Sunday, March 17, 2013

Orange & Black Dancers (Design & Skirts)

So I dance rapper dance-it's a Northern English traditional dance involving stepping, swords, and teamwork-see Sheffield Steel Rapper dance here. As we're a new team, we needed to think about our costume. I got elected kitmistress and set out to outfit 6 dancers, 2 musicians, and 1 musician/tommy.

That's right, those skirts you see moving there? I sewed them.

Traditionally rapper dance costumes are shorts, knee socks, and sashes but we wanted skirts because, well, we're an all-women's team so why not. With practicality in mind, I knew skirts would be of knit fabric so I sketched out a few croquis ideas. A simple circle skirt base (#1), a wildcard with asymmetry and attached sash (#2), and one with a panel mimicking a sash (#3)

And the first one won. It's a triple circle skirt in reality: full circle overskirt, orange half circle skirt layer with a 1/4 circle lining to prevent riding up and sticking to tights. Each layer is a different length to allow for peeks of color. The waistband allowed for the pop of color and the whole thing is one piece. It's super easy to pull this skirt on and off and the knit allows for weight changes without any worry. The all cotton jersey I sourced makes the whole thing machine washable and it doesn't crease even when shoved into a tiny bag. All in all, extremely portable and versatile. I hoped, as kitmistress, that once I sewed them up, I'd basically not have to worry about them ever again.

And indeed, that has borne out!  
looking good after lunch-we're standing basically still-only peeks of orange at the bottom
still looking good after a day of wear!-depending on movement more or less orange showing

So construction details?
The lining is cut out, the one seam sewed with a small tag with dancer's initials and hemmed via narrow hemming foot.The orange layer is cut out, one seam sewed shut and hemmed via narrow hemming foot. The black layer is cut out in one piece and hemmed via narrow hemming foot. These three layers are zig zagged together. Waistband elastic is sew into a circle. Orange fabric cut in two rectangles that are joined. The orange is wrapped around waistband elastic stitched as closely as possible via zipper foot. This is attached to the skirt itself via some more close stitching via the zipper foot. So the insides are nothing pretty but I left them intentionally raw so that modifications are nice and easy.

in action the orange is very striking!
I am proud that despite sewing 6 in a single week and the very centrifugal forces that act upon our skirts during our spin there is not a popped seam to be found!

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