Rajah the Tiger

This was great fun to make. The dancer’s mom (from the US) sent me a sketch and asked me to realise it for her. I’ve worked with her before and she has great design ideas and understands the constraints of dance.  I must admit, lots of people don’t and it’s sad to disappoint people when their ideas are not feasible … but this one worked beautifully.

bodice detail

tiger print and sharp teeth

Tiger print of course was a must but then I was faced with how to decorate. The answer came when I delved into my trove of rhinestones … tiger teeth and bright metallic gold trim.

back

back detail

The high collar decorated with jewels was just what my client was looking for. This was no wild tiger.

skirt detail

detail on hip line

I had just enough of these rhinestones for the hip decoration too. I bought then a few years ago thinking they’d come in handy for something.  I knew I’d find the perfect application at some point.

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Tiger in the jungle

A full circle mesh skirt with 4 slits (offset from centres and sides) provided plenty of coverage but opportunity for the dancer’s leg-line to be seen. Little arm cuffs completed the picture.

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arm cuffs

Midnight Blue Contemporary

The dance world seems to be awash with contemporary costumes consisting of a crop-top, dance pants and an attached skirt. So it’s a delight when I’m asked to make something that varies from the trend.

This one piece costume is a gorgeous midnight blue with black appliques and crystal AB rhinestones.

Midnight blue

midnight blue

What I love about this Jalie pattern is the yoke and sleeves are one piece so there are no seams in the mesh to distract from the dancer’s line.

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yoke has no seams

And the back has a nice deep keyhole for some added interest. I’m looking forward to using this pattern again.

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Apricot, Ivory and White tutus

My last multiple post will be those enduring colours of the ballet world, white, ivory and apricot.

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Elegant simplicity

A lovely white tutu with silver venise lace, crystal AB rhinestones and a simple overlay of silver white lace.

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Ruched white bodice

This design took a lot of to-ing and fro-ing but I think my client and I came up with a real winner. Silver venise lace and crystal AB rhinestones again team beautifully with crisp white. The ruched bodice and underbust decorations are now one of my favourite designs.

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Paquita

This lovely Paquita made her debut at the Sydney Eisteddfod this year. The ivory particularly suited the young dancer’s olive complexion.

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Gold and ivory

The ornate geometry of the decorations gave a baroque feel to this tutu. The skirt was a mixture of white and ivory to reduce the starkness of an all white skirt.

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My favourite tutu this year

I know I shouldn’t have favourites amongst my “children” but this beauty still takes my breath away. The upper bodice is covered in stretch lace and the decorations are a combination of apricot, copper and gold. There is a single layer of apricot net that gives the skirt a pretty blush.

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Close second

And this tutu is the very close second. It’s pretty and romantic. I had great fun constructing the ornate plate.

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Three ways with the Silver-white lace

Finding lace and trimmings for costumes is a never-ending task; EBay, Aliexpress, op-shops, generous gifts all make for a lively versatile inventory. But sometimes you can get stuck. Well here’s how I used white and silver in three different ways – not because I’d run out of ideas but because 3 separate clients all chose similar pretty lace for white lyrical costumes.

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Silver sequin lace from Spotlight (the rhinestones were my addition)

This lace is readily available from Spotlight stores on Australia and New Zealand. It’s quite versatile but is becoming a little overused. So circumstances call for some creativity to reinvent this useful fabric. In the picture above it is overlaid on knitted lace and has a few rhinestones added.

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Stretch lace over lycra

In the first costume the motifs from the lace were blinged up with crystal AB rhinestones and used to decorate the skirt and bodice of the costume.

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close up of lace motif on upper bodice

The sequin lace blends beautifully into the lycra/stretch lace combo.

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back view

The lace motifs are continued around the back of the bodice and onto the lace sleeve. This is a lovely simple costume for a young dancer. The current trend for bare midriff is included but with plenty of coverage elsewhere.

The second costume is a lyrical with a long stretch mesh skirt.

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White Lyrical costume using silver lace

In this case the a corded silver lace covers the seam between the lycra and the white sequin mesh on the upper bodice. I’ve condensed space between the motifs to give a more solid silvery effect.

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close up of back

The Spotlight lace could easily have been used here as well with a similar effect.

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back keyhole

The addition of the corded lace over the seam between the lycra and the white sequin mesh gives the impression of a more complex lace fabric overall.

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Pastel detailing

The final white costume required soft pastel colours so I thought a bit of hand painting might work well. You can see this is the same lace that was used in the first costume.

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just like colouring in

The apliques were placed on the bodice and continued around onto the back of the skirt.

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hand painted motifs added to costume

While the colours look a little bright here, under stage lights they fade to lovely soft shades.

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appliques on nude mesh

The motifs again were placed over the seam between the upper and lower bodice,

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a few rhinestones added some stronger colour points

And below is the finished costume. So you can see there are plenty of options for creating white and silver costumes.

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soft pastels with white and silver

Charcoal and Cream Contemporary

This contemporary costume is a beautiful and elegant combination of charcoal lycra and cream stretch mesh with a splash of crystal AB rhinestones.

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lots of lovely bling

The leotard was made up in charcoal lycra with a cream stretch mesh empire line skirt. The 2 colour bodice was heavily stoned using a combination of ss30, ss20, ss16 and ss10 crystal AB rhinestones.

bodice detail

bodice detail

I started with a central line of stones and then worked outwards making a random pattern that diffused towards the edges with the smallest stones.

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deep back

This costume was adapted from one of my favourite Kwiksew pattern KS 2601 which is now  unfortunately out of print. It’s so adaptable and the deep back is beautiful.

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finished costume

I do like making costumes like this that are just a little off-trend. There’s nothing like feeling a little special backstage with a costume that doesn’t look like a catalogue piece.

Blue and Fuchsia Contemporary

On a recent trip to Indonesia, my brother brought home some bright new lace for me. While it wasn’t quite what I might use on a tutu it did pique the interest of one of my clients for a new contemporary costume.

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The lace is turquoise net with fuchsia embroidery and blue sequins

The lace itself was a greenish turquoise but it blended beautifully with the royal blue lycra. On the back here I have sewn additional appliques across the top of the gathered lace and onto the waistband.

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Appliques on bodice

I decorated the crop top with appliques and rhinestones.

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all ready for the stage

 

Burgundy Contemporary costume

This costume uses a lovely combination of burgundy and wine red fabrics as well as a dusty rose sequinned lace. I love finding unusual fabrics that sing together beautifully. On the back of the skirt you can see the wine coloured lycra, burgundy skirt and dusty rose lace edge.

back detail

back detail

I used some of the motifs from centre of the lace to decorate the crop top as well as augmenting the lace with burgundy and crystal AB rhinestones.

detail

front detail

The costume was for a young dancer so a crop top was preferred over a bra top. We made the back a little fancy for her though with a strappy cross-over. The diagonally placed applique continued around the back just a little.

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back detail

 

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completed costume