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5 things I've learned working at the costume department

5 things I've learned from working at a costume departmentEven though I studied costume deisgn, I've never worked at a costume department before I worked in one recently. I usually worked at my place or at the workroom of the costume designer I was assisting. Actually working as a maker in a costume department is completely different, but is also something I really loved doing. I learned a ton in the couple days I worked at this department and I hope to return soon! These are 5 things I've learned that surprised me the most!

1. Pins are perfect marking tools

You don't need to mark everything with chalk, pins will do. Only thing: you need to remember what each pin means!

2. Using your hands make the spool wind faster

The fastest way to wind a spool is to keep your bobbin in one hand and lift up the thread in a straight line up with the other hand. Your spool fills up much faster.

3. Use your already cut bodice pieces as a pattern piece for you facings

Even when you cut your pattern pieces as accurate as humanly possible, there's usually still a slight difference between the facing and the shell. To avoid this, you cut out your shell first and use those pieces to draft your facing. To do this, place the edge of your shell piece on the fabric (taking grain and fold into account) and cut along the edge of the shell. Remove the shell piece and add desired width to your facing piece. DONE! If this is not completely clear, ask and I will take some pictures!

4. Pencil and soap are a proper marking tools too

To often we think we need special tools for marking notches or pattern pieces on the fabric, but this is not really true. Pencil and soap are great too. Use pencil for lighter fabrics and a thin slice of soap for darker fabrics. Works like a charm!

5. Make It Work

Fabric too small? Cut your pattern at the point where it extends over the fabric and make an extra pattern piece on the fly. Need to sew on 500 buttons? Use your machine And so on... At the costume department your job is to make the designer's vision into reality and this often means being as creative as possible to come up with solutions within a certain timeframe (and budget!) I loved working in this department and I hope to return soon! If you've worked in a costume department, please let me know and share your experiences! If you live in the neighbourhoud and would like to check out the production I've worked on: you can get tickets here!
image source own graphics.