Sewing Her Way Through Senior Year

Caroline Hendricks finds joy in creating costumes for student theater productions


Kaitlin Junek

Using a sewing machine, senior Caroline Hendricks practices her skills. “I love costuming,” Hendricks said. “It allows me to open up my creativity to different time periods.”

Whether it be by a quick spin, a daring dance number or a frantic walk, many have seen countless students in handmade costumes glide across the auditorium stage. For the past three years, senior Caroline Hendricks has been designing the costumes for the school’s musicals and plays.
Hendricks learned how to sew from her grandmother, and has always enjoyed creating new things. Even so, Hendricks never got excited about what costuming really was and how it contributed to each show. It was not until Hendricks’ sophomore year musical, “Pippin,” that made her realize the joy in costuming.
“Being backstage is such a unique experience,” Hendricks said. “[Costume designers] are the unsung heroes of the theater, and almost never receive recognition for our weeks of hard work.”
When Hendricks starts designing a costume, she sits down and plans a pattern out first. After establishing a pattern, she sews all the different costumes she needs.
“I think Caroline is one of the best costume designers we have ever had,” senior Toby Mustard said. “She really has an eye for costumes.”
Since taking over costumes, Hendricks has made or altered around 50 pieces, and put together at least 150.
“Depending on the extravagance of the costume, they can take a matter of hours or up to weeks to make from start to finish,” Hendricks said. “Before the show starts, I like to sit down with the directors and establish what kind of look they want the show to have overall.”
Before each play or musical starts, the cast goes through a costume parade to ensure all actors are dressed properly and have all aspects of the various costumes put together. Hendricks said having the visual representation and tangible reward of the weeks or months of work she has put in is the best part of her job.
According to tech theater director Norman Grueneich, the most enjoyable part of having Hendricks on staff has been her ability to laugh and work hard.
“Costuming is not easy,” Hendricks said. “It is so hard to give advice because everyone is going to have a different experience. The best piece of wisdom I could give anyone is to be flexible. It is not always as easy as you would think to get exactly what you want, and the directors might disagree. Stand your ground and don’t let people abuse the beautiful things you can make. You can make grand, beautiful things, but you have to be determined and believe in yourself.”