I do love requests like this one. I was asked to make a pink and gold “apprentice fairy” costume with golden wings. The client and I decided on an upside down tutu, with the shortest layers at the top, in a multitude of pinks. Here’s what I came up with.
and to give a ballet feel to the costume we added little pink arm frills with gold venise lace to match the bodice.
The wings were made from gold stiff net covered with fine gold glitter tulle. I used a little more venise lace to tie all the costume elements together.
I added a little pink dew drop tiara.
The sweet little fairy looked so gorgeous on the back steps in my garden.
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 ow 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!
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.
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
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.
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
The magnets in the cape and across the back of the costume lined up and gave the look of a firmly fixed cape.
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!
back of cape
When the cape is removed a deep low back is revealed on a black velvet unitard with gold embossing.
Maleficent with her evil black silk cape.
This time of year I am extremely busy with costumes (hence so few posts at the moment sorry) and it’s sad when I have to turn people away. Although this costume request came in very late I had a postponement so I managed to squeeze this little temple dancer in.
The costume is based loosely on an Indian choli and lehenga skirt. It was a great opportunity to dig out lots of rhinestones and jewelry findings.
I cut the very centre from an applique to give a nice shape to the deep V neckline. That’s it sitting at the bottom of the applique. The next step was my favourite … bling time!
Traditionally the choli has a scoop neck and set in sleeves but we decided to tweak that and give an off the shoulder look and a deep V neckline by making the top of the choli from flesh mesh.
I didn’t have quite enough venise lace to go all the way around the top of the bodice so I sneaked in a few earring findings that I’d blinged up.
and a few on the back of the bodice and skirt too
The costume came together beautifully and will be in the post tomorrow to make its way to Victoria.
and of course an ornate tiara to finish everything off.
Heavily ornamented headpiece
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
Lycra unitard with feathered bolero