This dance year I started working with Kaci. I don’t normally teach at Kaci’s studio, but I subbed one time and ended up working with her on a solo. She’s 8 so her and her mom are relatively new to competitive dance so when I told them to “just get a standard 8 year old lyrical solo costume and rhinestone it”, they looked at me like I had multiple heads.
We looked online for basic tops and skirts, but surprisingly, we couldn’t find the same brand with the same color with the same size on both top and skirt. Frustrating.
I figured, hey, I bet I can make a costume. One time I sewed a leotard and it turned out okay.
I wish I would have more closely documented step by step, but I didn’t. So here is me recalling how I made a costume, without a pattern or significant sewing experience, that turned out pretty good. Here’s what I would and wouldn’t do again.
What I Would Do Again
Make a Bandeau Top
I initially set out to make a halter top. Bad idea. I started cutting triangles with the intention of sewing them together with intricate straps on the back, but quickly realized my material was kind of thin, my triangles not perfect, and oh yeah, I’m not a seamstress.
After some thought and help from my crafty friend Anne, I decided to tackle a simple bandeau top. All I did was fold the material in half (shiny part facing out), pinned, and sewed along a line. I then flipped it inside out and essentially had a tube of material which I would later sew together. This was so easy and honestly looked great on her. I sewed straight back straps and voila. Top done.
If you find yourself needing to create a dance top, I really recommend starting with a bandeau. Not only is it secure, but you can do a lot of things with it. Attaching straps, adding embellishment, adding a rhinestoned pattern are all things that don’t require much sewing expertise.
I have to give my soloist and myself some credit here. The dramatic colors of this costume are awesome. The blue and purple complement each other while popping against the white. This was a win.
Add an Inch to Everything
I took Kaci’s measurements, but when it was time to make the pieces, I got nervous and ended up adding about an inch to everything. This was actually perfect since, again, I’m not a seamstress and ended up making a couple errors.
What I Wouldn’t Do Again
The skirt looks okay when she’s dancing, but let me tell you–it is NOT pretty from the inside (wish I could show you, but its no longer in my hands). I started with a waistband and then tried to sew the skirt flaps on. This did not work for me at all. When I tried to sew the top length of the flap onto the front and back of the waistband, the material pulled like crazy. Then I thought I could hand-sew it, but let’s be real. One badly timed roll on the floor could leave her ripping off her skirt on stage.
I ended up vertically stitching the flaps at 4 places. If you’re looking at this skirt like you would step into it, it looks makeshift, but from the outside, it looks okay. I ended up adding rhinestones to each stitch so you wouldn’t be able to see them from the outside.
If I had to do this again, I would probably take one large piece of material, sew the top around a thick band of elastic then sew it all the way down to make a tube. Then I’d slit it on the sides.
I think my demise came because a skirt seems so easy to make. All it is is some flaps that connect to a band, right? Wrong.
Above is my finished product! Super proud (of myself) dance teacher.
I probably won’t be creating any more costumes in the future. While it was a good experience, the entire shopping, cutting, sewing, rhinestoning process took over 8 hours, but I certainly have a new-found respect for all the seamstresses and dance moms that create costumes.
I hope you found this somewhat interesting. As I mentioned, this costume turned out well and Kaci really likes it. Can’t wait to see her hit the stage this weekend!