and take frequent breaks to stretch.

Pick a mat that is large enough to allow you to move around a bit; moving is crucial to comfort. Most anti-fatigue mats have gel or foam cores underneath the outer covering. Polyurethanes is a suitable covering; flexible, durable, easy to clean, won't off gas or leach plastic, resistant to mildew and microbial growth. 


And Finally, would you like to dance and rid yourself of all that tension like these folks? 

Have a healthy and safe fall, my lovelies ….


Safety information and photos:

Costume Shop Safety OSHA Occupational Safety and Health

Photos by Earl Dotter

Administration (United States Department of Labor, CCOHS Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety


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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.