Adventures in Costume Design: Fiddler on the Roof, Part One

This year, our annual musical is Fiddler on the Roof, and I’m in the full throes of designing and making the costumes. My approach here is a little more pioneer than it is 1905 Russian peasant, but so far I think it’s working.

Tzeitel’s Wedding Dress

I started off with the wedding dress for Tzeitel. I used Folkwear Pattern’s Edwardian wedding gown, and made a simple version of it. The main goal here was to make it look like the family had made it themselves once they found out their eldest daughter was getting married.


It’s not quite done – it needs to be fit and then a zipper must be installed, and a collar added. There is a veil to go with this, but that’s still in the works at the moment.

Tzeitel’s “Day Dress”

For the time being, I’m calling all the characters regular clothes their “day” dresses. They may have more than one; that’s still being decided. I also may make various pieces that can work (such as a skirt to go with this later on, so it looks like a new skirt at some point).


This is ultimately going to have buttons down the front, and velcro to keep it shut. I find that the buttons take the girls too long to change; the velcro helps for quick changes and the buttons will be there just for show. I’ve also since added the pintucks that are supposed to be in the skirt, but I’m sure it’ll need to be taken up a bit anyway.

Golde’s Dress

This one isn’t labeled as of yet, because I can’t decide if it’s Golde’s housedress or the dress she wears to Tzeitel’s wedding. It’s kind of going to depend on what her other dress looks like. For the most part, all the characters are going to have two dresses – on their “day” dress and one their “formal” dress (it’s not exactly a super fancy dress, but simply meant to look like their “best” dress that they don’t use for housework).


Obviously there’s a skirt involved here, but for the life of me I can’t find the waistband pattern piece so I’ve been lazy about piecing the skirt together. I may have to wing it with the waistband piece and measure it out myself, because I don’t seem to have cut it, nor can I find the pattern piece anywhere. And as I cut out the pattern, I have no idea where it could’ve gone.   This picture was also taken prior to attaching the facings, so you’ve got the unfinished collar there.

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