Black and Red Tutu

A senior dancer wanted a strong design in red and black that could be used for both Spanish or any other strong choreography.

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bodice detail

We went with black velvet for the bodice and a dark red corded lace which I set about encrusting with rhinestones.

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plate detail

I used hyacinth AB crystals, various reds and some black rhinestones.

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Red underskirt

The top 2 layers of the skirt are black, then wine red and dark red for a brilliant flash of red.

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Flames of Paris

Most Australian eisteddfods and dance competitions don’t ask for variations but I do get a lot of requests for variation tutus from the US. Flames of Paris is very popular.

I used a Dani Legge’s peasant pas dress pattern for the bodice and attached the skirt at the high hip rather than the waist. The slightly bell shaped tutu has a layer of white and silver chantilly lace that I used as the foundation for the blue and red ribbon trimming.

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Flames of Paris

Little Red Riding Hood

Demi-character costumes scale the depth and breadth of interpretation allowing dancer’s to stretch their acting abilities. What little girl would not want to be Little Red Riding Hood? This sweet little character costume steps away from the typical but keeps Red Riding Hood’s character true.

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bodice detail

A little princess line dress with a flared skirt allows for all the ballet moves in the choreography. The corset lacing on the bodice adds a little old world charm.

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sleeve detail

Because the costume may be used for other choreography I added a little detail to the sleeves even though it may not be seen once the cape is added. The long mesh sleeves come down across the hand to give greater line.

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dress and cape

A lace edged petticoat adds a little more sweetness to the costume.

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Red in full flight
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picking flowers for Grandmother

 

 

 

1940s Bathing Beauty

This was a sweet and quirky little jazz costume that I loved making. The colours were such fun and making the little bathing cap just finished the picture.

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bodice detail

The halterneck top was adorned with lycra flowers. I sewed little Indian mirrors onto each as the flower centre. They were another find that I had stashed away for the right application.

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pants detail

The bikini pants has ruffles on the back and I added flowers there as well to continue the theme.

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1940s bikini

This was a cute and age appropriate costume for a young dancer. I completed the vintage look with a bathing cap.

bathing cap
bathing cap

And here’s an action shot of the dancer.

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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

Maleficent

A client came to me a while ago for a tutu and asked if I’d make her a Maleficent costume as well. They wanted wings that could be easily removed in the early part of the choreography. Now before you get too excited, I don’t know how to make wings and certainly not easily removable ones so I accepted the tutu job but sent them off to a costumier I knew in Bondi that does this sort of thing.

When they cam back for a tutu fitting they said they’d changed their mind about wings and could I make a costume with a removable long floaty cape. Oh yes … now that was right up my alley. Three metres of 6 momme tissue silk and a handful of magnets and here we go!

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The costumier’s friends

Anything that is removed on stage in front of an audience needs to be done deftly and silently. Velcro won’t do it and snaps need serious pull to dislodge. For quick change costumes you best friend is a magnet. I use 12mm x 2mm neodimium magnets. They have a pull of about 600g and with 6 pairs of them I figured it would be enough for 3 metres of beautiful floaty tissue silk.

covered magnets
covered magnets

The magnets had to be placed inside the black mesh of a unitard so I covered them with flesh coloured powernet and sewed them into the costume across the back of the shoulders.

magnet sewn in
magnet sewn in

My aim was to have as little fabric as possible between the north and south poles of the magnets (It’s important to get that right!) so I didn’t sew them over seams.

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magnet sewn in

Now while the magnets can be seen close up, at 5m they disappear and considering the audience is generally at 15 m they are for all intents and purposes invisible. The matching pair of the magnet was in the edge of the cape with just one layer of silk over it.

magnet in cape
magnet in cape

The magnets in the cape and across the back of the costume lined up and gave the look of a firmly fixed cape.

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magnet attachment points

The cape is 1.5 m long and 3m wide gathered and steamed onto a band the width of the back. Small magnets were also inserted into the wrist of the costume to give the impression of wings: Mission accomplished .. and NO WINGS!

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back of cape

When the cape is removed a deep low back is revealed on a black velvet unitard with gold embossing.

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deep back

Maleficent with her evil black silk cape.

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Maleficent

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.

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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.

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tracing off Emily’s size

And the costume fitted like a glove.

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costume back
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lyrical Emily