Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Hardest Part is Getting Started

That title applies to just about everything I do.  I procrastinate....and procrastinate some more.....

It was somewhere in the middle of May when Melissa (David's girlfriend) arrived at our house with a sewing project for me.  I have mentioned that she teaches ballet, but I haven't mentioned that she was quite an accomplished ballerina until an injury in her early twenties ended her career.  She has kept some if not all of her costumes, and was lending two of them to two of her students for the year end recital.  
One needed a little work, as the bottom half of it was a gauzy pair of wide pants, and she needed it to be a skirt to go over the top of a tutu.  The bodice part was fine, and nothing much needed changing.  We pulled out the pants and looked at them, and I got her to cut them open at the inseam.  I figured I could get three pieces out of each leg, and could join them all and make a circle that might just be big enough.  We shoved it all back in the bag while we had a visit, and then there it sat.  She visited a few more weeks, and the bag was still on the same chair as the day she brought it.  Finally, the last week before the recital on the Sunday, she asked me if she could come over and help me with the skirt.  Ha, the girl was getting worried it wouldn't be done on time!  So we pulled it out again and discussed it some more, and decided to make six petals instead to make up the skirt.

I folded each leg in thirds and made up a newspaper pattern to use up as much of the fabric as I could.  Then I got out some other material and actually cut out three petals and hand gathered them and put them together to make sure it was going to work.  It seemed like it would.

Okay, now I had a plan in my head, and was sort of excited about the project, so got going on it on the Thursday.
 I am used to sewing simple things these days, so had forgotten some little tricks.  When you are gathering something it works better to do two rows of long stitches about a 1/4" apart, and then pull one thread on each row to gather it up. I forgot about the second row and had the skirt gathered for the waist, but ended up loosening it off and adding the other row, and it was a much nicer gather.

The skirt needed a waistband.  When the girls are dancing the bodice rises, so there needs to be something to cover that bare spot.  I used some broadcloth and found some ancient interfacing, but the scraps left over from the petals were not enough to cover it.  Luckily there had been some arm pieces that went from mid upper arm and tapered to a point with a loop going around the middle finger.  There were a few slits down the length of that arm piece, but I was able to piece enough together to cover the waistband.

The inside of the bodice and the inside of the finished waistband.  See the four buttons?  There are four pieces of special elastic on the inside of the bodice, with buttonholes in it.  The buttons attach to those pieces of elastic so that the bodice gets pulled back down.  Pretty neat idea I thought!  I found some little hooks and used the sewing machine to make loops for those hooks, just like the costume maker had done.  I knew how tight the bodice needed to be, and added loops for that, and then gave three options for the waistband.

Melissa had kept on talking about these 'little' girls that were borrowing the costumes, and the costumes did seem small.  
I was picturing 6 year olds.  
I said I wanted a picture, and Melissa said she would get me a ticket for the recital.  Unfortunately it was on a Sunday and I was at the farmers market.
So all I got was a picture.

These lovely young ladies aren't quite as little as I was imagining!

And, I got the job finished on the Friday, and the recital wasn't until Sunday!! 
That is early for me 😀
I spent about 6 hours on it, which is rather a lot, but did have fun with it and was quite happy with how it turned out.  I have NOOOO thoughts of being a costume maker though, no thanks!


  1. This all sounds incredibly complicated to me but then I never learned to sew. Took a few courses but I was just not cut out for it. You managed very well though and got it done.

  2. Looks like it turned out just perfect! You are a talented seamstress! Those girls look great! :)

  3. You absolutely could be a costume maker!! You are so talented!! It turned out perfect and looks so pretty on. I love ballerinas. Aren't they beautiful. Is there anything you can't do? You are amazing!

  4. Whoa...I thought those were professionally made costumes! Fantastic. Such lucky girls to have someone stitch up new outfits from old.

    1. It was just the skirt on the left that had to be made from the pants. The bodice to that outfit and the blue outfit on the right were the originals.

  5. Thank you for sharing valuable information. Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.


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