Recycle- from home decor to the opera stage

by admin on December 16, 2013

With the start of my next opera costume production, I thought I would share a few of the past seasons’ costumes and how we recycled fabrics left over from home decor projects I designed.  Below is one of the rooms where I worked with fusible adhesives and Velcro® Hook and Loop tapes to fashion a no-sew bedroom window scheme.  I love working with reversible fabrics. Here the gray dot sateen’s flip side provided the contrasting hems and leading edge.


gray dots, wwf page

After pleating the valance, I applied Sticky-Back loop tape to the wrong side of the top edge of the pleated panel and the hook tape to the back of a wide continental-style rod. Panels were positioned in place and VOILÀ- a no-sew, sophisticated window ensemble was created. Even the dog seemed content in his new digs!


detail gray dots


The angled ceiling added another challenge, but as with any shaped top, it is important to keep the lower edge “on grain” and do the trimming at the top.


A few years after designing and making the above window fashions, I was asked to “dress” Stephen Mark Brown, an amazing tenor who has sung with Pavarotti on TV and has performed at La Scala.  Mark would be performing the role of Pagliacci for the North Fork Music Festival. The gaiety of a polka dot but in the somber gray tone seemed like a perfect blend for the sad clown role.

mark pagliacci3

 Stephen Mark Brown at his first fitting.  You can hear him sing at


gray dot bath suit top

Since there was limited fabric left from the step-by-steps remnants, we were able to use a bathing suit as the base and just add  legs. It not only saved on fabric, but time too… and the suit’s drawstring waist is adjustable for the next clown that comes along.



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: