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

In part two we take a look at the dresses for Hodel and Chava for the wedding scene.  I decided that these dresses would be plain, with some small details that made them special.  After all, the family IS poor, but they would wear their best for the wedding.  So for Hodel and Chava, I made the same exact style, but in different colors.  This was also kind of to signify a “bridesmaid” kind of deal, even though that’s not something that was done as far as I can tell.

My fabulous organization system:


Zip-loc bags are truly my best friend in this process, as it keeps the patterns nice and neat and I can keep the projects in contained spaces.

I began with Chava.  I chose a wine colored broadcloth.  It looks much redder in the pictures than it does in person, but it’s truly a deep burgundy.


Above you see the bodice of the dress. The lace detail was what made the dress special. It appears on the collar and on the cuffs of the sleeves – just enough. My theory was the family could buy a small amount of the really nice fabric, but otherwise had to go really plain with the dresses.


Skirt added. I’ll admit here that I had no idea how to do pintucks though there are three of them in this skirt (I make up how to do things when I don’t know how), but have since figured it out! For some reason, my brain could not wrap itself around the process, but once I figured it out, it’s not hard at all!


Dress, complete with sleeves. The final detailing and fitting is still to come. I just got the velcro but I want to make sure the dress fits properly before installing it so that the fit is not compromised. It’s much easier to make slight alterations before the velcro goes in. Then, of course, the faux buttons will be placed down the front center.

Hodel’s dress was the same, except for her I chose a navy blue. You can see the little strings and whatnot all over this still, but those will be gone soon enough.



Here you can see the full dress, minus the sleeves. I need to take a break for the evening before tackling those. My sewing machine is giving me some issues today, with the thread catching and whatnot. I honestly think it might be on it’s last legs; it’s served me faithfully for a good ten years, but it might be time for an upgrade. It’s still working for the most part, but likes to have what I call “fussy days.”

And here’s just a simple project I did. This is another one of Golde’s costumes, for the Tevye’s Dream scene. It’s just a basic nightgown, actually from the same pattern as the above two dresses. You’re never going to see the whole thing onstage so I didn’t make this particularly complicated. It was also a big small for the dressform, so it’s just pinned to the front of it at the moment.


There’s more work to be done as the next couple of weeks go by! In the next week or so, my goals are to 1.) sew up the dress I cut for Shprintze, 2.) finish Golde’s first dress, 3.) get started on Hodel and Chava’s “day” dresses.

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