Kristi’s Tips for Making Costumes on a Budget


Anyone who’s wanted to make costumes for Halloween or a kid’s school play can appreciate the challenges of creating a clever costume without spending a lot of money. For ComedySportz’ Kristi Parker-Barnhart, coming up with the multitude of otherworldly designs for the production of The ComedySportz Crew Meets Alice in Wonderland (opening this Saturday, April 7) was a test of her own ability to imagine how items ready to be thrown out could be made into something magical.  “The main way I save money,” she explains, “is by deconstructing things rather than building from scratch. You save a lot of money when you don’t have to buy new fabric.
Thrift stores are the first place to look. We found an old prom dress that will become the Red Queen’s gown.”

More impressive, though, is Kristi’s ability to see potential costumes in everyday household items. An old kitchen chair will become apparel for the Duchess.  “I took the two cushions from the chair and made one of them into the Duchess’s hat and the other into her gown’s bodice.  I also found an old tie-dyed tablecloth that I re-cut into a shirt for our very 1960’s looking caterpillar.” 

The need to improvise using available items hasn’t hindered Kristi’s ability to achieve her vision for the show’s costume design. “We as a creative team decided the best way to create the world of Wonderland was going to be through the costumes.  To make Wonderland an unusual place we’re going to use a palette of strange and mismatched colors – like mustard yellow mixed with greens and blues.” Young audiences will still be urged to use their imaginations in seeing Wonderland, but the colorful costumes Kristi has put together will give them some hints from which to build.
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