Behind the Seams

Carole from the Strictly workshop

Carole from the Strictly workshop let us try on some of the dresses!

Jackie Ring of The Unattached Group took her group for a tour of the workshops in Croydon where the Strictly Come Dancing costumes are made.

‘Following a recommendation from a fellow AGTO Member at a Southern Branch Meeting, I booked my group for a tour of the DSI London workshops in Croydon last October. This is where costumes are made for the fab-u-lous sparkly world of television’s Strictly Come Dancing – and that was an excellent time of year to go as we heard all about the costumes which were being made for the current series and tour – and what goes on ‘behind the seams’.

The workshops are set in an unremarkable residential street in Croydon, but as soon as we stepped inside we were in a different world. We were greeted with a glass of bubbly and some chocolate, while the excellent Carole explained what they did there, especially how they need to fit the shape and style of the different celebrities – and their size often changes as the series progresses. The whole process starts from the idea usually on Monday, through the design on Tuesday, making the costumes up with the thousands of sparkles that are added, then the first fitting at the studios on Thursday, the dress rehearsal on Friday, and with a deadline of the live performance on Saturday.

By the following Tuesday, these costumes are up for sale on the internet, and the team is already working on the next week’s. We then went on a tour of the workshops and storerooms, and were allowed to try on some of the dresses. This was a highlight – with everyone feeling like a queen! There was a lot of swirling and swishing in front of full-length mirrors.

Public tours are available on Mondays, which you can just book on-line, but they will arrange private group tours on other days. These are usually for up to 15 people, so if there are a lot of you who want to go, you can arrange multiple days, but I had 26 so they agreed to do that as two tours on the same day.’