Animals are often seen on our favorite television sitcoms and films, either as a member of the family or a funny bit character causing mayhem. One thing is sure, both people and writers love to dress up cute critters in costumes! Have you ever wondered where the little outfits came from? Chances are they were handmade by someone like myself.
On Bella and the Bulldogs, I worked with Designer Dahlia Foroutan to make a French themed shirt and bib for Oliver the french bulldog. The process is similar to when I made a custom dress for the star Bella: I had to draft a pattern, sew a mock up and have a fitting. Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes and French Bulldogs are a very specific shape. I did not get Oliver’s measurements before the fitting, so I found the average measurements for his breed online and studied photos to get a good idea of his shape. With this information I was able to make a pattern and mock up close enough to try on at a fitting. With just a few tucks here and there, the costume was perfected and Oliver was ready for his close up.
To book Oliver for a costume fitting we had to contact his trainer. Most television and film animals live at home with families as pets, and go to work on set with a union animal trainer. In addition to the trainer there is an animal welfare agent on set. The American Humane Association protects dogs, pigs, cats, hamsters or any animal actor you can think of. They keep the cast, crew and animals out of harm's way and certify that a television or film project is caring for the creatures.
Speaking of hamsters-- the smallest costume I’ve ever made was for this little guy!
Working with animals is always a special treat. It’s a bit of extra work, but well worth the smiles on the cast and crew's faces when the fuzzy stars are revealed in their finished costumes.