By Bectoria Crandall
Ask any costume designer and we’ll all tell you that there is nothing that can stifle the creative process quite like a budget. Ugh! Budget! The B-word! Much of a show’s costume budget can go to the little nitpicky things that make costumes work. Buttons, frog clips, you name it. The second issue costume designers have to consider is usability (oh yeah. It’s a word!). When designing many of my costumes I have to keep in mind that the actors wearing them will often need to change quickly. It’s not uncommon for actors to change to different costumes during a show.
Example: When she was in Wizard of Oz, my own daughter had to be quickly changed backstage in no time flat in order to make it out in time for curtain call. Her other costume was completely different from head to toe, so she had to move fast! I’m talkin’ seconds here, people. Sometimes I’m glad I’m not a backstage child wrangler!
One thing that makes quick changes easy are elastic waistbands. When I’m spending time on a beautiful costume, however, I’m not going to want some ugly elastic waistband to detract from the overall look. The solution? Blanket binding!
Blanket binding is like a fat ribbon that has a crease right down the middle. It’s used to hide the edge when sewing blankets but can also be used as a casing for elastic when making garments. I recommended using a blanket binding in my post “Getting the Most Out of Your Daughter’s Dress You Spent $1 Million On”. (Catchy name, I know). Well, blanket bindings are one of those little nitpicky things that can eat up a budget. My suggestion? Hike up those smartypants and make your own! I made my own blanket bindings to hide the elastic waistbands for a batch of fairy dancer costumes I recently made. Here’s how I did it…
Needle and thread or sewing machine
Straight Pins (Optional)
Cut Fabric into long strips. The strips should be long enough to fit waist size (usually at least 25-30″) and wide enough to work as a casing (usually at least 2 1/2″)
Fold and iron edges of fabric over 2X to create a 5/8″ seam around all edges of strips
Pin seams in place with straight pins (optional)
Hand or machine stitch seams of binding (optional)
-and you’re done! You now have a blanket binding to complete whatever project your heart desires!