Sunday, 19 February 2012

The Enchanted Mirror (a dressmaking marathon)

I said I had been quite busy recently, so wanted to give a little peek at what i've been up to the last couple of weeks...

My friend Robyn runs the Sussex Youth Ballet Company (you might remember this from last year) and so I have been lending my sewing hands again for some costume making!

This year's show is called the enchanted mirror and my costume assignments were 4 small dresses, 1 big dress and 3 blouses. It sounds like quite a few things, but dresses are my favourite thing to make, and Robyn chose such sweet fabrics that this has been a really lovely project for me.

Last week I sewed all the dresses in one (long) day! A very productive day indeed - and very much worth it as it meant they were ready for the rehearsal the next day, and I was so pleased to see the children dancing in them.

This week I had a couple of days off and spent some good productive hours making the blouses and some adjustments and decorations to the dresses. It didn't sound like much to do, but it is amazing how many small tasks present themselves when you think you're almost finished.

I wish that i had taken more work in progress photos - but it was quite a busy time for me. But here are the items piling up as i finished them... I am really proud of them all.

(To help you understand a little bit - they are all the character costumes for the first scene, when the characters are still in their real world identities ...)

 first here is the lilac blouse - i think it's for the aunt. i am really pleased with my pin tucks and frills on this one. they're such a simple detail but really effective i think. You can also see the puff on the sleeve which was a new pattern cutting technique i learnt along the way - i am so pleased with the shape of them.

 this is one of the small dresses - this was my favourite fabric

 this dress is for the princess - i was a little bit worried about making it pretty enough because the colour was quite hard to match ribbons with, but also because this is for one of the older girls, i didn't want to make it too frilly. i was pleased when i found some lace and velvet ribbon that was just right.

 This blouse is for the sorceress character so it couldn't be too pretty, but i felt a little bit of detail was necessary and pleased that it turned out well. 

 another small dress - this is for one of the Molly girls (there are two of them - one for the evening and one for the matinee) she is one of the main characters and it just happened to work out that there was enough fabric to give her a fuller skirt - perfect as she has much more dancing to do than the other little ones.

 this one is the littlest dress! i just love holding it up and seeing how small it is - such a delight

 and this is the biggest of the small dresses. I added a little bit of broderie anglaise for length and it really looked delightful when it was all done.

 the cream blouse for the mother in the story. I made a mistake thinking this was a white blouse and buying white lace for it! but i don't think it was too disasterous a mishap.

I am really feeling triumphant and took them to the final rehearsal this afternoon and everything fitted a treat and looked lovely. I think the dancers were pleased too which is really what matters.

I really enjoyed myself with these this year. It was great pattern cutting practice for me as gave me the chance to draw some patterns for different sizes and styles - i have learnt how to add a puff to a sleeve, and draw a stand up collar. And of course, there was a lot of dressmaking practise too! I felt much more confident this year and think i have much more got the hang of remembering that these are stage costumes, and not clothes. It makes quite a difference to the way of putting things together - not having to worry about finishings quite so much as normal. I even glued on some buttons - (it felt so wrong) and everything does up with velcro - i don't know why i don't use this more often!!

The show is next Sunday, 26th February. You should come!

Yours all dressed up,
Emilia. xx


d e b b i e said...

Emily, these are incredible!
You HAVE been busy! Good skills dear xx

Catherine Clarke said...

I could learn soo much from you!! Your amazing cous! x