Costume Maker

Get insights from Period Costume Maker Susan Coates

“90% of the job is attitude. If you’ve got the right attitude and talent to go with it, it will take you a long way.”

Susan Coates


Costume Makers are responsible for translating the Costume Designer’s ideas and drawings into real clothes, in consultation with both the designer and Costume Supervisor. They create patterns for the costumes, cutting and sewing them to actually construct the garments.


  • Liaising with the Costume Designer and Costume Supervisor to realise the design
  • Sourcing fabric samples and other materials in consultation with the Costume Supervisor
  • Drafting patterns, cutting and sewing

Key Skills

  • Advanced knowledge in construction methods
  • Excellent finishing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Good time-management skills, including the ability to turn work around quickly
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

Further Reading

  • Stage Costume – Step-by-Step by Mary T Kidd, 2002
  • Costume and Make-Up by Michael Holt, 1988


Vocational training in Costume is on offer in many drama schools and some traineeships are available with larger theatre companies.

Some people begin by working voluntarily in Wardrobe Departments in local theatres, progressing through the ranks of Costume Assistant.

Skills are developed on-the-job while gaining useful industry contacts, which are vital for securing future work.

Additional specialist training is necessary to increase a Costume Maker’s skills-base and employability – for example, in tailoring, millinery and shoe making. 


Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various drama schools and universities.