Actress Meryl Streep The Seamstress Often Enhanced Her Own On Set Wardrobe

Fact: In addition to her acting prowess, Meryl Streep the seamstress can enhance any garment she wears. She learned sewing from her mother, who worked as a commercial artist. Meryl Streep likes to sew and has been known to make her own clothes and even sew costumes for her children when they were younger.

meryl streep the seamstress

Meryl Streep, known for her unmatched acting prowess and versatility, has mesmerized audiences for decades. However, there’s a lesser-known talent that lies beneath her on-screen persona – she is an accomplished seamstress. Meryl Streeps the sewer whose talent with a needle and thread have played a fascinating role in her life and even on film sets. In this article, we will delve into the origins of her seamstress abilities, explore her training and experiences, and highlight instances where she put her talents to use on set.

Meryl Streep sewing as meditation can be traced back to her childhood, where she developed an affinity for the craft through her mother. Her mother, a commercial artist, instilled in her a deep appreciation for artistry, creativity, and attention to detail. Streep often observed her mother working on projects, including sewing clothes for the family, which ignited her interest in fabric manipulation and design.

Meryl Streep likes to sew

Meryl Streep artist and her mother

As she grew older, Streep began honing her sewing skills. She familiarized herself with patterns, fabrics, and the technical aspects of garment construction. While attending Vassar College, she further nurtured her passion for sewing and even created her own clothes. Later, during her time at the Yale School of Drama, Streep expanded her knowledge of costume design and theatrical wardrobe, which included mastering techniques like draping, pattern drafting, and tailoring.

Applying Skills On Set:

Meryl Streep’s talents as a seamstress have not gone to waste. In several instances, she has put her skills to good use on film sets, adding authenticity and personal touches to her characters. Here are a few notable examples:

  1. “Out of Africa” (1985): In this romantic drama set in colonial Africa, Streep played Karen Blixen. She developed a close connection with her character and decided to sew some of the costumes herself. Streep meticulously researched the fashion of the period and hand-stitched various garments, including elegant dresses, to better understand the clothing worn by Blixen. This attention to detail enhanced her performance and contributed to the overall visual authenticity of the film.

2. “Postcards from the Edge” (1990): Based on Carrie Fisher’s semi-autobiographical novel, this film portrayed the tumultuous relationship between a mother and daughter, played by Streep and Shirley MacLaine, respectively. To further immerse herself in the character, Streep, in collaboration with the costume designer, contributed ideas and executed alterations to her character’s wardrobe. This personalized touch allowed Streep to infuse her character with a distinct style that reflected her artistic sensibilities.

3. “The Iron Lady” (2011): In her Oscar-winning performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Streep took her commitment to the role to another level. Understanding that Thatcher had her clothes meticulously tailored, she decided to sew her own undergarments for the film. By engaging in this process, Streep sought to capture the essence of Thatcher’s attention to detail and her preference for impeccably fitted garments, allowing her to inhabit the character more fully.

Meryl Streep the sewer

4. “Into the Woods” (2014): Streep’s portrayal of the Witch in this musical fantasy film showcased her creativity as both an actress and a seamstress. In collaboration with the costume designer, she actively participated in the conceptualization and construction of her character’s extravagant and intricate wardrobe. Streep’s keen eye for detail and her understanding of the character’s motivations brought an added layer of authenticity to her performance.

Meryl Streep, an actress of remarkable talent and depth, possesses a hidden skill that sets her apart from many of her peers – she is a skilled seamstress. Her early exposure to her mother’s artistry, combined with her own passion and training, enabled her to master the art of sewing. For Maryl Streep sewing as meditation is a way to focus on one distraction at a time and focus. It brings her comfort, and she is dedicated to her craft has not only enhanced her understanding of characters but has also allowed her to contribute to the authenticity and visual richness of her films. From hand-stitching costumes in “Out of Africa” to creating undergarments in “The Iron Lady,” Streep’s sewing skills have added a personal touch to her performances, further solidifying her status as one of the most versatile and committed actresses in the industry. She even had Tom Hanks geek talking about Streep’s high maintenance with the quality of the sewing kits she used.

Meryl’s sewing talents have not remained confined to her personal life. On numerous occasions, she has demonstrated her generosity by using her skills to benefit others. For various charity events and fundraisers, Meryl Streep sewing for charity has created exquisite garments and accessories that were later auctioned to raise funds for charitable causes. Her contributions have not only garnered significant support for worthy organizations but have also showcased the beauty and importance of traditional crafts.


Meryl Streep Unlocks Her 1967 Sewing Kit. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2023, from

McGrath, C. (2011, December 23). Streep Dons Thatcher’s Armor. The New York Times.

Wikipedia Contributors. (2019, May 30). Meryl Streep. Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation.

Meryl Streep helps Helen Mirren with her broken dress. (2020, January 6). Harper’s BAZAAR. Meryl Streep the sewer

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