Friday, April 24, 2015

Sewing to Dance, Dancing To Sew

I do custom work.  One of my customers is Jen from The Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Arts. I've been creating or altering costumes for her for a few years.  The Dance department puts on an annual event called Quilt.  Each class has a different dance and music and costumes, and the whole thing is "patchworked" together to make a show.  I actually like the idea, and I've seen some shows. The dancers are outstanding.  Jen's dances are a combination of acrobatics and modern dance, with touches of ballroom and anything goes mixed in. Her themes are often cross-curricula.  Last year, it was based on the poem Beowulf.  The students acted as warriors and dramatized the poem, which had been studied in their English class.

This year, the students are studying the civil rights movement and Selma and Martin Luther King.  I haven't seen the dance yet, or heard the music, but I was asked to create 16 dresses that are similar to period clothes.  Jen wants to keep the fabrics darker and more dreary.  I searched through Butterick and Simplicity patterns for designs that would be similar to the period (Late 1950's, early 1960's) and work for the very physical style of dance that her students perform.  We settled on Simplicity 1459,
, Butterick 3055, B6055, Misses' Dress and Belt and Butterick 6018,
 B6018, Misses' Dress.
Keeping it to 3 designs simplifies the prep for me, as I can often layer-cut the dresses.  Some of the girls are similar in size, so that makes things a little easier.  I'm using some of the darker cotton fabrics that I sell for my friend Paul.  His shop was down the block from this school, and he's the reason I have been doing these costumes.  Using fabrics I have here helps both of us.   I'm using some homespuns and some vintage yardage, as well.

So far, I have 3 dresses done, and 2 more in progress.  I need to also make a man's vest, and find a necktie that would work for the period.

So, if you don't hear from me for a few days, I'm deep in DRESS mode!  I get them made to the point where I'll need to check fit and do alterations.  These will all have side seam zippers, so no zippers or hems have been done.  And if you want to help cut out dresses or press or stitch facings or sew a few seams, just let me know! lol.  Or just send food and chocolate, lol.   Dinner break and back to work!

Thanks for visiting!  See you soon, with more dresses done!  No quilting until these are finished!


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