With a musical involving 36 actors, some of whom play more than one character, finding/making enough costumes for them can be quite the challenge! At first, I thought I would be able to borrow most of the costumes from a friend, but when she couldn't find where they had been stored, suddenly I had to plan to make most of the tunics - quite a feat when you only have a total of a month for the production!
Because fabric prices have risen quite high, I went to thrift stores and bought used sheets and curtains for $1-$2 each - a great deal for the fabric, since each sheet contained at least 3 yards of material. Another 10 tunics, plus a few sashes, and head coverings we were able to make out of leftover fabric that I had in my stash.
There were a few things already made for us to borrow (a few tunics, and the black dresses for the bad girls), and a few others to alter or mend.
I cut out the tunics using the measurements I'd taken of the actors, making up a simple formula of determining various widths and lengths. God brought some great ladies along to help sew/alter the costumes, and by God's grace we got almost everything made in a week! I still have a few things to alter after the final costume fittings this morning, and two more costumes to make for actors recently added to the program.
On Wednesday, July 22nd, I sorted the costumes and fabric that I had and determined what I had left to buy. The next day, I bought things that I needed and some trim and jewelery to add to the overall affect. Miriam Rebekah came over, and we determined what each actor would wear, along with my sister's help.
On Friday, I babysat the younger children of a family in the musical, and during their nap time, their oldest daughter Natalie helped me with the first costumes. I cut out her tunic to test the formula, she sewed it up, and we worked on from there.
After her parents came home, Natalie came home with me, and we worked late into the evening. I cut out tunics, my sister Jubilee serged the edges, and Natalie sewed the seams.
The Serger has proved to be one of the best and most useful tools! Because of it, we didn't have to hem any of the raw edges, for the serging finished them nicely and the black or white thread blended in nicely with the various costumes.
Each area in which we worked turned into a major mess, but it was a good feeling once everything was completed and cleaned up.
The next day, Saturday, we had a work day at church after the morning rehearsal. While many painted bricks and others worked on some props, quite a few helped out with costumes. Natalie again sewed the seams, Jubilee did the serging, a few helped cut out, another sewed by hand, and others ironed or helped organize the completed costumes. A few of us worked for over 4 hours, but we got a lot done!
The Hart ladies worked on altering a few costumes at their house, while I continued to sew a few things over the weekend. Last Tuesday, Natalie and her younger sisters met Jubilee and I at the church building, along with another friend/actress. We worked for almost 5 hours and all but completed the costumes that we needed.
Abigail helped out with small tasks, such as many serged ends that needed fray check applied, and Katherine also helped with that, as well as creatively making and decorating a crown and throne. They both each made a Persian boy's hat under my instructions.
We completed the costumes more quickly than I could have hoped, and it's definitely a relief to have them all but done as we head to our first dress rehearsal this Tuesday!