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The Hunger Games Guide to Costume Construction


It's a dangerous world out there, especially for an actor who ventures into the costume shop. Unaccompanied. Alone. There are friends that will help you along the way, and there are foes. Such foes. It's a fight to the death. 

You may be thinking, what harm can a rogue sewing machine do? Oh, there's plenty. Believe me. I'm enrolled in a Costume Construction class right now, and I generally feel like a fish out of water, being as this is a far cry from my own major as a Theatre Performance Major. In the class, not only are we required to handle whatever is thrown at us in terms of fixing costumes(I'm an expert pants hemmer at this point), but I have to make a full costume for Sweeney Todd, the musical we're putting on in a few weeks. I can do pretty well with a regular pattern, but I'm taking a blouse and making it into a dress, but also adjusting the pattern by hand to fit a character who is going to be pregnant. And while I'll have help/instruction from the people who actually know what they're doing, I'm doing it all by myself. It's very exciting, but at the same time terrifying, because there are so so many things that can go wrong. 

I really love it in the costume shop, however. I get to help out the shows that I'm not acting in, and I get to learn a really useful set of skills that will certainly benefit me in the most unexpected of ways. Besides knowing how to sew on a button, sewing costumes helps me get an idea of how things fit together, in terms of little picture/big picture scope. One wrong snip can bring the whole garment down, and lots of things can be fixed in unexpected ways. Metaphorically, it's a bevy of life lessons. 

  "Well Alex, that's great and we're happy for you, but how does this apply to us?"

  I just think it's very important to try new things when you're here at college. Try out a class you're vaguely interested in, and it just may become your new minor. Attend a lecture about a topic you know nothing about, and suddenly you will. Don't be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, and do things differently. You just may emerge victorious :) 


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