Theatre Inventory Database 5-9 – New Features

The Theatre Inventory Database has been updated to version 5-9.  The big difference is the look of the screens – new font and buttons.










Here is a list of the other most important changes:

1) The setup file is now a “Signed” file so when you install it the operating system will recognize this file as coming from a known and trusted publisher (Costume Inventory Resources). For most setups the security warning regarding opening the database file will not appear any more. For some highly secure computers you may still see a warning message.







2) The forms have all been updated with a new font and button styles and the MS Access version upgraded to 2010. The database has a new, fresher look and more consistency between modules. You may notice that the tab controls are different colors now. Occasionally the text on the tab is a little slow to refresh but give it a second or click on the Refresh Lookups button to repaint the screen. If you only have MS Access 2007 you will need to upgrade to 2010 or 2013 to use version 5-7 and above. If you have questions, please contact us.









3) The sorting of the Storage Locations for Costumes and Props has been improved to sort mixed text and numbers more accurately. In the past you might see Box 1, Box 10, Box 2. Now it will sort Box 1, Box 2, Box 10.

4) A new feature of the on-line User Guide is the “Known Issues” section. Any issues that we know of with the database and / or different setup options will be listed there.  In addition the User Guide has more sections completed.  More content will be added all the time but take a look now:  Theatre Inventory User Guide

5)  The Backup Utility has been improved to back up to external drives or USB drives and shows a Backup Log to show you how many backups you have an where they are.

6) The Production tabs for Costume Pieces and Props have been updated to allow you to select Costume Pieces / Props from this screen as well as the Costume Pieces screen and the Props screen.

7) The Theatre Inventory Connect! website is temporarily closed. In version 5-7 and above the links to the Connect! tabs have been removed.

8) Open Window Message:  If you have 7 or more windows / tabs open the program will give you a popup message telling you :

8windowsMS Access keeps track of the number of tabs you have open. If you get 12 or more windows/tabs open the database will get very slow or stop and give you a lot of odd messages (such as ‘you have too many databases open’). Just close a few unneeded tabs and the database will keep running smoothly.


Contact us today if you would like to upgrade your version to the new one!




Uniform Inventory Database

The Uniform Inventory Database is here !

Several customers have asked for a way to track uniforms – for their music program, marching band, athletic teams or their employees.  So – now there is a Uniform Inventory Database with 4 modules:  Uniforms, Musical Instruments, Equipment / Props, and Music/Scores.  All 4 modules are installed at startup but you can un-install the ones you don’t need.  Along with the 4 modules there is a module for Activities – such as classes or activities where the uniforms,  instruments, or equipment/props are used, a Checkout module to check out the uniforms, instruments, equipment etc to students or employees and a module to track your people – students or employees or team members.  Sheet music or scores can be checked out to students/members as well.  The Activities and People modules can be customized to display the title you want.  The Activities can be called “Classes”, “Activities”,”Teams”, “Departments” etc.  The People can be called “Students”, “Employees”, “Team Members” and several more options.  Price:  $250.  Also available is a Uniform Startup Package which includes the software and 250 inventory tags and 250 adhesive labels ($325).

Download the free 30-day trial here.

Combine the Uniform Inventory Database with the Inventory Tags and you have a winning combination!







Utimate Ditty Bag Kit available soon – pre-order now!

The Ultimate Ditty Bag Kit !!DSF-06324-Ditty_Bag_full2

This is a kit with all the pre-cut fabric and notions plus the illustrated instructions for sewing the bag together. All you need is a sewing machine (and serger is recommended) and thread.  The sewing instructions are easy to follow.  There are quite a few steps as there are many pockets but most seamstresses with basic sewing skills can put together a bag in about 2 hours.

The kit is available for pre-orders now.  We will start shipping by Oct 1st.
Price $35 each, If you order 10 or more – $32.50 each – shipping included.

Tag Durability Test Results

With the new iron-on material and questions from customers about writing on tags we decided to run a new Tag Durability test.

We used the current sew-in tag material and the new iron-on tag material.  We applied the tags to a navy blue polyester/cotton napkin.  Four different markers were used to test how the ink would hold up after 20 washes/drys.

The markers used were:  Sharpie – Ultrafine point, Sharpie Fine Point, Newhouse No. 1 All Purpose marker (Ball point pen)  and Staedtler Lumocolor permanent laundry marker.

All the markers did well but we felt the Staedtler Lumocolor marker worked best.  The Newhouse Ball Point Pen was used to mark the number of washes and it didn’t do as well on the Sew-in material as it did on the Iron-on material.

You will see that the iron-on material picked up some dye from the fabric and the ink but they are all still quite readable and the barcodes still scan quickly.

If you would like to receive some sample tags to test them yourself, please contact us and we will send them right away.

Sources for the Staedler Lumocolor marker:

Source for the Newhouse Marker:

Photo of Durability Test  tags after 20 washes / drys:


New Iron-on Tags

Recently the manufacturer of the Iron-on Tag Material changed their product.  The new tag material has a much smoother surface, is a bit thicker, and lasts a lot longer through the washes and dry cleans.  The smoother image allows for the graphics and barcodes to print better.  The images are sharper and with good contrast.  The barcode lines are complete (not a bar of dots).

You will notice a new feel to the material.  It may feel a bit rubber-y but it irons on beautifully.

The only drawback that I have found is that the material will pick up dye more readily than the old material.  If you have a fabic that bleeds the white tag material will pick up the color some what.  If you intend to dye the fabric or finished garment it would be best to wait to apply the tag after the dying process is finished.










If you would like to receive some free samples of this material, please let me know –

The next blog post shows the durability test results for both the Iron-on and Sew-in tags.

Theatre Inventory Connect ! – under construction

Business Card 2015-Jan AS BANNER





The 1st version of the Theatre Inventory Connect product, which is designed to allow organizations to list rentals for web visitors to view, has not been well received.  We have taken the site down for now and are reviewing new design ideas.  If you have any ideas of what you would like to see, please let us know.



New WebStore is Ready !

We have a new Webstore !   The old store had problems with processing credit card payments and was limiting the number of Items I could display.

The new store is still accessible from the main website – – look for the “Store” link at the top.  Or you can go directly to the store at:

The credit card processing is very easy and secure.  You may still choose to pay with PayPal or call to give me the information over the phone but the option to pay with a credit card is now easy to do.

You may notice a little change on the pricing of inventory tags in large quantities.  The new store allows me to do a % discount for the larger quantities and the prices may be a few dollars less than what the old store charged.  I will be updating the price list soon to reflect these lower prices.  I will be adding more photos and screen prints as well.

Visit the new store and let me know how you like it!



Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources in the news !

Last month I gave a presentation at USITT in Cincinnati.  Yvonne French of DC Metro Theatre Arts attended and wrote up a great article.  Thanks Yvonne !  Read the article here:

If you have any questions about setting up a rental program or would like to see the workbook I created – just contact me.  Thanks.



Host your Inventory Database on the Web – Now !

For over the last 2 years I have been working to bring the Costume Inventory Database to the web. I have tested many different online database options and found them all lacking.  I am good at writing databases but learning all the many layers of programming code to create a functional online database with the features that everyone is used to became an a a nearly impossible task for me.  But – the world is moving away from desktop and local area network software and on to the web – so I had to figure a way to do it.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Introducing the Costume Inventory Resources Dedicated Server !

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????For the last few months I have been working with some very smart and dedicated network hosting engineers at We have set up a dedicated Citrix Server..  It is a powerful, fast and reliable server that will host your database and allow access to it from any device (PC, Mac, iPad, Android) through the Internet.  In the early testing that we have done the performance of the database on the Dedicated Server is better than I have on my desktop. (Tablets are a bit slower but we are working on that!)



We will copy your Theatre Inventory Database (we need to upgrade your current database to the newest version) or your Lighting or Sound/Media Equipment database and all your data and photos to your own secure folder.

This will take your database off your own network or local computer so your IT Staff will not have to monitor and support it.   You will get a simple to use FTP app to upload your photos to your folder as you create them.  The database and photos are backed up every night.

CitrixReceiverIntallYou will sign up for a hosting plan and add users.  Then you and your staff will have access to the database from any location and any device !   Each device will need to download the free Citrix Receiver software to their device and so a quick installation.  (Note:  The Theatre Inventory Database is a bit large to work on an iPad or tablet at the moment but we will be publishing a smaller app to access the data very soon).

Click here to see the Dedicated Server page on the website with links to more information.

Costs for the hosting plans start at $50 / month.

Contact us to see a demo of the Theatre Inventory Database on the server.  This is a great solution to keep your database accessible to all members of your staff – where ever they may be.


Theatre Inventory Database 5-1 !

The Costume Inventory Database has evolved quite a bit in the last few years and tracks more than just costumes (Props, Scripts, etc).  Many customers who had both the Costume Inventory Database and the Pattern database wanted to connect their costume records with the pattern records.  So to make the title of the database more accurate and to make the updates to the databases more consistent and timely I have upgraded the Costume Inventory Database – Elite into the Theatre Inventory Database.

StartupThere are many new features but the four most important are:

1)  The Theatre Inventory Database has modules that can be installed or un-installed as you decide what you want.  The database comes with the following modules installed:

Costume Pieces – Individual costume piece records.  The costume piece records are much the same as before but can be linked to one or more productions.  This option is in addition to the Performance Management / Ensembles feature that links Ensembles to Productions.

Performance Management – This was the Ensembles records but now includes the Production/Performance features that link Roles to Ensembles and Performers.

Props – This is the same props module as before but with a few more features.

Patterns – This module will track your pattern collection and link the costume and pattern records together. The Pattern Inventory Database is paid for separately from the Theatre Inventory Database.

Scripts/Scores – this module allows you to check out scripts, scores, and books to students / performers.

When you purchase your software the Software Registration Key will install the modules you have paid for.

All versions include the Productions and Rentals / Checkout modules.  The different versions are:

Elite:  Costume Pieces, Performance Management, Props, Scripts

Standard:  Costume Pieces, Props

Props:  Props

Patterns:   this can be a Stand-alone database or installed in the Theatre Inventory Database.


LogIn2) You can set up a Log-in / User Security system.  If you choose to turn on the Log-in feature everyone using the database will need to have a username and password set up by the database administrator.  There are 3 levels of database access:  Administrator (can do everything); Data Entry / Staff (can add / edit / delete costume/prop etc records but not update the users or utilities; and Read-only (these users can view data, do searches and print reports but not edit any data or utilities).

3)  The database is split into two files – one for the data and one for the forms and reports.  This setup will make the database much easier to administer on networks where there are multiple people using the database at the same time.  It will also make it much easier for you to upgrade to a new version as they become available as the data will remain the same and the new forms / reports file will just link to your data.

PhotoGalleryCostumes4)  The search results for Costumes, Ensembles, Props and Patterns can now be viewed as a Photo Gallery.  You can see a photo from each record – 16 to a page.  Each photo is identified by Tag ID/Pattern number.




The database is available to download now from the Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources website.  Your data will need to be imported into this current version but that is easy to do – just contact me for assistance.

One other new update is that the User Guide is now in an online – searchable format.  It is not complete but the costume chapters are mostly complete.  Check it out here 

Here is the full list of the new features:

New Features for Version 5

1) The Theatre Inventory Database comes with 5 modules: the Costume Pieces, Performance Management (Ensembles), Props, Sewing Patterns and Scripts modules. You can select which module to add/use/un-install. Simply purchase the modules you want, enter the Software Reg Key and get to work. The “Productions” and “Check-out/Rental” features are included for all modules.  You will notice that the menus are cleaner with fewer options and that there are more menus. This was done to make it easier to accommodate having the modules (that could be installed and uninstalled) and allow for future versions of the database to add new modules without having to redesign the opening screens each time.

2) User Log-in / Security – The database administrator has the option to turn on security so users will have to log-in with a username and password. Users can have one of 3 levels of security: Admin (can do anything), Staff (can enter data but not update Utilities), and Read Only (view records, do searches, print reports). To turn this feature on, go to the Utilities/Company Information screen.

3) Photo Gallery – One of the options on the Search Results form is to view the photos of the selected records in a gallery format.

4) Spell Check – If your installation has the full version of MS Office (Access and Word) you can turn on the Spell check function. On the Costume Piece and Props screens you will see a small button to do a spell check on the page. If you are using the MS Access Runtime, the Spell check will not work. To turn this feature on, go to the Utilities/Company Information screen.

5) Database is split into two files – called a front end and a back end. The database front end has the forms, reports and programing code to make the application work. The database back end is a file that only includes the tables. The two files are linked. There are several advantages to having the database split: 1) The database will work much better in multi-user environments on networks, 2) It will allow for easier updates to newer versions (only the front end will need to be replaced), 3) It will allow for new versions – such as the multi-language version or specialty versions (TV Presenters, Photo Studio, etc) to be introduced in the future. The data tables in the back end can be imported to a MS SQL Server database and linked to the front end easily if your organization’s IT staff wish to do so. Contact us for more information.

6) Tag ID’s Sorting improved. Tag ID’s with letters, symbols and numbers have always been difficult to sort correctly. A new sorting algorithm has been created to sort the Costume and Props tag ID’s more accurately. If you change the TagID for a costume or prop you will be instructed to go to the Costume / Props Utilities Menu. Look for the option “Update Costume/Prop Sorting “. Click on that option and the Tag sorting will be updated.

7) Pattern Inventory Module now integrated with the Costume Piece Module. If you choose to purchase/install the Pattern Inventory Module you can link pattern records to the costume pieces that were made from the patterns.

8) New options to select costumes and props for the Theatre Inventory Connect! website. The Theatre Inventory Connect! site ( is a place to advertise you costumes and props for rent. The site will hold many collections – not just yours. The records are searchable by many fields include Country, State, Costume Type, Color, Size, Time Period, and Production. You can select which records from your Theatre Inventory Database to publish to the site. Contact Costume and Theatre Inventory Resources for more information.

9) New fields: Costume Pieces: Condition, Design Style (casual, formal, etc), Fabric Pattern (solid, plaid, floral, etc). These fields are drop downs and based on a table that can be updated in the Utilities menu. The fields can be searched on.

10) Exact match: In the Search screens for Costumes and Props you can turn on the Exact Match option for Costume/Prop name and Size. For example: if you wanted to search for size “S” you could turn on exact match and only see the records were “S” not “XS”, “S/M”.

11) Costume Pieces can be assigned to one or more Productions without being part of an Ensemble and assigned to a Role. This is the same functionality as is in the “Standard” version. Now it is available in the all versions.

12) New fields and reports for Productions / Performance Management: The Performers record now has a field for “Dressing Room”. There is a new report under the Performance Reports that will allow you to print a list of dressing rooms and all the performers assigned to it. There is also a “Ditty Bag” report. This report is a list of all the costume pieces that belong to an Ensemble that has been assigned to a performer in a role in a production – plus a photo. The report is designed to fit on the “Ultimate Ditty Bag” which is available from Costume Inventory Resources.

Take a look at the new version and the User Guide and let me know what you think !

(Since there are so many updates to this version I am offering 5 $25 gift certificates to the first five people who find a bug in the Theatre Inventory Database !  I hope I won’t have to pay out but I usually miss something !  Thanks for your help !)



The Ultimate Ditty Bag !

Costume & Theatre Inventory Resources is now offering the Ultimate Ditty Bag !

I originally made one for my son (college student majoring in Theatre) but once my customers saw it – they all wanted a dozen !  So I have found a wonderful seamstress to cut and sew these custom bags.

The Ultimate Ditty Bag is designed to identify your performer’s costume pieces and hold small items, undergarments and shoes in the dressing room during a production.


✓ Large, 19″ x 40″, bag with pockets made of 7.5 oz cotton/polyester twill fabric. It is designed to hang over a heavy duty hanger. Durable enough to last for many years of productions – even with the most rambunctious actors. Hand made in the USA.
✓ Easily readable ID number – each bag will have a number on the bag itself and the detachable laundry bag. When you order the bag – please tell us what numbers to use (# 1-99).







✓ Vinyl pocket to hold a ‘Ditty Bag Card’ printed from the Theatre Inventory Database (Productions Reports / Performance Management). The card will have the assigned ID number, performer’s name, the role name, all the costume pieces that belong to the Ensemble plus a photo from the Ensemble record.
✓ Small mesh pocket – for small items like jewelry, bow tie, handkerchiefs, etc. There is a snap in the middle to secure it.

✓ Large fabric pocket – for belts, ties, clean socks, clean t-shirt, etc.

✓ Large, detachable mesh laundry bag to hold dirty socks, undergarments, etc. It is fastened with snaps so it can be removed and the contents washed and dried in the bag. Once the bag is out of the laundry it can be re-attached to the correct Ditty Bag as it has the same number.
✓ Shoe pockets – for 2 pairs of shoes.DSF-06338-Ditty_Bag





✓ The back has a slit opening so a performer can hang their street clothes inside.





DSF-06352-Ditty_Bag✓ A “Property Of …” tag on the back where your school/theatre name, phone # or website can be printed. (Give us printing instructions with your order.)



✓ Easy-to-clean bag – just Hand or Machine Wash – Gentle with Cold Water and line dry on the hanger. Remember, the vinyl pocket can’t handle the dryer heat!

When ordering please include the numbers you want on the bags (i.e. 1 – 12, etc) and the name of the school / theatre to go on the property tag.

Cost:  $65 each (free shipping)

Accessories: (not included)

Hanger: We recommend the Walmart Heavyweight Plastic hangers (5 hangers for $2). We do not recommend a standard plastic hanger as they will break and metal hangers can bend.

Wardrobe bag: (to cover the Ditty Bag while traveling to competitions) Look for a heavy vinyl or fabric bag that is at least 21″ wide and 42 or more inches long. Walmart has one for under $10 which will hold two Ditty Bags or a Ditty Bag and a costume. You can print large numbers on Avery labels #6572 from the Theatre Inventory Database to match the Wardrobe Bag with the Ditty Bag.(See website for details.)







Costume Inventory DB 4-8 ready

The lastest version of the Costume Inventory Database – Version 4-8 is ready for download.  This is the last update before the database application goes modular.  This version has the Costume Pieces, Ensembles, Props and Scripts. 
 New features include :

1) New fields for Costume Pieces (Color Pattern (i.e.Plaid, Stripes), Design Style (Casual, Formal, etc) and Condition. New Search options as well.
2) A ‘Copy Production’ feature which allows you to copy a production and roles and ensembles.
3) New “Current” field for Productions and Individuals which allows you to mark the records as “not current ” so the records will fall to the bottom of the lookup lists.
4) New Brief / Summary Rental Receipts for Organization rentals. The new reports have much less data and require less paper to print.
5) Bug fix – the problem with the database crashing if you had a blank Storage Location record has been fixed.

As a reminder – the Professional Versions have been discontinued and all the Inventory Databases are the ‘Elite” version with linked (not embedded photos).

If none of these problems is concerning your costume shop, then you can stay with your current version.  If you want to upgrade, let me know.