Friday, July 26, 2013

Dance Leotard

Annabeth only had one leotard for dance classes this past year.  When we signed her up for the dance intensive we decided we needed another so that the laundry didn't get too crazy.

We asked one of the teachers, and she said that it was okay to have a solid color that wasn't black.  Annabeth decided she wanted bright red.  She chose fabric from JoAnn Fabrics swim-and-dance knits section.

I considered getting a Kwik Sew pattern to make the leotard, having browsed their catalog online, but when I went to JoAnn Fabrics they had a very skimpy collection of Kwik Sew patterns (I've since figured out that Hancock Fabrics keeps more of the Kwik Sew patterns in stock, so if I'd gone there I might have had better luck).  I ended up ordering a Jalie pattern, #2792.

By the time the pattern arrived at our house we were on a compressed time frame to get the leotard done.  I traced view B.  Annabeth's girth is a size P, but her width is a smaller size.  I decided to make it narrower by laying the front and back a bit over the fold of the fabric -- not the best way to alter, but spandex on a skinny kid is forgiving of fitting quirks.  As I worked I realized that the pattern has enough negative ease that I could've just made a straight size P without fiddling with trying to make it even smaller.

The biggest problem I had with the pattern was attaching the bands around the neck and the back.  When I read that I should baste them I assumed I needed to use a long straight stitch, so I kept sewing in little wrinkles at every straight pin.  I tried to fix that by putting in even MORE straight pins, figuring ... well, I don't know why I thought that would help.  It didn't -- I just ended up with more wrinkles.  Eventually I caught on that I needed to baste the bands on with a wide zigzag.  It's moments like this that I know I'm not a very advanced seamstress, you know?

I got it all sewed up, having attached the bands, picked the bands back off, re-attached them, etc., and Annabeth tried it on.  Oh, oops, the fabric was way too sheer.  But, aha, I had purchased extra fabric.  I cut out a new front and back, took those off of the yoke, and sewed them back together (noticing that I had forgotten to tweak how I laid it on the fold line, so the lining was bigger than the outer shell, but I just whacked off any extra because at this point we were on Day 1 of the dance intensive).  I simply held the lining plus shell together, zigzagged around the edges to baste them together, then treated them as one piece.  I left off the crotch lining piece, figuring we had enough layers, flipping the seams so the crotch seam is totally incased by the lining.

I left the yoke a single layer.

If you look closely you can see some of the zigzag basting showing on the main body just underneath  the yoke.  I try not to think about it.

The back hook is sort of mashed into place in a very inelegant way.  By the time I got to that bit I was DONE with this project -- she needed it right away, plus I had a boatload of Shakespeare costumes to make.  It's workable, but could be much nicer.

Actually, "workable but could be much nicer" is sort of a summary of the project.  It's a simple pattern, assuming you don't make the sorts of mistakes I did.  It looks nice when complete, fits comfortably, she's very happy with it, the other dancers liked it and asked if they could have one (no, I"m not going into business).

I've already used the pattern again to morph into a swimsuit.  More about that in a future post.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Summer Camps

We scaled back a bit on the summer camps this year.  We wanted to have time to sleep in, read books, just hang out, maybe even be bored.

Thalia started the summer with Choir Tour, which involves her choir traveling for a week, singing at various locations.  This year they headed north to Michigan and Wisconsin.

At the end of June she had the 2 week Shakespeare camp, which involved putting on As You LIke It.

Right now she's in the Dominican Republic on a mission trip.

Annabeth attended a one week dance intensive.  They worked on ballet, modern, and aerial silks.  I"m pretty sure the silks were her favorite part of the entire affair.

After that she switched over to the Shakespeare camp, attending the second week of that.

And, that's it.

Well, Annabeth is taking private ballet lessons once per week.  And rehearsing once a week for a ballet performance that will take place in November.  But other than that we're footloose and fancy free.  Woohoo!

Monday, July 15, 2013

As You LIke It

The kids attended Shakespeare camp in June, and put on As You Like it on June 29th.  This is a random sampling of photos.

Thalia (to the left) was Rosalind, which is a whacking huge part to learn within 2 weeks.  She was amazing. Both are wearing new costumes made by me during the camp; Celia is wearing one I made last year.

Annabeth was Touchstone(to the right -- that's Thalia again to the left).  I have no idea what she was doing in the above photo, but we were all quite charmed with it, particularly her facial expression which is visible if you click on the picture to enlarge.

She was peeved about getting the role of Touchstone, but spent her time figuring out who to emulate from the list of British actors she admires.  She sort of wanted to do it in the style of Tom Hiddleston's Loki.

I was quite fond of  watching Phoebe chasing Silvius around with a broom. I made both their costumes, too. Also, a new shirt for Oliver and a vest for Amien, plus pants for Duke Frederick, and some other things I can't recall. I hope we eventually get to the point of having enough clothing for this thing, because all this speed sewing is getting old.
"And I for no man!"

Thalia spent most of the Friday evening before the performance nailing down the epilogue.  Again, Rosalind is a crazy huge part to learn on short notice. Skirt from Scarlet Pimpernel last March.

Final bow.

And I planned to then take picture from the other side of the audience during the second performance, having spent the first performance noting things I really, really wanted to get shots of.  Except it started POURING down rain during the first act.  Alas, we didn't even make it to Jacques speech (All the world's a stage).  It really, really sucked, after all that work.  The kids struck set in the rain, and then a bunch came to our house for a cast party (that semmed about 50/50 cast and other random people).

So, probably their best play yet, but the most distressing performance due to weather.