Many of you know that I volunteered to help make costumes for our local theater groups. I was immediately picked up by Deborah Sheu Costumes. She has been the costume designer and wardrobe person for many plays here in Wilmington as well as Charlotte and the surrounding area. With over 40 years of experience, she has amassed literally a warehouse of costumes!
I met with her for a tour of the facilities and was just overwhelmed with everything that goes into doing all the clothing and accessories for plays, so I have a lot to learn. Some of the shortcuts and things that are done to these costumes are cringeworthy to me, but I am learning that there is a HUGE difference in tailoring clothes to wear everyday and making clothes that might be worn by actors/actresses of varying sizes.
Anyway, instead of separate posts, I thought I would start this one and add on as I work on costumes.
Some costumes are purchased, some “built”, and some altered from existing stock. I won’t bore you with the simple fixes like hems, taking in a waistband, etc. But, I would like to post things I make from scratch or fun costumes I worked on.
The first play were are doing is a musical - Ragtime. If you haven’t heard of it, there are plenty of YouTube videos and info available.
We need six trench-like coats for the actors in a “gang” to wear in a few major scenes. Here is the size 40 coat I made. It is linen and very heavy. It has tons of top stitching. I did a lot of twin needle stitching and (shudder), the hem is done on machine and can be lowered and raised as needed…same with the sleeves. It took everything I had not to hand stitch those, but the hem will never be seen by the audience 50 feet away! ha
The booger on this one was the collar and lapel. I used Fabric Fusion flexible glue to shore up the points because they were held together by ONE stitch in the corner and linen frays like crazy! All seams are also serged to prevent fraying. There is a partial lining in the back to help the actors get in and out easily.
The back of the coat has a long opening to allow for dancing and moving across the stage quickly. The top of the opening is reinforced with a little square piece that is sewn down.
So far, we have the prototype, size 44, size 40, and size 42.
Three more to go…opening night is June 22!!!