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Costume Dresser - Television

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My name’s Katie B and I’m a costume assistant.


So, day to day here at Emmerdale, I set up all the costumes in the morning, very early, and get all the artists dressed for the first scenes and then throughout the day the changes and any assistance on set, I’ll do as well.


So I was at uni, at art college in Leeds and then, through a friend, got some work experience on an ITV drama called Married, Single, Other. So that was sort of 2009, 2010. Did a bit of, you know, sort of a week on that, finished uni, the same friend got me my first trainee job on a Channel 4 comedy drama and it sort of spiralled from there, so got on with the designer and the supervisor, she took me with her on a few more jobs as trainee and yeah, just from there and now I’m at Emmerdale.


My primary school I went to was half a mile up the road form me, in the middle of nowhere, with about 30 children in the whole school, infants and juniors. My mum taught me and also my best friend’s mum was the head teacher, so it was very, just typical country school. So then when I then went up to secondary school, a school of a thousand people, in the nearest town, which was about nine miles away from my home, it was very scary.


So recently we had our PDRs, our professional development reviews, which you discuss if you want to take your career further. Some people are perfectly happy at the level they’re at but we can talk about going up, so I’m. at Emmerdale, I’m a costume dresser and the next stage up would be costume assistant where you’re on set all the time doing continuity and then the next step up from that would be costume supervisor. So I talked about that in my PDR and they offered, you know, and they talk about time scale and when you’d like to achieve that by and they’re encouraging, definitely.


I suppose a high point in my career was working on a programme called Peaky Blinders which was a really, probably the biggest budget thing I’ve ever worked on. A BBC2 period drama, set in 1919, I think it was. It’s really nice to see it on the telly and think you had a part of that and I enjoyed watching it as well, you know, watched it on the telly, got really into it on TV, as well as, you know, working on it.


I’m not a trained seamstress or anything like that but I can sew. I’m sort of a competent sewer, so that definitely helps if, you know, if you’re getting employed on a job and they see that on your CV, a designer or a supervisor’s going to see that and think, well that’s a bonus. It’s not always an absolute must, you know, and I know costume assistants that can’t sew a thing but they get work, you know. it’s just another, it’s a skill that maybe bodes well for you, when a supervisor’s employing you.


It’s definitely good to be able to talk to anyone. I think if you’re quite quiet and reserved, it’s hard to integrate yourself into a crew. But you’ve just got to stick at it, there’s, you know, you can climb the ladder, you know, quite quickly if you stick at it and you’re determined and you get on with people and yeah, just sort of being motivated, definitely and sticking with it is the best bit of advice really.


End of Katie B


Cath went to a primary school of only 30 pupils and was a little apprehensive about joining a high school of over 1000 students. She ended up loving high school, particularly art and went on to art college in Leeds. Her interest in textiles and a recommendation from a friend helped her get her first job in the costume department on a BBC drama. She now works in the costume team at Emmerdale and loves to see her name on the end credits.

More information about Arts officers, producers and directors

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

42%  male 
58%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Arts officers, producers and directors assume creative, financial and organisational responsibilities in the production and direction of television and radio programmes, films, stage presentations, content for other media, and the promotion and exhibition of other creative activities.
Entry can be via academic qualifications, BTEC/SQA awards, diplomas or degrees in sector-relevant subjects. Apprenticeships are available at NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in some areas.
  • Chooses writers, scripts, technical staff and performers, and assumes overall responsibility for completion of project on time and within budget;
  • Directs actors, designers, camera team, sound crew and other production and technical staff to achieve desired effects;
  • Breaks script into scenes and formulates a shooting schedule that will be most economical in terms of time, location and sets;
  • Prepares rehearsal and production schedule for main events, design of sets and costumes, technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals;
  • Ensures necessary equipment, props, performers and technical staff are on set when required;
  • Manages health and safety issues;
  • Selects, contracts, markets and arranges for the presentation and/or distribution of performance, visual and heritage arts.
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