Sunday, October 11, 2009

Speaking of Costumes... a Technicolor Dreamcoat

About ten years ago I was chief costumer for a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat put on by our church.  I had never done stage costuming before.  Turns out, it was really fun.  I found myself thinking of the stage as a big painting and planning how the costume colors would relate to each other.  I wanted an overall color scheme and of course the dreamcoat had to be the focal point of everything.  As I thought about the dreamcoat, I decided it should be bright.  I mean, the lyrics of the songs in the musical refer to Joseph's coat of many colors as "bright," "shining," "dazzling," and "stunning."  This had to be some coat.  Taking my cues from the Broadway coat, I combined several patterns along with my imagination and came up with the following:
Here's Keaton modeling the dreamcoat.  What a good sport.  I wanted it to be a rainbow of color, but not quite just ROYGBIV.  There had to be turquoise and hot pink and the green had to be lime - don't ask me why.  In the song called "Joseph's Coat" they called off 57 colors.  This thing had to be colorful!  In order to incorporate so many colors, I decided to piece all sections of the coat (with a little help from my mom, the quilter). 

I imagined Jacob gathering the cloth for this coat for his son.  It would not be all matchy-poo.  It would have texture and be cotton or linen - no synthetics back in Canaan.  And yes, I know there was no corduroy back then either, but I wanted texture.  I pulled several of the dreamcoat fabrics from my stash of vintage textiles.

To make the colors pop even more,
I separated them with black grosgrain ribbon.
Joseph's second dream involves the sun, the moon and stars,
so I chose to applique them onto his coat...
...and blanket stitch them in gold.
There needed to be colorful details...
...and touches of glitz to catch the stage lights...
...and hint at Joseph's future elevated rank.
The daisies up the sleeves were a nod to the
flamboyant 60's production number "Go, Go, Go Joseph."
And of course there had to be golden lining.  Joseph sings about it in "Any Dream Will Do."  "I wore my coat with golden lining - bright colors shining, wonderful and new."  It had to be gold.  So much for my commitment to non-synthetics.  I know they didn't have gold tissue lamé back then... but then again those Egyptians had a thing for gold and they were pretty inventive -- they might have found a way.
More important than just about anything though,
the coat had to do that three-sixty carousel thing.
It had to open up into a full circle so the brothers could twirl
around him displaying his coat and mocking him.
Like this.
It was a wonderful show.  So many people worked so hard and it certainly paid off in a top notch production.  Here's a thank you keepsake with signatures from the cast which still hangs on my living room wall.  


  1. That is such a beautiful coat. Do you still have that pattern you used?

  2. Thank you! I combined several patterns to get the look I wanted and there was no pattern at all for the lower half. I just cut strips into the jacket, lined them and placed them over the pieced pie circle of colored fabric. Geez, it makes me tired just remembering all the steps involved.

  3. That is a stunning coat!!! We are putting on a production of Joseph in February 2012 at the middle school. Do you rent the coat?

  4. Jill - thank you for the compliment and like I said in the Etsy convo, you've given me something to think about.

  5. wow! amazing coat. I'm about round put on a middle school production too and need to make the coat. I'll definitely be using ur pics for inspiration. not sure I have enough time for the lining and pretty bits though! Jill, how did your production go? any tips? Lucy

  6. Thank you. The coat was a labor of love. I hope your production is a great experience for all involved. Good luck with the costumes. Yes, Jill, if you ever check back, we'd love to see pictures from your production!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Would you consider selling the technicolor dreamcoat? My number is+14065460729


Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet-
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

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