Claire Lynch is the Costume Designer on Call The Midwife.
What was it like joining Call the Midwife?
There was a lot of pressure! It’s been running for seven years. It is such a well-loved show, and everyone always comments on the outfits, especially Trixie’s! It’s all my friends and family’s favourite show. So there will be quite a lot of pressure on Christmas Day when it comes out. I hope everyone loves what I’ve done!
Did the crew make you feel welcome?
Yes. A lot of the crew have been on the show for a long time, and they have been very welcoming. I’ve not been made to feel like an outsider. It’s a really nice show to come onto.
What do you love about this job?
I love being able to make and design the clothes as well as the styling elements. Having my designs and images as a starting point, and then being able to see that through from fabric sourcing and fitting them on the actresses to seeing that in the true fabrics in situ on camera – that’s what it’s all about for me.
You start from something two-dimensional, and then it all has to work together. It’s not just about me, it’s about working with the set. There’s no point in having these beautiful costumes if they don’t work with the background or look out of place. They have to synch together. For me, that’s great. I can smile and relax when it all finally does work.
Were you excited about designing costumes for Trixie?
Yes. Everybody has eagerly awaited her return, so it was important to make sure her look was right and had the wow factor that all the audience were going to be looking for when she arrived back on our screens. I started from an image and saw it through, changing it to suit her figure and her character. That was really good to do. Hopefully it will go down well with the audience.
Are some of the costumes handmade?
Yes. For instance, when we were introducing Shelagh in this series, we needed to create a work look. She’s so petite, and a lot of the clothes I found swamped her, and there are only so many alterations you can do on hired pieces. So I made a few of the outfits we see her in during the Christmas special that establish her in a working mode. She has more of a business-like role before she goes back to being a midwife.
Could you describe a typical day for you?
No, there is no typical day! A lot of times I’m sourcing things in vintage shops in Portobello or Brick Lane or Angels, a costume hire place which is probably the equivalent of Westfield with all the shops under one roof. Angels is where I get a lot of my period costumes. It’s a huge warehouse with anything and everything. I source things online, from eBay for instance. I also spend a lot of time here doing fittings. Those are important because you need to make sure that you are on the right track. A costume has to work for that scene. The days are very varied. It keeps me out of trouble!
Pictured: Valerie Dyer (Jennifer Kirby), Trixie Franklin (Helen George)