Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:00


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Abby - Second last scene that will be shot on a film day.

abrasive tools - Gritty or fine sandpaper, files, scrapers, dremels, and power sanders.

AD - Assistant Director.

ADC - Associated Designers of Canada.

apron or pouch - worn by Costumers. Includes hand-sewing needles, black thread, white thread, seam ripper, thimble, several safety pins, and scissors.

Art Director - person who designs the sets, scenery, and location of the film. In a stage show, this person is called Set Designer.

Assistant Costume Designer - assists the Costume Designer with the design duties of a show.

atmosphere performers or background or extras performers; local film actors who appear in the background. They do not have scripted lines of dialogue but may provide background murmuring or crowd noises.


background performers or atmosphere or extras performers; local film actors who appear in the background. They do not have scripted lines of dialogue but may provide background murmuring or crowd noises.

Background Supervisor or Extras Supervisor; person responsible for background–atmosphere– extras wardrobe for a film.

basic package - costume hanging arrangement for a character in a film project.

Beaders - person who decorates costumes and accessories with beads and sequins.

Bible Book - complete wardrobe record for any project. This book includes the script, cast measurement sheets, costume drawings for each scene, the costume plot, don–doff charts, and costume photographs.

bite light- small flashlight operated by biting on the sides. Worn on cord around neck, it leaves hands free for backstage wardrobe tasks during the show.

block rentals - wardrobe rented in blocks. E.g., 30 men’s 1950s suits in various colours and sizes; 100 men’s and women’s 1920s social outfits in various colours and sizes.

bow tie - demonstration chart

breakdown - act of breaking down a garment to make it look old and worn.

Breakdown Artist - person who makes costumes and fabric appear old and worn.

breakdown–dyeing kit - baby oil, rubber gloves, leather gloves, respirator, hat, sunscreen, bug repellent, screwdrivers, pliers, dremels, sandpapers, scrapers, wax, acrylic paints, self-adhesive foam insulation strips for hats, several colours of clay powder and shoe polish, extension cords, clamps, and free-standing and clamp lights.

Business Agent - IATSE Union agent who assists you with the deal memo on a film.

Buyer - person who purchases costumes and supplies for the Costume Designer.


call time, location and nature of your task. E.g., Costumers, 8 a.m., Amazing Theatre, set up, dress, and strike show.

call sheet list of the scenes to be shot on a film day. Contains a list of all departments and people working on the project plus a short weather report, lunch time, and wrap time.

camera ready - costume is ready to be shown on camera.

cast–casting - process of hiring actors to portray characters. Talent Agents send actor photos and resumes to the Casting Agents.

Casting Agent - person who hires performers for a film.

Circus - collection of tents, trailers, and trucks on a film set, including Wardrobe, Hair, and Make-Up trucks, Performers’ Dressing Room trailers, crew bathrooms, Assistant Directors’ Offices, Lunchroom Tent, and Catering Truck. The administrative headquarters.

Cobbler - person who makes shoes and boots.

collective agreement - union contract agreement between production company and employees.

contact list - list of everyone engaged on a project, including department, phone, fax, and email information.

continuity - unbroken and consistent operation of something over a period of time. In film, this means costumes are worn the same way and look the same each time they are filmed. E.g., if a performer wears a costume hat, the hat must be worn in the same way in all scenes, to maintain continuity

costume - outfit worn to create the appearance characteristic of a certain person, period, place or thing.

costume change booth - small three-sided booth with a curtain door. Inside there is usually a rug, chair, and mirror.

Costume Craftsperson - person who makes jewelry, crowns, armour, masks, and costume decorations.

Costume Designer - person who determines the costume requirements for the project. Presents the story visually through actors’ clothing and accessories.

costume plot - chart listing each character and the costumes they wear for each scene.

costume rack dividers/doughnuts - small disks used by retail stores to divide the S from M from L from XXL, usually round with a small opening.

costume renderings final, coloured or painted costume designs that are presented to the Director for approval.

Costume Shop Manager - person responsible for the Costume Shop, machines, suppliers, supplies, schedules, and personnel.

costume sketches - pencil or pen sketches of the basic costume style.

Costumer - person who works with costume and wardrobe.

craft service - film department that provides light food to a film or television set.

Cutter - person skilled in pattern-making, responsible for cutting out garments that are to be sewn or constructed.


day call
arrangement to work for one day at a time. You work as a daily.

day player
actor contracted for a small acting role or cameo appearance, usually lasting one day.

deal memo
employment contract including your job description.

Designers Guild of Canada
Designers Guild of Canada. Collective representation for professional film and theatre designers in Canada.

supervisor of the production of a stage or film show, responsible for action, lighting, music, and rehearsals.

Director of Photography
DOP. Head of the Camera Department, responsible to provide proper lighting for a film shoot. The Lighting Designer does this work for stage.

don means to put on and doff means to remove.

Director of Photography.
to dress an actor in costume, to assist with the wardrobe.

dress rehearsal
rehearsal of a show with full costumes. This rehearsal allows the Designer and Director to see if the overall idea of the show is being carried forward by the visual elements of design.

Dresser or Performer’s Costumer
person who assists performers with their costumes.

process of changing the colour of a garment.

person who manipulates and shifts the colours and finishes (glitter, glossy, or dull) of costumes and fabric, through the dyeing process.


extras performers
or background or atmosphere performers; local film actors who appear in the background. They do not have scripted lines of dialogue but may provide background murmuring or crowd noises.

Extras Supervisor
or Background Supervisor; person responsible for extras wardrobe for a film.


face lift, two-minute
Take an egg, separate the yolk from the egg white. Use a facecloth to wash your face with warm soapy water, rinse and pat dry with a towel. Brush the egg white over the surface of your face and neck with a pastry brush. Avoid the eyes and lips. Allow the egg white to harden. Use a face cloth to wash off the egg with warm soapy water, gently pat dry with a towel. Your cleansed skin should feel soft and comfortable.

fanny pack
small pouch worn around a person’s waist.

fast change
costume change that takes one to five minutes.

film terms

Abby, continuity, craft service, cut, hold camera, rolling, stand by, window, wrap

coloured transparent acetate sheet attached to a stage light to colour the light. E.g., A Sepia gel filters the light to cast a brownish tint that makes the scene look old.

final approval
approval from the Director for the show designs submitted by the Set Designer and Costume Designer.

final touches
refers to the time when a Costumer makes final costume adjustments before a film scene is shot.

First AD or 1st AD; First Assistant to the Director.

First Assistant to the Director
or First AD; person who assists the Director. There may be a Second AD, a Third AD and even a Fourth Assistant Director.

first day of principal camera
first day of shooting principal performers.

First Hand
person who assists the Cutter.

fitting room
secure, warm, clean area for fittings.

scheduled appointments to fit the costume to the actor.

four-in-hand knot
demonstration chart for how to tie a tie.


a coloured transparent acetate sheet attached to a stage light to colour the light. E.g., A Sepia gel filters the light to cast a brownish tint that makes the scene look old.

General Manager
for stage; person responsible for managing the production; organizes the project, sets deadlines, hires all personnel.

rolling wooden wardrobe boxes that carry the show costumes on tour. Approximately 3’ deep x 6’ long and 5’ tall.

Green Room
lounge room located near the stage in a theatre, where actors may wait before going on stage. Usually equipped with television monitor (shows the show in progress), audio speakers, comfortable furniture, books, and kitchen facilities.


Hair Designer
person who creates the hair designs used during a stage production.

Head of Wardrobe
or Costume Shop Manager or Costume Supervisor; person who manages the Costume Room.

hold camera
when the camera has to stop rolling during a scene.

hot stock
all wardrobe worn on camera in a film production.


International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees. This union supplies people to work on film, television and stage shows throughout the United States and Canada.


Key Hair Designer
person who creates the hair designs used during a movie production.

Key Make-Up Designer
person who creates the make-up for a movie production.

collection of tools, machines and supplies that are rented to a film or stage production for the duration of a project. E.g., sewing kit, breakdown kit, truck kit.

person who constructs or decorates knitted costumes and accessories.


person who makes leather costumes and accessories such as belts and bags.

Lighting Designer
person responsible for the lighting effects for a stage production.

Location Department
supplies the physical requirements while on location for a film. E.g., tents, heaters, chairs, area lighting, tables, garbage, and recycling bins.


Make-Up Designer
person responsible to create the make-up design for a stage production.

Meet ‘N’ Greet
gathering organized to introduce people who work on the same project. E.g., production people meet designers, or Dressers meet performers.

person who builds, repairs, reconstructs, sizes, and maintains headwear.

modes and manners
the day-to-day practices of any period. E.g., During the 1800s, men would tip their hats to a woman or men would stand up in the presence of a lady.


on set
where the actual filming is taking place. E.g., Cinderella’s hearth, the castle grounds.

Opening Night
first night a show is performed for an audience.

operational lights
lights that are sewn onto a costume.


Performer’s Costumer
person who assists performers with their costumes.

period costume
costumes of a specific decade or century. E.g., 1960s, 70s or 1600s.

pouch or apron
worn by Costumers. Includes hand-sewing needles, black thread, white thread, a seam ripper, a thimble, a few safety pins, and a pair of scissors.

principal actor
or principal performer; an actor who plays a main role in the project. There are usually several principal performers.

principal camera
refers to the first day of shooting the principal actors.

Principal Truck Costumer
person who organizes all the costumes for the principal performers (movie stars) on a daily basis.

production kit
tools supplied by Costumer in a project. Composed of the breakdown– dyeing kit, laundry kit, sewing kit, shoe kit, and truck kit.

Production Manager
for film; person responsible for managing the production; organizes the project, sets deadlines, hires all personnel.

production meeting
includes Technical Director (stage), Production Manager (film), Show Director, Designers, and Heads of Costume, Props and Scene Shops.

informal rules or procedures that apply to specific situations. E.g., wear blacks, be quiet on set.

small explosive squibs added to a costume to give the appearance of gunshot or bullet holes.


rendering artist
person employed by a Designer to draw and paint the costume designs.

term that announces that the camera is rolling and that the scene is in play. Everyone on the set must be quiet and keep out of sight.

Royal Dresser
For employment, contact the Personnel Office at Buckingham Palace. Mail: The Recruitment Assistant,
The Royal Household, Buckingham Palace, London, England UK SW1AA
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

running crew or show crew the team of people who assist running each performance.


written dialogue and stage directions of a stage play, screenplay or broadcast.

script breakdown
process of analyzing the script for period, location, season, style, number of cast, costumes, costume changes and accessories for the production.

colour of gel that tints a photo with an antique brownish colour.

Set Designer
person responsible to design the set for a stage production.

Set Supervisor
person who acts as Costume Designer’s representative on a film set.

sewing kit
selection of needles, pins, thread, seam rippers, tape measure, scissors, sewing notions. May include sewing machines, sergers, ironing boards, iron, and steamer.

sewing safety tips
include never hold needles or safety pins in your mouth.

shoe kit
cleaners, scrapers, brushes, soft cloths, conditioners, shoe polishes, spray colours, insoles, foot warmers, foot powders, blister treatments, and moleskin.

or Buyer; person who works with the Costume Designer to purchase costumes or supplies.

small pyrotechnic devices that are added to a costume. When exploded, they give the appearance of bullet hits. Licensed Special Effects personnel must handle these devices.

stage blood
fake blood mixture used for stage and film productions, usually soap- based for easy laundering.

stage strike
process of dismantling the sets, props, and wardrobe used for a show.

stand by
film term announcing that, after a short delay, filming will begin. This call signals the crew to be quiet and keep out of sight.

person who who sews garments.

Stunt Director
person responsible to create stunts used during film or stage production.

person who works with a celebrity to create their “look” and select their personal wardrobe.

show gifts the production company buys the entire crew. Show gifts could include caps, coats, T-shirts, hoodies, or bags embroidered with the title of the production.

sample piece of fabric.


person who makes fitted garments. E.g., suits, trousers, jackets.

Talent Agent
person who who manages the careers of actors and celebrities.

professional union for truck drivers and chauffeurs.

toxic dump
garbage location for discarded paints, thinners, aerosol sprays, and dyes.

routine or route (number of cues and location of cues) that a Dresser needs to execute during a stage show.

Truck Costumer
or Wardrobe Truck Costumer; person responsible to maintain principal or background wardrobe on location for a film.

truck kit
rolling racks, drying racks, hanging racks, all-weather gear in various sizes, comfort gear (housecoats, sweaters), hand warmers, hats, mitts, earmuffs, hip waders in various sizes, a dozen large umbrellas for rain and sun cover, small power tools, cordless hand tools, extension cords, and batteries.


one costume worn under another costume.

unfitted wardrobe
unfitted costume pieces in a variety of colours and sizes.


collection of costumes. E.g., wardrobe for 1930. Also refers to the department
where costuming takes place.

wardrobe inventory
organized collection of costume pieces. E.g., trousers, shirts, blouses, skirts.

Wardrobe Supervisor
person who supervises the Costume Department.

last film shot of the day.

end of the shooting day or period on a film project. E.g., when the First AD calls Wrap, the day is over.

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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.