The Well-Dressed Puppet : A Guide to Creating Puppet Costumes book cover
1st Edition

The Well-Dressed Puppet
A Guide to Creating Puppet Costumes

ISBN 9781138025332
Published September 2, 2014 by Routledge
184 Pages

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents


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


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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