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Thread: Dress Maker

  1. #1
    On the Ice
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    Dress Maker

    Hi All,

    Well, the virus seems to have infected my skater's dress that we ordered from Light in the Box 3 months ago. Looking like we'll never get it now. She's looked at everything she can find on line and isn't satisfied (or, the ones she likes also come from China).

    I have a lead on a dressmaker/seamstress who does all the costuming for her ballet school and studio company, but what does one show them or provide them as an example of what you're after? I don't think there are patterns, do you just show photos? I know at Sharene Designs all are copyrighted, so I don't know about those. I thought some of those were nice, and not terribly expensive, but no, not so for skater, met with meh.

    Any advice on patterns, designs etc, and also any info on any other (affordable) dress designers online would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    On the Ice WednesdayMarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sibelius View Post
    I have a lead on a dressmaker/seamstress who does all the costuming for her ballet school and studio company, but what does one show them or provide them as an example of what you're after? I don't think there are patterns, do you just show photos? I know at Sharene Designs all are copyrighted, so I don't know about those. I thought some of those were nice, and not terribly expensive, but no, not so for skater, met with meh.

    Any advice on patterns, designs etc, and also any info on any other (affordable) dress designers online would be appreciated.
    Dressmakers/seamstresses are quite used to taking fairly nebulous ideas and statements of desire and transforming them into "the dress of dreams". I frequently do this for brides who don't want "normal" bridal wear. Just have a chat. Showing photos and/or drawings is really, really helpful. (Makes it much easier than just being given a piece of music and having to do all the research yourself, which is my current situation...) Pattern-wise, lots of people use Jalie for the basic designs and adapt them from there.

    http://www.jalie.com

    Good luck! I'd offer to help but I'm in the UK and suspect that you might be better off with someone more local.

  3. #3
    Tripping on the Podium sandraskates's Avatar
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    I am always an advocate of hiring a local person and supporting local economy. A costumer for a ballet and dance should already have good knowledge of working with stretch fabric and incorporating non-stretch fabrics if necessary. They are a good bet.

    WednesdayMarch mentioned taking "nebulous ideas" and transforming them, but she also mentions showing some photos too.
    From my past experience, my worst outcomes were when ideas were too nebulous and even sitting down with the client could not produce some sort of sketch before I started cutting the fabric. So photos and even basic sketches are very helpful. Letting the costumer know and listen to the music is also helpful.

    My best turnouts were the client let me have free-reign from design to execution, but most of the time producing costumes is a collaboration between client and costumer.

  4. #4
    Garder les choses réelles Ic3Rabbit's Avatar
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    What sandra and Wednesday have already said. A ballet costumer should have good knowledge of what materials work and stretch for dance and would also work for figure skating. Also, photos are fine, but most very good costumers can hear your idea and sketch it on the spot or pretty close.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    On the Ice
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    Thank you all. Excellent advice. I'll hopefully have the opportunity to talk with her soon. She is currently working on all things Swan Lake for Spring. Her work on the school's new costumes for last years Nutcracker were amazing. Hoping that since she revamped just about everything for last year, this year she'll have some availability.

  6. #6
    Rinkside
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    The Girl Without A Face
    Seconding what Sandra and Wednesday say. If your dressmaker/seamstress is already doing excellent work with dancers, chances are this person is experienced with stretch fabric, gluing stones, designing attire that can handle the rigors of physical presentations. Does this person do it all - as in, designing, cutting, sewing, and applying all of the stones, sequins, lace, etc.? That's good to know. Many parents have someone provide the dress, and they stone themselves.

    Find a variety of pictures that show elements like skirt lengths, sleeve details, stoning, to show them what's happening in figure skating these days. Also - and this is just something I feel strongly about - get pictures from different competitions, different eras, different disciplines, different nationalities. There are some dress designers that are ripped off way too frequently. Get a mix of inspiration and have the dress be as original as your skater is! If they need a Jalie pattern for a reference, and there are other brands, then that should be enough for them to draft their own work.

    I do all of my daughter's dresses and it's rewarding but time-consuming.

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