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How do I Become a Costume Maker?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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To become a costume maker you should begin by learning all that you can about sewing, different costuming techniques, fabrics, and styles. The heart of what you will do as a costume maker will be making costumes for film or theater directors. You should learn a great deal about making clothes, how different fabrics act on a person, how they move, and how they appear on camera for film or television work. Many large universities and colleges provide programs to learn costume making, which also often involve classes in theater and stage. Such a program would be an excellent first step toward becoming a costume maker.

Such an education will also give you an opportunity to work with actors and directors to get some beginning experience and build a portfolio of designs and costumes to show off your work as you become a costume maker. Once you have the knowledge you need to work in the industry, you should try to get some experience working in local or small productions. This will give you an opportunity to get your name into the community, which is especially important if you already live in an area where you wish to work long term.

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You should also think about if you ultimately want to become a costume maker on stage performances, such as plays, or if you want to work in the film industry. If you want to become a costume maker in the film industry, you might consider relocating to California, London, or another hub of filmmaking. Typically, finding a costume maker is part of pre-production on a movie, and it is important to be near studios so you are available to filmmakers. If you wish to work in theater, you will similarly want to be in an area with some local acting groups.

In order to become a costume maker on films, you may also want to learn about the filmmaking process. While you may not need to know about specific lenses or camera techniques, it could benefit you to understand aspects of lighting, depth of field, and shot perspective. You want to be sure that your costumes look good in a given scene. Understanding how a scene will be lit and how that lighting will work on the fabrics you have chosen can help ensure your work looks as good as possible.

There are also several different specializations you might consider as you take classes to become a costume maker. Period clothes, such as Elizabethan, Medieval, or Shakespearean garments, are specialized pieces that often require a great deal of knowledge and research to reproduce accurately. Certain colors, fabrics, and textures that were available at a previous time are often not used today. To work in such a specialized area of costume creation, you will want to expand your understanding of those times and of the clothing worn by people who lived then.

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