When costuming, or doing any kind of sewing for that matter, I use many tools. I thought I’d share my 3 favorite costuming tools here.
1. Seam Ripper
To alter existing costumes, you will likely need to remove many seams. My favorite costuming tool to for this is a “surgical seam ripper” or a disposable scalpel. You can find the seam ripper on Amazon. It costs between $2.50 and $14.00 each.
However, I have found that a #12 Disposable Scalpel is almost exactly the same tool (if not sharper). You can find this scalpel on Amazon for around $8 for a box of 10. Just be careful when using either of these to rip seams. Both are super-sharp, and if you don’t pay attention, it’s pretty easy to slice a finger.
2. Steam Iron
My second favorite costuming tool is my steam iron. Buy the best steam iron you can afford, preferably one that is made for garment construction, and that has a seperate water tank.
I am on my second Rowenta steam iron. I used the first one every single day for about 7 years before it died, and have been using my current one for about 2 years with no problems. This iron produces a large amount of steam, and holds a large amount of water. This means you don’t have to stop to refill the tank as often.
The design with the water stored in a separate tank means that the actual iron is very light-weight. This saves wear-and-tear on your wrists when using it for large projects. This iron is designed to be also used as a vertical steamer. This comes in handy when refreshing costumes between performances.
Between my two Rowenta irons, I had a Duetto iron that I thought would be similar, but unfortunately I was never able to make it stop spitting water on my fabric, which was a mess.
3. Furrier Thread
My third favorite costuming tool is Furrier Thread, also known as Silamide. For any hand-sewing on costumes – especially dance costumes – it is best to use a heavy, coated thread that won’t easy break under stress. I prefer Silamide waxed nylon thread (traditionally used by furriers to securely sew skins for coats).
This thread is not cheap, usually $11 – $17 per skein (depending on where you buy it), but I have found that a skein will last several years, and it is well worth the price for the seam strength that results. A limited range of Silamide colors is available on Amazon, and Manhattan Wardrobe Supply carries the full range of colors.