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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Fabrics
 
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Fabrics

The types of fabric chosen for costume elements are important, whether the elements are store-bought or made specifically for the production. Inappropriate fabrics can make actors unhappy or make the costume look bad.

For a majority of costumes, lightweight cotton or cotton blends are ideal fabrics. They are sturdy, easy to sew, they breathe well, and they are easy to wash. This means that the costumes can last a long time, and actors won't roast on stage. Especially heavy fabrics should usually be avoided because they tend to be expensive and hot for an actor to wear. There are times, however, when fabrics of significant weight are preferable (i.e. when the piece being made needs to have a definite structure to it, such as a suit jacket or a heavy cape.). Conversely, extremely lightweight fabrics should usually be avoided because they tend not to be sturdy enough. Lightweight fabrics tend to be most useful to add emphasis, either to strengthen or soften the lines of the design or to highlight certain colors within the costume.

In general, fabrics with intricate prints are avoided, as the detail is lost when viewed by the audience due to the distance between the actors and the audience. Solid colors are usually used creatively for added effect, or the lack of detail is simply ignored.


next up previous contents index
Next: Color Up: Costumes Previous: Procurement   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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