If you are unsure about anything, ask your Supervisor. Most Supervisors would rather that you ask for direction or clarification rather than guess.
Garments are usually hung on hangers with the front of the garment facing the left.
If there are hang tapes in the garment, hang the garment on a notched hanger and loop those tapes over the hanger and in to the notches.
Pants and skirts are often hung on clip hangers (but not always - check with the supervisor!). Pants may be hung from either the waistband or the cuff - check with the supervisor as to what they prefer.
Heavy garments such as overcoats, robes, suit coats, etc. must be hung on heavy duty hangers that can support their weight. Wooden suit hangers, molded plastic suit hangers, thick chrome hangers, or heavy duty plastic hangers are all acceptable. Check
with the supervisor to see what they prefer. If none are available, consider using two regular hangers.
Flocked, or velvet, hangers are used on slippery garments or garments with wide necklines.
Garments that are dependent on their internal construction to maintain a specific shape are hung on hangers that support that shape, the most common item probably being men’s period coats. In theatre, these garments might be worn on stage for 10 minutes and spend the rest of the time on their hanger. The shape of the hanger provided helps maintain the quality of the garment and is very important.
Many shows travel with labeled hangers. Some labels match the garment, some list the performer or scene. Supervisors are very insistent about dressers using the matching hangers so “show order” can be maintained very quickly. If you ignore this direction,
they will make you re-hang, so do it right the first time.
Many fabrics have specific needs in regards to pressing. If your supervisor does not give you specific direction, use the following guidelines:
Velvet must be pressed with the nap facing down over a needle board (sometimes called a pin board) so as not to crush the nap. Take care not to press too hard with the iron. If a needle board is not available, you can use a scrap of velvet of the same nap
placed nap side up, or you can steam it.
Wool must be pressed with light steam as too much steam can cause the wool to stretch or distort.
Linen should be usually be pressed rather than steamed, to get a nice crisp finish. Steaming will produce a softer finish.
Silk should be pressed with a dry iron. Any water drops or steam can leave water marks on silk and they are very difficult to remove.
Knits should usually be steamed. Ironing can stretch or distort the fabric.
When instructed to use a dry iron, drain the iron completely before use. Some irons have a habit of spitting or dribbling, even when set to a no steam setting.
If you don’t have access to a sleeve board, roll up a towel into a narrow log and use that. The purpose of a sleeve board is pressing a shirt with uncreased sleeves. This is a common design detail, sometimes determined by the time period of the play. Ask the Supervisor which is correct for their show.
While often used interchangeably, there is a distinction between pressing and ironing.
Ironing is when the iron is placed on the fabric and slid back and forth, remaining in contact with the fabric. Pressing is when the iron is placed on the fabric, held there, and then removed completely before repositioning. Ironing is often done on sturdy fabrics, while pressing is often used when the fabric may stretch.
The best way to remove blood from a costume is with cold water and a gentle soap. Do not use hot water on blood as hot water will set the stain. Please refer to the paragraph on dealing with blood in the Safety section and ensure you take the necessary
precautions before and after you touch a garment with blood on it.
Grease stains are best absorbed with cornstarch, them removed with soap and water.
Makeup is often removed with rubbing alcohol or an clear, oil-free makeup remover.
Wash the garment after the spot is gone, if possible.
There are many types of stain spot treatments available. Always use whatever the tour provides.
Always try the gentlest products first, then move to stronger solutions if the stain doesn’t budge.
Many shows travel with a Laundry Bible - a binder with written instruction on how to wash and organize the laundry for that particular show. If there is no Bible, the Supervisor should give verbal instructions. If there is no Bible, and the Supervisor is
unavailable to answer questions, look for tags with laundry symbols to determine how a garment should be cleaned. This website has a key to those symbols. http://www.textileaffairs.com/lguide.htm
Labels are often found close to the center back in the waistband of pants or skirts, or near the center back neckline of other garments. However, many times they are placed elsewhere. After checking the center back, look on the side back of waistbands, or in the shoulders, or in the inside breast pocket of suit jackets. If you still can’t find a label, ask the supervisor. If you are instructed to put a label in a garment, make sure you put it somewhere it can easily be found. If the garment is one of a set used together in a scene, the labels should be in the same place in all the garments to make sorting them efficient. Hat labels are often times tucked under the inner hat bands.
“Wardrobe spray” is a generic term for deodorizing spray. Every supervisor has a favorite mixture or brand, and tours must provide their own. Common ingredients include vodka cut with rubbing alcohol or water, sometimes with essential oils added.
Commercially available brands include Fresh Again, Atmos Klear, and Febreeze. Wardrobe spray is used to freshen garments between launderings or dry cleanings.
“Ditty bag” can refer to a number of different items. Often the small mesh bags that contain a performer’s daily laundry are called ditty bags. Sometimes the hanging pockets in a gondola that contain small accessories such as jewelry, glasses, or
handkerchiefs are called ditty bags. Usually context will be enough to determine the meaning, but please ask for clarification if needed.
Many people like to bring stationary supplies such as pens, pencils, highlighters, post-it notes, or index cards, so they can take notes or update their track. Some also like to bring a book, crossword puzzles, or a small craft project such as knitting or crochet to
work on when they have no scheduled changes. If you choose to do so, make sure your project is not so engrossing that you miss changes.
Consult a member of the House staff when you need to plug in large equipment such as steamers or sewing machines. Plugging too many things in the same circuit can overload it, and your Supervisor is not likely to be as familiar with the electrical circuitry
in the House as a member of the House staff would be.
Touring personnel have different rights and responsibilities than we do. Don’t assume that because you see your Supervisor on their cell phone backstage, or actors taking and posting backstage selfies, that you may do so. Please refer to the section on
Standards and Practices, and ask your Supervisor if you would like to deviate from those guidelines.
A "pink contract", is the contract used by producing organizations to cover traveling technical personnel on IATSE shows. They can also be used by regional theatres who use IATSE personnel, but it is not common.
A “yellow card show” is a traveling production that has a contract with the IATSE. The yellow card is the document agreed upon between the Producer and the International, stating the number of traveling personnel, their departments, names, and the minimum number of local workers that will be called, by department.
If you set up a change or a discard basket in the wings or in a walkway backstage, shine your flashlight on the change or basket as people walk past. A little light will help keep performers or crew from tripping over your items in the dark.
IATSE Local 13
312 Central Ave SE # 398
Minneapolis, MN 55414