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.


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.



Lilac Tutus

Last year seemed to be the year of the Lilac Fairy. Here are 6 variations on a theme.




This tutu was very pretty with pinks and mauves moving against each other in the skirt. The lilac corded lace spills onto the skirt where you can see the multiple skirt colours.


Emily’s Lilac Fairy

This tutu was embellished with silver venise lace and rhinestones. The top layer of net is sparkle tulle and it is a little shorter than the next layer to give a soft colour shift at the edges.


Lilac and white

This is a tiny little lilac fairy for a 4 year old. It is embellished with white corded lace, pearls and rhinestones.


Lilac Fairy

This Lilac Fairy was made as a RTW tutu. It uses the same lace as the first tutu but I used the selvedge to trim the plate and it gives the plate quite a different look.


White and Lilac

This tiny tutu uses the same lace as the tutu above but you can see on a white background it has a different effect. Compare it to the next tutu using the central motifs of the same lace.


another lilac fairy!




Emily is not only a talented ballerina (Apricot and Ivory Traditional tutu 8th April 2014) but a very strong and accomplished contemporary dancer. I was asked to make a Cirque de Soleil style unitard for her Spider contemporary piece. I foolishly didn’t take any photos during construction but I’ve recently received photos from backstage at the eisteddfod.


Spider unitard

The back is deep wide and open. I used a glittery black lycra for the contrast trim and a heavily sequinned motif on the front. There are long stripes on the front of the legs and underneath the arms. I designed the black shape on the back to make her look like a B&W version of the Australian red back spider.


unitard back

And what does a dancer do backstage waiting for her call? Method acting!


spider on the wall

Spanish Jacket

Black,red and gold are instantly recognised as stage-Spanish and although there are lots of other colours that can speak Spanish these 3 are always great to work with. For this young man’s jacket I’ve chosen black velveteen, light gold and yellow gold braid, red sequins and rhinestones.

spanish style jacket

do you speak Spanish?

The decoration for this jacket will be detailed stripes following the contours the panel pieces.

back chalk

chalked in designs

And then the application of three types of trim.

back braid

back braid

And also decoration on the front and back of the sleeves.



Undershirts are usually cropped and elasticated. It keeps them from riding up. Longer shirts would just become  untucked, This one is silk crepe de chine.



The epaulets were great fun to make. There were just concentric loops of braid on an ellipse. I’d actually run out of red sequins at this stage so I dug through my box of trims and found these sequinned swirls and added some rhinestones for good measure.




The details on the jacket are basically just lines but they do speak very loudly … and in Spanish! The little tassel is a touch of matador!


back detail

Initially the front of the jacket between the lines was undecorated but it needed a little something. These gold embroidered appliques were a perfect balance.

three Q profile

front detail

And the final picture with lots of red rhinestones sewn on for extra richness – Ole!














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

001 (3)

long circle skirt

I added a full circle skirt to support the choreography.

003 (2)

lovely deep back

and the Studio Cat approves


Tybalt Prince of Cats and Celtic Princess


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


Quick Change Costume – The Wedding Singer


Julia’s Quick-change costume


I received a message from a friend asking could I make a waitress costume for the Musical “The Wedding Singer” that could be changed to a wedding gown onstage in 2 seconds! Sure … I can do anything. This picture is just a bit of a teaser because I can’t put the video on this blog and you’ll have to go to my FB page so see the transformation. It was fabulous watching the costume change on stage … the audience was mesmerised. The first time I saw it in dress rehearsal the AD and I just skipped around clapping and laughing like a couple of crazy laughing clapping people!

Demi Character costume – Bird

Demi Character Costume

Demi Character Costume

This is such a fabulous part of the ballet repertoire. Amongst all the dancing dolls, Lady Macbeths and wicked fairies you occasionally get really quirky characters like this one, a bird protecting her nest. The costume was a turquoise unitard with a completely feather covered bolero that included gloves which extended the arm into a wing. Some coloured hackle pads finished off the ballet-bird look

Bird 5

Lycra unitard with feathered bolero