Fiddler on the Roof: Peasant costume #4

I’m continuing to work on some potential chorus costumes for an upcoming production of “Fiddler on the Roof”.  This project did not end up being one of my favorites, but the components have potential, even if the end outfit is lacking.

I began with four pieces:  a black/white stripe blouse, a cream knit peplum top, a floral skirt and a black skirt.

I trimmed the collar off the band leaving a seam allowance, which I turned to the inside and stitched down.

bad  picture of trimmed collar stitched down after folding edge to inside

The peplum was folded in half lengthwise, and the center marked.  I appliqued some ribbon down the front.  Then I cut the ribbon in half lengthwise and zig-zagged it around the neck, making little tucks as needed to help it go around the curves.  My thought was that this would make it look like a corset top.  Maybe?

front, no  apron

The black skirt had a narrow waistband and a zipper/hook opening.

top of skirt

I used some bias tape to make a casing and threaded elastic through.  I left it open just a bit so I can access the elastic and pull & pin it to size.  To help support the now-stretchy-with-tension waistband, I added a piece of hook & loop tape at the top, which makes zipping it much easier.

The last thing was to open the floral skirt up along the seam that had the zipper.  I hemmed the sides (the open seam) and then pleated the skirt to a piece of twill tape, cut long enough to be the apron ties as well.

twill tape waistband/ties

And the outfit was done:

I think this outfit is “OK”, but it isn’t my favorite  I think the peplum is too long.  Since it is knit, I’m just leaving it for now, as it can easily be cut off shorter later if it looks bad on stage.  I think it also is too light a color, but the idea isn’t bad.


Last week I had the opportunity to see one of the touring productions of “Hamilton”.  One of the things that struck me was the ease at which actors changed their roles in the show.  Slap a different costume on them . . . and introduce them as a different character . . and presto-chango, no problem.  My experience with large cast productions has really been more of a “one cast member/one role” model, and at times we struggled wondering if we could move a dancer out of his/her named character to help lead the ensemble numbers . . and I think the answer is . . . sure.


4 thoughts on “Fiddler on the Roof: Peasant costume #4

  1. Did you love it? I thought knowing the key to loving Hamiton was knowing every word from the soundtrack. I had listened to it enough that the songs were like old friends and when the cast did the opening number it was amazing. We did see it on Broadway and had orchestra seats but I think with this show it is the show itself not the venue that makes it.

    I like the costume you just made. I don’t do this kind of costume well. I do pretty better. But you need to be able to do costumes like this and I am learning a lot from what you are doing. I know it will be on our list to do going forward so I need the ideas and inspiration.

    If you use a seam ripper to pull out the first few stitches on the bands of the shirts and then give them a tug – 90% of the time they just pull out. So easily in fact, that it is amazing it doesn’t happen when men wear them. Then I just stitched the seamline closed or used a narrow piece of that stitch witch stuff and ironed it shut.

    I love the mix of colors and prints and solids you are using. It is much more realistic as to what they would have worn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved “Hamilton” and would go again in a heartbeat. . . I felt like I missed so much the first time around. There was so much going on in the background all the time! I didn’t know the soundtrack that well, but even when I lost the words, I knew what was happening and the story was powerful. The use of the rotating stage was amazing. I liked the cream chorus costumes, but I have heard from some people who didn’t like them.

      I will try ripping out the collar the next time I do a shirt :).


      • Hi. I get a lot of my fabric from thrift/resale/consignment stores–sheets, duvet covers, curtains, tablecloths etc. Check out the stores in your area as each one has it’s own “flavor” depending upon the neighborhood they are located in. I have one that gets a lot of fabric donations, whereas, others get very little. Lined curtains can be great–the fashion fabric for the garment, and the lining for a petticoat. A good source of an inexpensive poly-cotton–no iron is (I have a series of posts about where I like to order from), or, look for different companies that make linens–many of them have a fabric section and/or if you watch the sale linens you can get some good deals (urquid linens, tableclothfactory etc). Another thing to look at is twin bed sheets from ie Walmart. A twin flat sheet is often in the $5-10 range and has a TON of fabric. You can also find some decent fabric deals on the online resale sites like Etsy, Mercari, even Poshmark. Pleated skirts can also have a ton of fabric in them., and while they won’t be floor length, you could add in insert to get that extra length. Try to “see” beyond what is already made into the possibilities once something is deconstructed/cut up. Happy hunting! Liz


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