The last of the dancewear – Jalie Patterns to the rescue


I know that most are not particularly interested in dancewear. However as it’s a blog about my sewing, I’m blogging about it as it was a sewing tangent I decided to disappear down for a while for my daughter.

This will be the last of the dancewear posts for a long time – I am burnt out from sewing dancewear and attending about 48 hours of dance eisteddfod in two weeks… this is in addition to my full-time job. Most of her dancing was at night and on weekends, convenient yes, exhausting most certainly.

Sewing the tutu made me realise I needed to have more confidence and that I perhaps could sew my daughter’s eisteddfod (competition) costumes. I’ve always lacked the confidence (and interest) to give it a go before!

So I took a deep breath and away I went.

None of these were particularly difficult but thank goodness I have an overlocker!

The Jazz Oufit

This outfit has based around the rather sparkly and floral lycra that we found together on a Cabramatta shopping trip with Susan of Measure Twice, Cut Once (thanks Susan!).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

While it looks quite complex, in reality it wasn’t. The most fiddly past being the attachment of the v-neck band and the chevron seams on the sleeves. The pattern is a Jalie pattern – a cheerleading one – called Anne (No. 3466).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

The silver stripes are first appliqued onto one of the main fabric pieces and then the other edge is captured in the garment seam. Jalie has you simply stitch it down with a raw edge. I thought it would look rather shoddy. So I added a 1/4 seam allowance, turned this under with Wonder Tape and then used honeycomb stitch to applique it to the edge – I got this idea from a sewing lunch – sitting next to Sue (who was wearing a Jalie cardigan from memory) and admiring and discussing her honeycomb hem stitch choice!

It was fun to sew. And age appropriate. Some of the things people let their children wear on stage is just frightening.

The Contemporary Outfit

This was a mutual design job between Zoe and myself, she showed me some outfits she liked and away we went. She wanted a vivid blue and chose electric blue stretch velvet. We were fortunate to find a matching corded blue lace on sale. I bought 1.5m for about $15 – usually would have cost over $50!

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

We used Jalie Gym Shorts & Crop Tops pattern No. 3247.

I underlined the front of the top with plain blue lycra. I added a seam allowance to the neckline and arm holes as I didn’t like the fold-over elastic finish. I simply used elastic and a zigzag stitch. Worked perfectly. I also added a fabric band to the bottom of the crop top to lengthen it a little.

The neckline embellishment is simply a ‘bling’ necklace from my collection of accessories. It originally cost me $5 – it’s no great loss and works perfectly here! I simply sewed it to the neckline and it really gave the outfit a lift on stage

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a handkerchief lace circle skirt

The lace skirt was 1.5m square so I simply cut a circle in the centre, larger than her waist and gather it into the waistband seam of the shorts. I left it square to achieve the ‘handkerchief’ hem effect.

Due to the weight of the lace, I threaded some thick elastic through the waistband so there were no ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ on stage.

Third place

Third place

She wore this for her ‘own choreography’ item in the ‘open’ section and she came third!

The Demi Character Outfit

This one I love. Incredibly simple yet she looks so striking on stage. She needed a ‘jewel thief’ outfit so this is what we came up with.

Zoe dressed as a 'Jewel Thief' in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves.

Zoe dressed as a ‘Jewel Thief’ in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves. Yes, she needs new shoes! No time to break a new pair in before this event unfortunately!

The ballet unitard pattern from (you guessed it) Jalie, No. 2105. Sewn in plain black shiny lycra with stretch lace sleeves. The front is lined to the waist with the same black lycra. The neckline is turned under with black elastic and stitched with my coverstitch machine.

The lace mask came from a local sewing dancewear fabric shops that stocks costumes. It cost $5.

Thoughts

And there you have it. From no dancewear to a tutu and three dancing outfits! It can be done! Jalie patterns have a huge range on offer and can be easily modified. You are just limited by your imagination.

Everyone asks – does she want to be a ‘dancer’. No not really. She’s quite ambitious and wants more than to dance from life. However, she LOVES to dance. So I support her – some kids play hockey, soccer, netball or football… my daughter dances. It’s no different and this has been a lovely project to work on together (although sometimes stressful for me!).

She danced well… she danced a lot… she got some places and some highly commended ribbons. A big achievement considering she is dancing in ‘open’ when she should be in ‘novice’ – her teacher convinced her to dance up at a higher level. It was much tougher but she was a trouper and pleased with her achievements. For her, she simply likes to dance as well as she can. Places are nice but not necessary.

One of the backstage volunteers commended her on her friendliness and manners towards other competitors – it can be unpleasant or unwelcoming backstage at times as some of the competitors can be fierce. I guess everyone deals with these things in different ways. I am proud of how Zoe deals with it. With a smile.

No more dancewear for a long time I promise – back to selfish sewing!

Thanks for bearing with me through this little sewing tangent.

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35 thoughts on “The last of the dancewear – Jalie Patterns to the rescue

  1. All the outfits look amazing and each one tells the story of her dance so well. I know it was stressful but the results are really outstanding for you and her!

  2. Kudos to you and your skills and you and Zoe’s design skills too. One of the most rewarding things as a mother is for others to comment about the lovely manners and friendliness your child has.

    • Thanks so much, it’s been a fun thing to share with her – as a non-dance mum it’s been a way to be involved. I know it’s not an area that’s of huge interest to many BUT I’ve learnt a lot about thinking ‘outside the box’ and re-imagining basic patterns as something else. I’m so glad I gave it a go… Mind you she has two tutus for me to sew now!
      She’s a great kid, the fact she is dedicated to her love of dance and nice about it is inspiring enough to support the crazy hours and money it eats up. Not everyone finds their passion in life, that’s a blessing in itself.

  3. I love this sewing tangent! My mom used to sew small things for our dance studio and this takes me back to my childhood. She mostly stuck to making the little kids shoe bows rather than costumes, after an exhausting adventure making 12 matching cowgirl costumes. Your daughter looks so happy in what you’ve made and you’ve given her lasting memories with this venture. Also, she has excellent technique! I encourage her to stick with dance as a way of exercise through her life, even if it’s of competitive.

  4. What we will do for our children! You and Zoe will always cherish the memories. God job Mom!

    My family’s personal best? The Medieval Festival. I sewed the costume, my husband and son made a hefty wooden sword, handhold wrapped with leather. (He still has it at 34!) My son and I baked rustic (!) bread for the feast.

    It doesn’t get much better than that!

    • It is these crazy things that bond us together and create unique memories. Everyone stresses about ‘the wedding’ however there are so many moments in life, wedding or not, that make the magic!

  5. No apologies necessary, I’ve loved reading about the dance wear. It’s fantastic that your daughter has this passion, but also a balanced view of her career. It will serve her well and you must be super proud!

  6. I may not be interested in sewing dance costumes myself, but I’ve loved reading about your adventures! Well done to both you and your daughter!

  7. Your dance costumes were one of the things that attracted me to your blog. I make ballroom dance costumes for myself and others and I am always looking for techniques and inspiration. Sewing for dance is quite different than apparel sewing and it is very hard to find much information about it, actually. You did a great job on your daughters costumes and I hope to see them again in the future.

  8. What a mother’s love will lead her to do! All of these outfits are lovely, and like you, I really love the jewel thief outfit. Genuis! I know all about what a mother will do for her daughter. My mother made my wedding dress and hand sewed yard of seed pearls for my special day. I can assure you that your daughter will never forget it! I am impressed, Lizzy.

  9. As someone who is a dancer in her head, I loved these last few posts. It’s also great you could share her love her dance with her through your sewing. And, that you could work together on outfits.

  10. I’ve loved reading about your dancewear sewing! As a former dancer, I would love to have a reason to sew a gorgeous tutu like the one you made. The competition outfits are so fun. Thank you for sharing!

  11. What an accomplishment for both of you! I absolutely love her outfits and her poses with the outfits – Jalie I’m sure will REALLY appreciate seeing these photos of their work too 🙂 Gorgeous feast for the eyes. THank you for sharing. I love Jalie too – well drafted and great quality! I remember my mom making me a performance outfit when I was about her age and it certainly didn’t come out as nice as any of these I can tell you that!! And working a full time job too? You must find the rest of the world peopled with slugs 🙂

  12. I’ve Loved seeing your dancewear posts, and hope to see more in the future. My mom made me performance costumes, and those are very special memories…as I’m sure they’ll be for Zoe. Congrats to you for going the extra mile and creating those beautiful outfits.

  13. What a lucky girl! I stopped dancing at age 12 but I had my fair share of ill-fitting attire before then which were one of several factors that led to me exiting that world. Your gorgeous creations have undoubtedly contributed to your daughter’s confidence and poise although she clearly has much of both on her own. Please keep sharing your dance sewing!

  14. So amazing! You must be a very proud mamma, both of her achievements and her attitude. And she must be the envy of all her dance friends – bespoke costumes, on demand. What a team!

  15. I think the dance mums who can only do hair and make-up are going to be very jealous of these beautiful costumes, Great fun to be able to design them together. I think you daughter looks just fabulous. Flattered the discussion about honeycomb stitch was useful. 🙂

  16. As a mom of a cosplay kid, a dancer, a volleyball player and jujitsu (4 kids total), I love this tangent! I love diversity in sewing and the blogs I follow. Keep on keepin on!

  17. Sew…. Happy for you! It is hard to achieve a professional result using stretch fabric sometimes – but I think you have achieved it in these beautiful costumes! So impressed with your sewing techniques and different ideas you use in your sewing projects. An inspiration for others!

  18. A wonderful achievement, and you are such a good role model for Zoe – it won’t be long before she’s wanting to sew her own dance costumes (hopefully!). Every one of these is delightful, and, as you say, certificates don’t matter, success comes in many forms.

  19. Every costume was beautiful. You can be proud of them, and your daughter who looks beautiful. Don’t be concerned about dance posts – I have enjoyed them, and there is something to be learned in every aspect of sewing.

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