Costume First Hand

  • Full Time
  • Chicago

Website TheWirtzCenter Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University

Responsible for producing high quality costume elements, this position assists the draper/pattern maker

with costume builds and manages costume alterations and garment construction as assigned for all

Wirtz Center productions. The successful candidate must possess outstanding communication skills and

the ability to collaborate with both student and professional designers and across all production

departments. The position requires collaboration with design and directing faculty to support student

learning goals. This is a full-time non-exempt position, reporting to the Costume Shop Supervisor and

the Production Manager.

Position Responsibilities:

The first hand is responsible for working with the cutter/ drapers, costume craftsperson, costume shop

supervisor and show designer to interpret costume renderings and execute all costume pieces safely, in

a timely manner, and within budget. They assist in the selection of costume build materials and

calculation of yardages, help provide innovative solutions in the research, development and creation of

unusual specialty items, assist with fittings as requested, and complete alterations with a high level of

craftsmanship and efficiency.

In conjunction with the costume shop manager and drapers, the first hand organizes and manages the

work of Graduate Assistants, work-study students, and undergraduate crews in costume production and

proper use of all costume shop equipment and procedures. They provide input regarding workflow,

need for temporary employees, and improvements in the production process, equipment, and facilities.

The first hand assists in the organization, re-stock and maintenance of costume shop resources including

garments, fabric and notions, tools, supplies and equipment. In conjunction with the members of the

shop staff, they maintain the security and cleanliness of and improve the physical workspace: the shop,

storage areas, dressing and make-up rooms, and laundry facilities. Additionally, they assist in the

maintenance and general upkeep of tools, equipment and inventory; prioritize safety and best working

practices; and maintain and update Safety Data Sheets for all products employed.

Essential Skills and Attributes:

• Self-motivated team player who handles pressure well

• Commitment to a safety-oriented work environment

• Open-mindedness and ability to maintain productive and collaborative working relationships

with a wide range of colleagues including students, faculty, and theater professionals

• 3 years professional costume experience OR an undergraduate degree in costume technology or

design, theatre, or a related discipline

• A general knowledge of theatre, theatre production and costume design process

• Basic pattern drafting, draping skills and pattern alteration/grading

• Experience with garment cutting

• Skills in using home, commercial, and blind-hem sewing machines

• Advanced construction skills and associated techniques

• Supervisory experience and ability to establish and organize priorities for others. Ability to

manage and lead others

• Organizational and administrative skills; proficiency in Microsoft Office and Outlook

Preferred Skills and Qualifications:

• Experience working with student designers and performers in an educational environment

• Advanced knowledge of costume construction, costume design process and its related


• Knowledge of OSHA standards and safety protocols

• Five+ years professional costume shop experience.

• Tailoring skills

Work Environment and Physical Demands: The First Hand is expected to be hands-on in the execution

of all costume elements. The position may require work with hazardous materials and use of specialized

safety equipment.

Qualified candidates will be expected to comply with the Wirtz Center’s and Northwestern University’s

Covid Safety plans, which continue to be updated per latest state and Federal guidelines.

Instructions to Apply:

Apply at the link below

To apply for this job please visit

Pay Rate/Range*: $18-$21.50
Organization Email Contact: