Dordt College News

Costume shop serves many

February 3, 2005

Need a costume? Sue Blom can probably find it for you.

And if she doesn’t have it, she knows how to make it.

As costume shop supervisor and seamstress for the Dordt College Theater Department, Blom is in charge of a vast warehouse of costumes acquired over the past 40 years. Authentic clothing from the early 1900s shares storage space with award-winning Greek costuming sewn by Blom last spring. There are ’50s poodle skirts, ’60s flower children and ’70s leisure suits. In the past year alone, three entire estates of vintage clothing have been donated to the mix. And since no costume is complete without the right accessories, shoes, hats, wigs, jewelry and purses are also available at the shop.

Last year the Dordt College Costume shop served nine area high schools, numerous churches in need of nativity or Holy Week costumes, and assisted with about 800 other costume rentals.

“This is quite a service to the area, and a wonderful resource that Dordt College offers to people,” commented Blom, who began working as seamstress/costume shop supervisor in July, 2003.

Costumes sewn by Blom for her very first Dordt show, “The Greeks, The Murders,” were among only 13 production designs (from about 200 productions) invited to compete at the Region 5 American College Theatre Festival in January. At St. Louis, the Dordt designer was presented a meritorious achievement award following the popular costume parade competition.

Blom said she researched Greek theater and costumes and studied the most used book for costume design instruction, “The Magic Garment” to prepare for this production. After completing her research, she drew renderings of costumes for each character in the play. Each design was based on the social status the character, where they were from and their family relationships.

When the sketches were completed, Blom and the show’s director, April Hubbard, collaborated to see if each captured the director’s vision for the characters in the play. “The theater faculty has been so helpful and wonderful to work with,” says Blom, who needed to make only a few minor changes before taking the sketches from paper to the sewing machine.

From her hand drawn renderings, Blom created patterns for each costume, drawn to fit each character’s measurements. After cutting the pieces, seven theater work study students helped with sewing garments, producing jewelry, headgear and footwear, with the production completed and staged in April of last year.

Blom said she has been sewing since the age or six or seven. “I can remember the first clothes that I sewed for money were cheerleading outfits for my seventh grade class, in 1967. I have never stopped sewing for others since.” Over the years Blom has also done alterations for retail stores and freelanced from her home.

Blom has another passion in addition to sewing: she has a degree in music, and is a church organist, high school contest accompanist and a member of the NISO bassoon section. As a musical performer, she’s seen many theater productions from the viewpoint of the orchestra pit … and she’s even been known to alter or fix costumes between musical numbers while sitting in the pit.

Anyone interested in more information about the Dordt College Costume Shop may contact Sue Blom at 712-722-6210.

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