Gravity Lyrical Costume

This is a little costume for a 10 year old. They wanted a crop top and shorts with a big bow at the back. We hunted through patterns and found this Jalie Ice skating dress and decided to make the crop top from this.


another fabulous Jalie pattern

I’m not a real fan of strappy costumes but this one is quite lovely. It has 4 narrow straps radiating from the neckband to the back of the costume. It’s almost a halter neck. I glammed up the elastic with some Czech rhinestones .


costume back

For the front I sewed on a few acrylic rhinestones that have a nice bling effect.

front bling

front bling

The finishing touch was the bow bustle and the back skirt in blue sparkle tulle. The bling in the middle of the bow is the dancer’s initial!

bow bustle

bow bustle

After the fitting we decided that a unelasticised wide waist band would be better s so I sent Mum and daughter off for cake and coffee while I changed the waistband (and made a wee bow as a hair piece and I needed to tweak one of the straps).


doesn’t the colour suit her!

The back of the costume is so cute … “someone” kept wiggling her bum and looking over her shoulder at it!



It was lovely to meet this lovely bright young dancer and her fabulous Mum! They even bought me a little present for squeezing them into my busy schedule!


I was asked a costume for a contemporary routine based on the character Merida from Disney’s “Brave”. As this wasn’t demi-character we could afford to be a little lateral in our interpretation of the costume. we decided to stay with a rich green but we were having trouble finding the right green stretch mesh for the skirt and the sleeves. I eventually dyed some white mesh with Dharma trading’s Emerald green acid dye. It worked like a dream.


velvet, mesh and some crystals

I used a favourite Jalie pattern with a deep key hole back. I sewed the leo as one piece and added the skirt afterwards so that the leo could be reused for other costumes.


Jalie leo

Contemporary costumes don’t call for a lot of bling so I just added some rhinestones to the neckband to resemble a necklace.


just a bit of bling

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long circle skirt

I added a full circle skirt to support the choreography.

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lovely deep back

and the Studio Cat approves


Tybalt Prince of Cats and Celtic Princess


Spanish Ice Skating costume

Last year I made a lovely Phantom of the Opera ice skating costume for a skater from Tasmania and this year I have been asked to make a Spanish style costume for her sister. The design is not mine (how I wish  could design like that!) but I am so looking forward to starting this one. The picture is not clear because I don’t want to post the original design until the costume is finished.


sketch and pattern

I decided to adapt Kwik Sew pattern 2601. This is a beautiful leotard pattern with a deep back. The costume will be made from black lycra, black and nude stretch mesh with a double layer black stretch mesh skirt. I have the perfect lace for this that I used on a Spanish tutu a few years ago. Oh and there will be rhinestones; lots of rhinestones, and then some. Did I say there would be rhinestones?


I’ll use this lace for the ice skating costume

Because the skater lives in Tasmania I sent the unblinged leotard down for a fitting, then back in the post to me for finishing. The safety pins indicate the skirt line.


finished and fitted leotard

The 2 layer skirt was cut from stretch mesh in higher at the left hip. I simply place the centre hole off centre (truly eccentric!) to give the sloped effect.

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eccentric skirt



When it came back I started applying the sequinned floral appliqués. These were cut from an embroidered and sequinned net fabric. This sort of fabric is wonderful as the appliqués can be cut from it with no fraying. It’s even better when the net and the fabric they are being applied to match although that’s not always necessary

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I pinned the appliqués to match the design, from the upper right bodice, left hip around to the back and the right shoulder at the back. then sewed them to the lycra while on the mannequin. This means that the threads are relaxed when the costume is off the mannequin and have enough slack in them for the costume to be taken on and off. The black plastic is there to stop me sewing into the mannequin fabric and for the next stage … stoning!!!

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placing the appliqués


the back has faux corset lacing

Next came the stoning. I used 4 colours, hyacinth, light siam AB, red and AB crystal.

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I love the textural effect


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side profile



Dark Bride – lyrical costume

My lovely ballet girl Emily is showing her versatility moving away from the peaches and cream tutu I made for her recently to a dramatic lyrical piece featuring a 9 metre black veil. We decided on a great pattern from Jalie. I love Jalie patterns.


Jalie patterns are fabulous

Emily wanted a black lace underlined with nude lycra and then I found this glorious sequinned black lace from Glitter and Dance.

Jalie patterns are great for solos and troupes as they come in 22 sizes in one pattern. From child’s size 2 up to large adult. The multiple sizing is particularly good for grading between sizes for custom sizing.


tracing off Emily’s size

And the costume fitted like a glove.


costume back


lyrical Emily


Lively Pink Tutu

Kim and her daughter Sophie came to visit to create a tutu that was soft enough for a young dancer but bright enough to match Sophie’s sparkling personality. We decided on a beautiful fuchsia with some matching pink and silver lace.


Starting point

The venise lace bodice piece was a little too long so I trimmed a few pieces away and made them into a little headpiece and Sophie won’t be wearing a tiara. I just sewed the pieces together, blinged them up and then hot glued the lace and some left over netting to the hair comb.

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Blinging up the venise lace for the bodice is always fun and has to be done on day 1 so that the glue can dry. What a great excuse to stop cutting and gathering net! The bling is a mixture of tiny flower sequins, acrylic and crystal rhinestones


bodice appliqué

We decided on a white skirt with a touch of pink. Initially layer 2 was a dark fuchsia net but it was too strong so I exchanged it for a lighter pink and then sneaked in a layer of pastel pink as well. This teamed beautifully with the pink lace.

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pink clouds of ballet net

And here we have the lovely combination of pinks and silver that make up Sophie’s tutu skirt.


skirt overlay

I left a lot of the appliqué unadorned so there was a good balance of positive and negative spaces to show through the strong pink.


bodice appliqué


Sophie’s tutu

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White Velvet and French Lace

This tutu is a very special first tutu for a young dancer. She and her mother have chosen a beautiful french lace from Recherche fabrics. The tutu will be in white velvet and because the background of the lace is a soft grey gathering it will intensify the grey which we don’t want for this tutu. So I will construct a flat plate but cutting and trimming motifs from the lace. I thought I’d take this opportunity to show that process.

Depending on the size of the plate you need 2-3 linear metres (and a good grasp of geometry formulae) of the lace. The inner motifs are then cut and repositioned on a net plate so there’s lots of handsewing. Hopefully the motifs are in mirror image to make my job a little more straight forward. I will often incorporate a few more different beads from my stash to finish off the appliqués on the bodice.


Beautiful French Lace from Recherche Fabrics

I made the tutu up in a pattern by Dani Legge. It’s a stretch pattern and has a faux basque giving a lovely classical line.


Sparkles in the light

I used 2.5 metres of the scalloped edge of the lace and had to cut out a few pieces to make the edge curve around the tutu. The area between the scallop and the hip line was filled with individual motifs from the lace stitched to a net plate. This tutu is for a young girl so a heavy gathered plate would have overpowered her.


hand pieced plate

Mint and Black tutu

After weeks of making white and ivory skirts I have a mint and black tutu to make. I always get excited about unusual colours for tutus.


appliqués with resin rhinestones

As the bodice and plate design will be very strong I thought a soft treatment on the skirt would be a nice balance. Layer 2 is a subtle glitter tulle and I’ve thrown in some pale blue as well to give some pretty colour shifts.

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Soft blues and greens

The blue layers can just bee seen underneath in the reflection in the mirror


ready for decoration

The black appliqués look stunning against the mint but I couldn’t resist some rhinestones and beads.


a bit of bling