Carol Lingwood and Lizzy Honeybone from the National Theatre talks to us about the dye room. Notice how they have it set up for work; brushes together, sanding gear together, and of course, the tea cups ...
Playbill takes a tour of the wardrobe department of Disney's "Mary Poppins", which operates on eight floors of Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre. Here, you'll find over a dozen stitchers, costumers, wardrobe supervisors, day workers and dressers tending to the hundreds of costumes in the big-cast musical. The science of keeping a company dressed in pristine condition throughout a run is a daunting task! Doing 12 loads of laundry a day — which includes sorting hundreds of garments, from socks to caps — while juggling last-minute repairs, cast changes and wardrobe malfunctions keep this costume shop busy.
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.
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.