Location: The Costume Studio at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama

Featured guests: Tiia Lager, Costume Studio manager, and Sara Novelly, School of Drama business manager

3 things that surprised me:

1. CMU’s School of Drama puts on 13 to 15 shows every year and the costumes for all the shows are made in-house. For the last show of the school year, “A Little Night Music,” the students created more than 400 different costume pieces.

2. Tiia took me to a room off the main costume shop where they dye fabrics. The room is full of pots of various sizes that the students use to heat dyes and fabrics on the stove. There are also two massive soup pots that they can use to dye up to 5 yards of fabric at a time.

3. Tiia and Sara led me to a century-old button cabinet that they bought from the Parker Button Co. when it moved from the Jenkins Arcade in the early 1980s. The dozens of tiny drawers are full of so many buttons from various eras that Tiia says she doesn't think they'll ever need to restock. If a student is looking for that final piece for a costume, Tiia directs them to “go look in the button cabinet.”

One thing that didn’t make the final cut: The Costume Studio also houses a fitting room where student costumers fit the actors for their costumes. Tiia said it's an opportunity to teach costume students how to interact with actors, which is an important aspect of the job.

Want more Yinzer Backstage Pass? Check out our visit to MuseumLab, a historic library turned contemporary art space for kids.

Boaz is the host of Speed Way Line Report's Yinzer Backstage Pass video series. He is also an author, filmmaker, advertising copywriter, teacher, experiential storyteller, talk show host, gardener, kazoo museum curator and so much more.