Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making Skating Costumes

When I'm not knitting, binding books, or blogging I am usually out on the ice practicing ice dancing.  Last year I competed for the first time at the US Figure Skating Adult National Championships with my ice dancing partner.  This year we competed at the sectionals competition in Cleveland in early March, and are getting ready for Adult Nationals again in April.  I needed a new competition dress (or two) this year, but they are expensive and difficult to find locally.  So, I did like any good crafter and made the costumes myself!

Old wrap skirt I used as a pattern
For the competition I need one outfit for the choreographed free dance with my partner, and a second outfit for the pattern dances with my partner and my solo pattern dances.  I decided to use part of an old costume for the free dance and make a wrap skirt to go over it.  For the pattern dances I made another wrap skirt and bought a plain leotard to go with it.  I actually got enough fabric for two different wrap skirts to go with the plain leotard.

Cutting out the fabric
I bought fabric and flat back rhinestones from Carol's Fabric Shop in Brunswick, OH.  It is a tiny fabric store that carries tons of stretchy dance and skating fabrics, and is the only store in the Cleveland area with a decent selection of skating fabric.  I based my new skirts off an old wrap skirt I had from my old synchronized skating team practice uniform.  I needed the skirts to be "dance length" which means to the knee- so I had to add some length compared to the old skirt.

Once I had everything cut out, I went to my sewing machine and did a lettuce edge for the hem.  That is when the material has a wavy, curly edge instead of a normal hem.  It is a simple and attractive hem for stretchy fabric.  Basically all you do is stretch the fabric while sewing a dense zig-zag stitch.  Then I took a long strip of fabric and sewed it to the top for the waistband.  The waistband needed to have extra length so it could wrap around my waist and tie together on one side.

Finally, I took the leotard and glued on a line of rhinestones.  This was my first time stoning a dress, and I think it went rather well.  Only one minor glue spot on the fabric.  However, next time I would not put the stones over the elastic edge.  I accidentally killed most of the stretch on the neckline because of how many stones I added.  Before the next competition I plan to add another row of smaller stones below the bigger ones.  I am also planning on sewing the third skirt- a black fabric with a wavy, glittery pattern of blue and white dots.

The whole ordeal still ended up costing around $125, but I now have three different outfits I can use for skating competitions.  By comparison, one off-the-rack skating dress without stones could have easily run me $200 or more.  Hooray for being able to do-it-yourself!

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