Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Island Girl Costume

My daughter is singing a beautiful song from the musical "Once on This Island". As I'm the only Dance Mom crazy enough not to use professional costume makers for her solos, I had to come up with a costume pretty fast. She changed her mind on her song a few weeks before the competition.

I Googled images for costumes from the show and other Islander styles for inspiration, and came up with Butterick 4889 as a starting point. The pattern only came in Misses sizes, and I thought XS would be ok, but there is so much design ease built in that I took 1" out of the raglan sleeves and another 1" from centre front and back foldline, taking 6" out altogether, and there's still plenty of room for her to dance in!
I bought this pattern before she had completed the dance, and thought I could use the gypsy skirt as a base for a more island style tiered skirt. Then she got to learning the end of the dance, and that involves acrobatic moves including cartwheels and walkovers. A long flowy skirt is not going to work with that choreography, so I needed a quick Plan B. I tried to manipulate the pattern, but it was too messy for me, so I bought Kwik Sew 3698 which came together really well. The yoke was longer, but her teacher wanted the skirt a tad shorter for dancing, so I shortened it 1".

Then there was the issue of modesty! Again, being new to costume making, I hadn't thought about underthings, so my little brain was working overtime again. I decided on Jalie 2105 as it is a leotard with raglan sleeves, which would help keep the top in place as she dances. I made it in a green one-way stretch lycra (1-way stretch is not ideal but the colour matched beautifully) for bottom half and a sheer lycra for the top.

Had I read the reviews of this pattern more closely, I would have known that the leotard was very high cut (think 80's aerobics!), and that the elastic guide was not quite right. Instead, I had to find out the hard way. So I made a snap decision to use the bottom of Kwik Sew 2679 which I knew fitted her very well. I didn't really have the time to muck about with pattern work.

Then is was just a matter of shortening the sleeves of the leotard and tacking the midriff top to the leotard around the neckline and at the waist to keep it in place. I had planned for it to sit across the shoulders, but she didn't like the feel of that, so it just sits around a wide neckline. Finally, a bit if bling!


  1. That is a lovely costume. Your daughter look great in it - such a vibrant colour and pattern.

  2. Leonie, lovely outfit. Good luck to your DD in the eisteddfords.

    Good on you for sewing your DD's dance outfits. Reading your March list brought back many memories of all the outfits I made over the18 year period my DD (now 30 - she competed the same categories) danced.