Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Some of us make our costumes, others buy them, and most of us sell them… so here are a couple of fabricating, storage and alteration tips that’ll keep your costumes in good condition and open to a range of sizes, should you decide to sell them.

If you make your own costumes, always buy a little more than you’ll need of the trimming and embellishments you’re using- a few extra inches of pre-strung fringe, some spare crystals or beads, a couple of “just in case” appliqués or feathers. Also, save scraps of the costume’s base material, too. That way, if you-or somebody else- has to replace anything on the costume, you’ll have a perfect match on hand. Pass these extras on to the costume’s next owner and she’ll love you for it!

This concept also applies to other areas of the costumes you make, too. If your costume can fit a variety of sizes, it’ll have better re-sale value. So think about making your straps a little longer than you need, and tucking the excess into the lining of your bra. That way, it can be let out- or taken in, as the case may be- to fit someone whose size and shape is slightly different than yours. Also, if you have a pre-made costume and take anything off of it, be sure to save it for the new owner as well.

You can use the same concept when you are hemming skirts you make yourself. Create a hem that’s a little deeper than you need, so that the garment can be let out to fit someone who is taller than you are.

If you need to add extra padding to the bra of a pre-made costume, don’t butcher the costume’s lining. Instead, add your pads over the lining of the bra, then recycle and cut up an old t-shirt (in a similar or matching shade) and sew it over the pads, directly onto the lining. This way, the pads won’t slip, the original costume will remain pristine, and you’ll have a comfy and absorbent liner for your bra. If you don’t have an old t-shirt that matches the costume, use craft felt. This holds up well, is inexpensive and absorbent, plus an extra bonus is that it doesn’t need to be turned under or hemmed- just cut it to your desired shape and sewn it in place.

When making alterations on the inside of a costume, use thread that contrasts with the costume itself- say pink thread on a black costume, or green thread on an orange costume. Why? These alterations will never be seen by the audience, and when you- or the costume’s new owner- needs to adjust the costume, the stitches will be super-easy to see, and will make the task that much easier.

Keep silica sachets or canisters in your costume bags at all times to absorb moisture and keep the costumes fresh and dry. If you have to pack up quickly at a gig, the silica will start to work immediately, attacking the moisture until you get home and can unpack, allowing your costume to air-dry overnight.

Where do you get these silica products? Simple- just recycle them! Silica mini-canisters and gel packs are everywhere- nowadays, they’re tucked into vitamin and prescription drug containers, inside shoeboxes, purses, and many types of dried foods, like rice or oatmeal. Save them, they work wonders for your costumes.

More costume hints coming soon!