1st Edition

The Well-Dressed Puppet A Guide to Creating Puppet Costumes

By Cheralyn Lambeth Copyright 2015
    184 Pages
    by Routledge

    by Routledge

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    Costumes are an integral part of any performance, adding believability, conveying setting, or establishing the tone, a fact that is no less true when your performer is a puppet! The only book of its kind, The Well-Dressed Puppet will show you how to create costumes and accessories tailored specifically for your puppet that will enhance any performance. Gone are the days of ill-fitting store-bought clothing that restrict the movement and use of your puppet. Author Cheralyn Lambeth walks you through every step of the costume-making process with detailed lists of the necessary materials, equipment, and patterns required to create a costume from scratch. She also shares multiple tips and information on how to modify off-the-rack clothing to fit any puppet. Suitable for both beginners and more advanced costumers, The Well-Dressed Puppet demonstrates basic sewing and construction techniques while still providing advanced projects for customers who have already mastered those skills.


    Chapter 1: How to Get Started

    But First…A Basic Glossary of Puppet Types and Puppet Theatre Terms

    List of Supplies—Tools, Building Materials, and other Helpful Items

    As You Think About Creating Your Puppet’s Costume

    Basic Sewing Techniques and Helpful Hints

    Straight Running Stitch

    Back Stitch

    Basting Stitch

    Gathering Stitch


    Types of Fabrics You Might Want to Use

    Chapter 2: Types of Costumes (Or, How to Costume For Your Type of Puppet)

    Permanent Costume vs. Removable

    Using Store-Bought Clothing

    Things to Consider When Costuming…


    …Hand/Rod Puppets (and Puppets With Practical Hands

    …Hand Puppets With Legs

    Chapter 3: Creating Costumes For Non-Human Puppets

    Costume Odd-Shaped Puppets (And/or Those Without Arms and Legs)

    Costuming Puppets With Multiple Limbs

    Chapter 4: How To Create and Construct Basic Patterns

    How To Use The Patterns In This Book (and How to Do the Photocopier Trick

    Constructing The Patterns:

    Shirt/Bodice with Sleeve







    Chapter 5: Accessories


    Hair Construction Techniques




    Ties (And Other Neck Adornments)

    Hats and Other Headwear

    Chapter 6: Props

    Ladies’ Fan

    Drawstring Bag

    Broom (and Tiny Tim’s Crutch)


    Chapter 7: Some Costume Ideas To Help You Get Started

    Fairy-Tale Princess

    Fairy-Tale Prince (or Pirate)


    Little Red Riding Hood

    Chapter 8: The Patterns

    Basic Shirt/Bodice Front

    Basic Shirt/Bodice Back


    Robe Extension

    Basque Bodice

    Fitted Sleeve

    Gathered Sleeve

    Robe Sleeve



    Basic Hat

    Pointed Hat



    Cape with Hood

    Pointed Hood

    Angel Wing


    Basic Hand Puppet Body



    Author Biography



    Cheralyn Lambeth is a costume, prop, and puppet builder whose work includes feature films (The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Patriot, The New World, Evan Almighty, Leatherheads, and The Hunger Games), theatre performances (Sesame Street Live, Avenue Q), interactive exhibitions (The Star Trek Earth Tour, Titanic: The Movie on Tour, and Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton), and the television series Dinosaurs! and Homeland. She currently works as a puppet builder, costumer, and occasional performer with Grey Seal Puppets. 

    '[This] book is well worth the investment for fledgling puppet artists, especially if they have a little costume construction background. Lambeth’s love for (and expertise in) puppetry comes across strongly, and this reader felt an instant ease with her format, content, and style. I really look forward to using some of her techniques and ideas in my own future work'. - Tom Burch, Theatre Design & Technology