Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Colour, Old Style

In May I wrote about the red skirt which seems to pop up in all official ballroom events (Intervarsity, medal tests, socials etc). I've been meaning to make another one in a different colour and my mom beat me to it recently. Turns out the pattern is fairly straight-forward. A simple tube skirt made from Lycra and six full circles inserted at regular intervals. The only terrifying thing is making sure you sew on a straight line (not my forte).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hail the Victorious Parasol

I tend to read a fair number of vampire novels in my spare time and am currently awaiting the next instalment of The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger. It is a wonderful mix of werewolves, vampires, Victorian England and Steampunk.

I'd highly recommend the series to anyone who likes British humour and some fantasy thrown into the mix.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Latin Flavour

As well as my ballgown I've been sewing a Latin outfit. The joke goes about a 1/10 of the fabric and the same amount of sparkle. After much debate I went for blue (options were lumo pink, green, red or blue). You need to be bright and sparkle for Latin, not my strong suit!

I wish I had proper photos of the inbetween steps but I changed design halfway through the process so what I started with is not at all what I ended up with.

Once again I used Swarovski Crystals from Crystal Catalyst and had to Hotfix each crystal on by hand with an applicator wand. Talk about taking forever. The sense of accomplishment when you're done is awesome, the hours prior are just painful. You can vaguely see the starburst pattern on the top and then there are crystals dotted over the whole skirt.

The skirt is two full circles, so it flares nicely when it spins and because it was sewn on the diagonal it flares more on one side than the other.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Ballgown Construction

I previously wrote that I've been working on a ballroom gown for Intervarsity. Well Intervarsity has come and gone and I can breath slightly and put up my aching feet (you try dancing in 2.5 inch heels everyday!).

I stated that I had learnt a lot while doing the project but my first major learning curve was a lack on any pattern that fitted me. I went browsing online and found this wonderful blog post: Step-by-Step Gown Construction Project but you needed a pattern. Never fear, when you can cut until it looks vaguely the same shape :)

I cut the dress out of Bon Bon Spandex, something I hadn't heard about before but has a beautiful 4 way stretch. My fuchsia/purple/pink fabric was attached to the mannequin (roughly my size) and cut to fit according to the step by step process outlined above.

The basic finished "shell" ended up looking like this. Please Note the black triangles that are added. Each is a quarter circle and makes the dress flare when you turn, looks cool, not so cool to sew.

At this point you can decorate the dress however you like. I ended up cutting out the back of the dress and adding criss-cross straps for my effect (turns out its pretty cold without material on your back) and adding lots and rhinestones and crystals from Crystal Catalyst (and a few sequinned flowers). The result...

A ballgown is not finished without wings (or whatever they are called). There are many different styles, sleeves, bits etc. Given my lack of sleeves I made three bands to slide onto my arms and attached chiffon in purple and black.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gearing up for Intervarsity 2011

Its that time of year again. I missed Intervarsity last year due to my jaunt in Europe for the YSSP but as it is my last full year as a student I'm dancing again!

Things have been a little chaotic over the last few months preparing to dance a level I've never tried before: Novice. For those non-dancers, its the first level where you can wear sparkly outfits.

Cue sewing time :)

I've been sewing frantically for the last month to create both Latin and Ballroom outfits for this Saturday. The final pieces are going to a surprise (so no final photos til then) but I've learnt a huge amount in the process. I'll post the full process when I have decent final pictures, I've been capturing the inbetween stages on my phone with its poor excuse for a camera. Sneak peek: