Friday, May 30, 2014

Firebird: Part the First

One of the more daunting projects I have been tasked to complete for the studio's recital is the transformation of a drastically normal black Sansha rehearsal tutu (with a serious case of the chicken butt) in to a Firebird soloist costume.
If I was doing it with no limitations I would probably dag the netting and taper it back from a shorter poofy front to a longer and more sleek "tail" at the back. But, these suckers are spendy and we need to be able to rip it down and refashion it next year.
So far I have just about figured out what I am doing with it. Here is a progress shot. Not that it is in anything like finished condition, here. For one thing there will not be any weird gaps in the flame-y fabric overlay, and the wonky bit at the back will hopefully evolve in to more of a tail-like thing as I go. The extra bunchy stuff at the waist will be tacked and folded over to create a short layer of points that "float" with the dancer's movement.

Right now my problems are: A) this is going to require a curved needle to implement and in all these damn packages of needles I seem to have there is not a single curved one to be found (they are STUPID hard to come by, I think I have owned two in the past fifteen years. There was a near-sacred one in my mom's sewing tool box when I was a kid. I used to be utterly fascinated by it, as well as the electric shears that she steadfastly refused to part with but never actually used), and B) in the perfect world I would be working on this while it was on a pants form, or dress form with legs. As I do not own one (so sad) I am going to have to put it on and attempt to sew it WHILE I am wearing it (I will have to put in on backwards to do the butt!). This is only an issue because the panty part of this sucker is stretchy, so you just pull it on over your hips rather than hooking it together down the back. I wouldn't even bother if I was certain exactly how big the girl wearing it will be, but as it is I have to allow some stretch and wiggle-room so it's gotta be done while the skirt is held taught. I think I am going to have to borrow a bar stool and sit on that while I work, because sitting on the floor is already getting pretty tiresome!
Okay. I am done rambling, now. In my own defense my two glorious hours of sleep last night are being buoyed entirely by sugar and caffeine right now. I think I will go lay down and hope for the best before I try to work on something and just screw it up royally.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

RIP Tiny Silver Toyota

So, after class tonight I picked up a bunch more recital costumes to work on and hit the road. About a half mile from the studio my car suddenly self-destructed. Not a huge surprise as it is 15 years old and had been handling really badly for a while now (the... whoziwhatsit broke. The thingy. Wossname. Sticky-outy bit that makes the wheel attach to the car. That thing.). It was completely seized up, I couldn't even move the gear shift out of park. So, anyway. I do not have road-side assistance, but my husband does, so I called him to come (thank god we recently bought a second car) and call me a tow truck. And I am standing there by the side of the freeway like a transient wearing pink tights and a sweat-soaked leotard. Such a good look. And then IT STARTS RAINING. Because obviously someone said "it could be worse!"
When my hubs and the tow arrived I drove our second car home and my husband pretended he had been driving the busted car so AAA wouldn't argue about it.
"OF COURSE." He said. "Obviously I was driving the car with the giant freakin' tutu in the front seat. I see nothing strange about that.
"And the ballerina purse is totally mine, too."

Sunday, May 18, 2014

the Purple Tutu

Still working on recital costume repair/alteration/etc.
You see this tutu?
This tutu makes me sad. It's not constructed badly. It's made from a pretty standard pattern. There is a full underlining/flat lining. The basque and bodice are separate pieces. It's all as it should be. But the materials they chose to make it out of? They are awful. The acetate satin is bad but forgivable. But that skirt, regardless of the fact that it is constructed exactly the way a classical tutu should be constructed, is made with such limp and lifeless tulle (that has then been washed a hundred times, probably) that it just sort of... droops. It makes me sad because someone must have put so much time and effort in to it, and the result is so... just... sigh...
Oh, and it was closed all the way down the back with velcro. I don't know if you have ever accidentally caught tulle (or lace, or your pantyhose, or that beautiful silk chiffon blouse you just made...) on the scratchy side of a piece of velcro, but it's insanity. I couldn't even wear my wrist braces while working on this thing because the tiny edges of velcro that hold them closed kept catching on the tulle and shredding it. As you can imagine, the velcro closure has done horrible things down the back of this little guy.
My seamstress's heart. It aches for you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

An Ode to Vintage Ballet Photography

Modern dance photography is all about captured movement. Graceful arabesques, dramatic leaps, and that fraction of a second when a dancer is perched just so on the front edge of her pointe shoe platform. Photography meant to inspire and thrill. To make you feel like you have seen a dance, not a photo. Dare I say it? This sort of fabulousness is ... well. Not really all that attainable for most of us.

But Oh! for the days of classic ballet photography! Where a dancer could simply stand in her gloriously ornate costume and still cause a stirring in your heart:

Ornate and GIGANTIC. Did I mention gigantic?
How many modern dancers have even 
worn a costume big enough that you can't
get through the door?
I ask you.

Or better yet: lean subtly against the wall. Cuz mama don't need to be supporting her own weight for this whooooole dang long exposure. Walls were invented for a reason, right? Use 'em.

Look, if Margot Fonteyn can lean subtly against a wall then so can I.
Or. You know. Not so subtly:

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

today on pinterest:

Hmmm. I suppose so. In that nothing makes any sense and you mostly just feel awkward.
Or maybe that's just me.

I also found this one, though. This one I can relate to: