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What does a Costume Maker do?

A Costume Maker creates the costumes based on the designs and drawings created by the Costume Designer and works under their direction. The Costume Maker will create patterns for the costumes, cutting and sewing them to actually construct the costume.

What are the main responsibilities of a Costume Maker?

  • Communicating with the Costume Designer and Costume Supervisor to ensure you understand the designs given to you
  • Sourcing fabric samples and other materials with the Costume Supervisor to make costumes
  • Drafting patterns, cutting and sewing
  • Sourcing premade costumes to use

Find costume making opportunities from across the theatre industry here 

What qualifications do I need to work as a Costume Maker?

There are no specific qualifications required to become a Costume Maker. However, having a qualification could help to develop your understanding of theatre and costume design, as well as developing your making skills:

  • Textiles
  • Costume for theatre 
  • Art
  • Design Technology
  • Drama
  • Performing Arts

Find training opportunities in costume making to help you get into theatre here

What skills do I need to work as a Costume Maker?

  • Knowledge in textile construction methods
  • Finishing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Good time management skills, including the ability to turn work around quickly
  • Imaginative and creative
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Good knowledge of costume stores to borrow costumes from is useful 
  • A creative costume portfolio. Find out how to make a portfolio here.

What does a career as a Costume Maker look like?

Some people begin by working in wardrobe departments in theatres, progressing through to a Costume Assistant. Skills are developed on-the-job while gaining useful industry contacts which are vital for securing future work. Training could increase your skills-base and employability.

How much does a Costume Maker earn?

There aren’t any set guidelines as the role of a Costume Maker can vary depending on the scale of the production as well as your personal experience. You may wish to set your own rates based on how long a costume may take and the level of work involved. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

You can find theatre jobs via The Stage Jobs here 

References:

https://www.rsc.org.uk/about-us/how-we-make-theatre/costume

https://www.mgcfutures.com/careers/costume-maker/

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2011/aug/05/working-life-theatre-costume-maker

Updated: 9th June 2024

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