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Costume Shop Policies

The Costume Shop staff welcomes you to the Costume Shop at Swarthmore College.

The Costume Shop operates to assist students and faculty with costume related issues during the academic year as well as to provide a learning space for costume design classes. The Shop also provides costume production assistance for most theater and dance performances in addition to maintaining a variety of stock costume items available for check out to extracurricular groups and for class projects. 

The Costume Shop is located in Room #16 in the basement hallway on ground floor of LPAC. 

Unsupervised access to the shop is reserved with permission from the Shop Manager for advanced design students, faculty, and shop staff only. Please do not borrow anything without permission.

General Scheduling

We encourage students and faculty responsible for costumes to contact the Costume Shop well ahead of time for assistance with designing and collecting costumes for projects or to resolve individual design issues. In order to support design needs, problem solve costume issues and schedule the labor needed for larger productions, the Costume Shop Manager must be included in production meetings or rehearsals as early as possible in the performance process.

If the idea for design includes constructing costumes from scratch or generating an original design rather than just using stock or bought items, the designer or choreographer must provide detailed images, sketches or research material and fabric swatches or color ideas where applicable. Having an idea in mind before you walk into the shop helps facilitate the process of communication and selection about the costume needs.

Student designers are encouraged to use the Shop and its staff as a resource, but should plan on scheduling meetings with the Shop Manager frequently as there are often multiple projects that need attention. Personal meetings with the Costume Shop Manager must be scheduled in advance!!

Example of an ideal schedule for a costume build: 

  • 12 weeks before tech/shows - Develop general ideas for costumes with production team, gather costume ideas and images
  • 8 weeks before - meet with production team to develop a plan and schedule time with the shop manager to get measurements/sizes from your performers, pull rehearsal costumes and schedule fittings
  • 4 weeks before - finalize costume ideas/sketches/images and begin to build costumes, pull costumes from stock, locate problems and determine what needs to be borrowed/rented
  • 3 - 2 weeks before - schedule fittings and work on alterations
  • 1 week before - make final alterations and finish up details
  • Dress/tech - all costumes complete, minor alterations only