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Job Summary

NOTE:  This is a full time / seasonal job working the production year from August – April annually.  Candidates must include a cover letter specifying their interest in and qualifications for this position.  The cover letter should be the first page of your resume and uploaded as one document.

As a comprehensive performing arts school set in one of the world’s finest public institutions of higher education, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) is deeply engaged in the creation, practice, scholarship, and pedagogy of music, theatre, and dance. We aim to provide leadership, nationally and internationally, in all three fields. We assert and celebrate the value of the arts to the mission of the University of Michigan. SMTD is committed to sharing values of diversity and inclusion in order to achieve and sustain excellence.

Basic Function And Responsibility

Stitch, alter, and provide associated costume-construction services for the approximately 10 main-stage productions per academic year produced by University Productions for the Theatre, Dance, Musical Theatre, and Opera departments.  This position reports to the costume shop manager.  The assistant shop manager gives direction on specific tasks, techniques, and time management.

This artisan assists in the realization of a costume sketch into an actual costume under the supervision of a cutter/draper.



  • Fabricate costumes and costume elements, as assigned by the costume shop manager, according to the designs of the costume designer within the parameters of the production budget.
  • Sew, either by machine or hand, assigned costumes patterned by the cutter/drapers.
  • Alter assigned costumes that are rented, purchased, or pulled from stock.
  • Manage time effectively on each sewing project.
  • Coordinate and cooperate with other shop staff to meet production deadlines and to solve production problems. Think critically to find solutions to working with unusual materials. Help to ensure the shop goal of having all assigned costumes ready for use at each first-dress rehearsa­l. ­
  • Maintain personal work area, including sewing machinery as necessary to keep work moving effectively.
  • Assist with laundry, clean-up, and the returning of costumes to inventory storage after strike.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by team leader. Occasionally assists with costume crafts as directed by costume shop managers.
  • Measure performers and enter measurements into the computer database.
  • Assist with the training of student assistants on specific tasks in the practical aspects of costume construction and theatrical practices while the students are engaged in labor in the shop
  • Assist with the storage and maintenance of costumes in stock. Assist with the cleaning and maintenance of costume shop equipment and inventory.
  • Assure safe work practices and compliance with MIOSHA regulations.  Alerts supervisors about potentially unsafe conditions.
  • Assist with the specification and recommendation of new equipment or the modification of existing equipment to meet operational or special production needs.
  • Assist with occasional special projects and facility improvements when requested.

Required Qualifications*

  • Three years as a stitcher with a recognized professional performing-arts company or university costume shop is necessary.
  • A degree in costuming with an emphasis on costume construction or a degree in home economics with an emphasis on sewing is necessary.
  • Demonstrated experience in a variety of hand-sewing techniques and machine-sewing techniques is necessary.
  • The ability to operate a variety of sewing machines with skill is necessary, including but not limited to: single needle industrial; industrial zig-zag; overlock; Merrow or Serger; domestic straight and zig-zag machines.
  • The ability to operate an industrial steam iron is necessary.
  • The ability to sit for long periods of time is necessary.
  • The ability to manage time effectively is necessary.

U-M EEO/AA Statement

The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.