How to Design a Costume
In anything you create the process is as simple as thinking of an idea and creating it, right?
I guess so, but there are countless other things that go through your mind when creating a piece of art, whether that’s a costume or a piece of scenery that ends up on stage.
When designing a costume for a show there are initial things to consider.
How to do research
Doing research on those questions can be as easy as googling the time period of the show or character that you are creating.
For example’s purpose, let’s use Hello Dolly! This show takes place in 1890.
We simply google “1890 attire” or 1890s clothing to get an idea of what we are looking for. Another option is to search Pinterest with similar search terms.
Click here to view the search: 1890s costumes on Pinterest.
Start a google document or a Pinterest board to save photos that are inspiring to you for your costume idea. Having reference images or what inspires you will help you start drafting your costume design.
Make a Draft
For a full musical production, the designer takes the cast of characters and does this same process for every single character. So in Hello Dolly! the designer would go down the list from Dolly, Irene Malloy, Minnie Fay, Vandergelder, Barnaby, Cornelius all the way to characters that are equally as important to creating the story like the waiters, townspeople, parade members and vaudeville girls.
That’s a lot of people to find reference photos and choose colors for! The designer does this process and then works with the costumers to discuss fabric choices, styling and accessories that are needed to complete the whole look.
Your Costume Tells a Story
While you are wearing the costume in the show, the costume serves a bigger purpose in creating the story on stage. Even though you might not like the color red, maybe the designer chose you to wear the red dress because in that scene you are helping convey emotions such as confidence and bravery? Anything that helps the audience picture the world you are living in and feel what you are feeling on stage is an important part of the art you are performing.
For your costume another way to complete a draft may be as simple as sketching a draft of what you are visualizing in your mind down on a piece of paper. Even if you aren’t the best artist, drawing and sketching what you are visualizing and talking it through with someone can help your idea come to life.
How Do I Make My Costume?
Finding materials like old clothes that can be repurposed or even visiting a thrift store to buy used items to make your idea come to life!
Sewing skills aren’t a common skill to learn anymore, so definitely go to Youtube for the sewing basics. There are some costumes that you can even put together without getting crazy with those skills. If you’d like to learn how to sew, send us a message so we can put together some resources for you.
Try it yourself by designing your own costume.
Still not sure where to start?
Click the button below to download a worksheet to start designing your costume using the process we just discussed.
Check back the last week of October to submit your photo of your costume in time for our contest.
Prizes will be awarded to creative entries, best design and best character! You don’t have to have a reason to get creating, though!
For more questions or to share your process, feel free to contact us.
Follow us on Facebook @fendigtheatre and Instagram @fendig.cst.
Fendig is hosting a costume contest!
There will be prizes for creative entries, best design and best character. The last week of October there will be a photo-entry contest for your completed costume. We have prepped things to consider when designing your costume for Halloween!
So how do I create a costume?
There are plenty of things to think about when designing a costume for your Halloween outfit or even for every part in a musical production. Yes, even the ensemble’s costumes need to be designed and thought out. Think of your costume as a piece of your character that helps bring the story to life.
Ask yourself these questions when considering your costume for Halloween based on things you enjoy.
How can I use what I have to create something I enjoy?
Think about clothes that you don’t wear anymore or consider visiting a thrift store to pick up pieces that can be a part of your costume.
Click the button to download a free, worksheet to get designing and start the process of creating a costume for Halloween.
Stay tuned on social media channels for some insider looks at the best of costumes for Fendig and the process behind creating them. Photo submissions will open the last week of October, so get creating! We would love to feature your Halloween creation!
Save the date July 8 -11th for outdoor performances of Xanadu, JR. and Disney's Moana, JR. Fendig Theatre for Children chose to rehearse & perform two productions this summer to help keep participant groups small & serve our mission of providing creative performing arts opportunities to children in our community.
Some may recognize these titles, but for others they might be something new. Fendig is thrilled to provide these performance & education opportunities to our community and bring the entertainment to you. Read more about each show below.
A hilarious musical adventure about following your dreams in the face of obstacles, Xanadu JR. follows the journey of a magical and beautiful Greek Muse, Kira, who descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980. Kira is on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time... the first ROLLER DISCO! (Remember, it's 1980). But when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds.
Xanadu JR. features a charmingly witty book by Douglas Carter Beane and great pop music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. The student version of the show is based on the Tony nominated Broadway musical, which was based on the 1980 Universal Pictures film with a screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel, which in turn, was inspired by the 1947 film “Down to Earth.”
Xanadu JR. is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by
Music Theatre International, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019
Script, music and all other material © 2010 iTheatrics Broadway Junior and MTI’s Broadway Junior Collection are trademarks.
See the line where the sky meets the sea? You’ll love this thrilling and heartwarming stage adaptation of the coming-of-age tale of Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. She and the demigod Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery and camaraderie as she learns to harness the power that lies within. Adapted for young performers, this musical includes favorite songs by Tony®, GRAMMY, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, such as “How Far I’ll Go,” “Shiny,” and “You’re Welcome.” With its empowering message of bravery, Moana JR. is sure to awaken your inner hero!
Moana is a celebration of the rich stories of Oceania and is based on the beliefs and cultures of real people. In creating the original film, the producers at Disney Animation formed an Oceanic Trust. This group of anthropologists, cultural practitioners, historians, linguists, and choreographers from islands including Samoa, Tahiti, Mo’orea, and Fiji was integral in the creation of the film, providing feedback and notes on character design, song lyrics, and the depiction of culture onscreen. This respect and careful attention to detail was carried forward in the creation of Moana JR. for the stage. Materials for the show include information, research, and best practices for respectfully celebrating Oceanic culture.
Disney’s Moana JR. is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theatre International, New York, NY (212) 541-4684 mtishows.com
Virtual opportunities, events and ticket information will be posted soon! Be sure to stay up to date on social media or subscribe to our newsletter for updates.
One of the most common questions we get from participants is "what if I don't want to be on stage?" While we always encourage participants to try their hand at being on stage & singing and dancing with the rest of the cast, there are plenty of other roles & opportunities in the theatre world to make a show come to life.
We put together this blog post that highlights our recent Fendig Theatre Experience videos about other roles that are technical theatre opportunities. Watch the videos below to learn about stage managers, standbys, swings, sound designers, light designers, costume designers, scenic design, music directors, choreographers & more.
What roles do you wish you knew more about? Tell us in the comments below.
We would like to thank the Jasper Newton Foundation and Jasper County REMC Operation Roundup for their grants. In addition, we would like to thank Alliance Bank and the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana for their donations. It is because of these organizations that we were able to continue our community outreach through theatre.
Thank you to all who have participated in the Fendig Theatre Experience this summer! We have enjoyed virtually connecting with you and continuing to reach our community through theatre. To continue to view episodes from the Fendig Theatre Experience, visit our YouTube Channel: Fendig Theatre.
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Fendig Summer Theater is a non-profit organization 501 (c)(3) for the advancement of theatre development in children.