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Friday, October 16, 2015

Color Guard and Ballet

Well, sorry I disappeared again for a few weeks. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing. I haven't finished the ballet costume yet because I paused to work on some other projects, but I have made progress on the bodice.

The spiral steel boning came by the yard, so I had to cut it into the lengths I needed. I thought I would be able to cut it with wire cutters, but that was a bust. I just ruined a pair of wire cutters. So I used my husband's Dremel with cutting wheels--it took three because they  periodically broke. I didn't have a setting tool for the end caps, either, so there was a complicated system of me holding them in place with pliers while Jon pounded them with a hammer. They didn't end up pretty, but they did hold, and let's be honest--no one is ever supposed to see them. Spiral steel boning is ideal for ballet bodices because it has lots of strength, while still being extremely flexible in all directions, so the ballerina can bend any way she needs to.

 I made the boning casing by sewing twill tape to the seam allowances rather than sewing all the way through the bodice because I like the outside of a bodice to be smooth. I sewed the ends and the edge closest to the seam first, inserted the boning, then sewed the outer edge shut.

The center front got two pieces of boning because I couldn't put one in the very center without it showing, and it needed to be balanced. The side front and side seams each just got one piece in the seam allowance closer to the front.

I hand-stitched all of the seam allowances, with or without boning, to the bodice lining so everything would lay flat, but no stitches showed to the outside.
And here's what the outside  of the bodice looks like after all of the seam allowances for the piping were also stitched down. I made the piping myself out of bias strips of the bengaline and elastic cord.

Close-up of the piping.

Side view. Notice how you can't see the boning

I have not completed the back closures yet.
I also made new flags for a local high school's color guard recently. They were intended to look like the Aurora Borealis, and the choreographer drew a sketch of what she wanted and provided me with materials. Due to budget constraints, we used old flags that were just solid iridescent fabric as the base flags (instead of buying the same material new). They were too large, so I had to cut them down and re-hem them, but I left the pole pockets intact. There were wavy stripes of white and two shades of green, and she gave me new fabric for the greens, but I had to cut up old flags for the white as well.

I was given a sketch, but no true pattern, so I had to draw that out myself. My initial design for the white piece didn't quite fit the way it was supposed to. Luckily, I checked the fit by laying out the pattern pieces on one of the re-sized flags and caught the problem before wasting any fabric. Good thing, too, because I had barely enough of the dark green and the white.

This shows where I added to the top of this curve so I could cut away from the bottom of it because it was too shallow.
I sewed the lighter green pieces on first because they are the lowest layer of the design. Then I sewed the white pieces on part way, stopping before they curved back upward. The dark green pieces went on next, followed by sewing the white pieces the rest of the way on. This allowed the white pieces to go over the light green then under the dark green on their way down the flags, then over the dark green on the way back up. Luckily, the two greens never touch each other, or I might have gone crazy. I did a little anyway because I got behind and ended up having to caffeinate myself to stay awake for about 53 hours straight in order to deliver these on time. Yikes! I think I was having mild hallucinations by the end of it. I really don't recommend keeping yourself awake that long.

But however unpleasant staying awake that long may have been, it was worth it to not let down those girls, and I think the finished product looks nice. I didn't get to see their show (because I needed to sleep for a ridiculous amount of time), but I'm told the girls performed well, and the flags looked great on the field.

Bonus: By day I am a dental assistant, and my office is currently being judged in a pumpkin decorating contest sponsored by a nearby orthodontist office. As one of the more creative employees of my office, I ended up doing the actual decorating with a lot of input from my coworkers and some help from my wonderful husband.

A little extra detail on top. There's glitter, but that doesn't show up too well in the photos.

Do yourself a favor and enlarge this photo so you can see the beautiful wire work Jon did to make the undercarriage.

"C" for Cinderella

A friend loaned me a toy horse from her kids to complete the look.

If you want to go vote for us, visit Zaytoun Orthodontics' Facebook page, find the picture they posted that shows all of the entries, and comment, "#11." Thanks!

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