Quinn M. B urgess MFA

Historical Costumer

Costume Maker



Who Am I?

I am an experienced costume shop manager and expert technician. I have ten years' experience constructing and altering historical clothing, modern and historical costumes, and teaching costume construction skills.

What Do I Do?

During the academic year, I am Costume Shop Manager for the Theatre Department at Boston College.


In this role, I produce exceptional costumes for six productions a year while overseeing and teaching basic costume construction skills to students. I also create patterns; complete advanced construction, tailoring, and millinery tasks; schedule and conduct fittings; creatively attain costume pieces; and demonstrate hairstyling. In addition, I maintain and organize costume stock and oversee costume budgets.


During the summer, I enjoy working for Plimoth Plantation. As an artisan tailor in the Historical Clothing & Textiles Department, I focus on the accurate reproduction of 17th century clothing for first-person interpreters. I also work for the Magic Circle Theater at Tufts University, where I foster creativity and hands-on learning for middle school students who help to create costumes for theatrical productions.


Throughout the year, I complete commissions from individuals and institutions for historical and modern clothing; design and build costumes for historical and modern films; and provide expert consultation on historical costumes for documentaries. I am also a performing member of a 19th century historical dance troupe and a member of the Costume Society of America.

How Do I Work?

I excel in balancing diverse, detailed assignments, managing projects and budgets, and teaching. As an artisan, I am detail oriented, methodical,  meticulous, patient, and I am expert and especially speedy at completing sewing tasks. I am an avid life-long learner. I understand and enjoy making clothing with historical accuracy and  building and altering costumes for theatre and film.  I always endeavor to create products that demonstrate exceptional workmanship.


Manager. Guide the planning, building, altering, and purchasing of costumes. Coordinate and  collaborate with costume designers.  Supervise professional and student stitchers. Oversee costume  budgets for shows. Organize, replenish, and maintain costume shop and storage assets.


Instructor. Introduce students to basic sewing skills and foster advancement to advanced skills. Design and maintain a process of training and practicing to allow students to safely learn and use costume construction skills to assist with the construction process of costumes. Adapt teaching style to each class and the students in it, providing group and personal instruction. Encourage students to use creativity and hands-on learning.


Supervisor. Identify skill levels, distribute relevant projects, and oversee construction progress.


Draper. Use flat patterning, drafting, and draping skills to produce, manipulate, and alter patterns for modern, fantasy, and historical costumes. Conduct fittings. Cut or oversee cutting of costume pieces.


Tailor. Pattern, cut, fit, construct, and alter modern and historical garments for men and women.


Stitcher. Construct and alter modern, fantasy, and historical costumes and clothing, using hand and machine sewing skills.


Artisan & Craftsperson. Create and trim hats, including felt, straw, fabric, and buckram. Use distressing and dyeing skills to create realistic costumes. Utilize specialized skills including knitting and card weaving.


Designer. Collaborate with director and other designers to create costumes to fulfill an artistic vision.


Independent Seamstress. Research, pattern, construct, and alter historical and modern clothing for  individuals and institutions.


My background includes the study of history, social, costume, and material, as well as a lifetime of fostering creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills. Combining these varied facets with my expert knowledge of costume construction, I am able to study, create, and wear historical clothing. These opportunities provide me with an unique perspective, especially in the construction of historical clothing and costumes.