Ballet Stuff

If you are into ballet try balletdiaries.com. You will get tips and samples of variations you might be interested in.

Okay, so if there are some of you who have your girls doing ballet, you’d know the costs can really add up. The latest my eldest, and I am sure the other younger ones will follow suit, is the need to have a longer practice skirt—like the ones similar to the dances in Giselle or Coppelia. So, instead of forking out $35 a pop for one of these 24 or 30 inch long circle skirts that twirl with the girls when they pirouette, I decided to learn how to make the skirts. You can also get some shorter ones here.

First, I got some inexpensive chiffon—about $7 a yard and needed about1 ¾ yard which will make one 24 inch circle skirt with some left over to make a matching scrunchie. I added the costs with the price of the waist band (Make sure you use the waist circumference minus abut 2-3 inches so it cinches on the body of the child.)

 Also, make sure the chiffon fabric is the 58 inch or wider type so that way you can cut a circle and there are no sewing to piece the fabric together to make the donut-like circle.

Here, watch this and you’ll see what I mean.

Then, after you’ve done the math—get the child’s waist measurements. Say for a waist that’s 26 inches, minus 2 inches and divide that by 4. You‘ll end up with 6 inches. That 6 inches must be added to the length you’d want—24 inch length in my case--and you‘d end up with 30 inches. Also you can check out this wikihow page which will give you a basic feel of what a circle skirt is. Bear in mind that if you fold your fabric into a quarter of the skirt you might not need any seams at all. It depends on the width of the fabric you have and how long you want your skirt to be.

Fold your fabric like in the youtube video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_NwglpFbAM

Just get a  chiffon. And no need to get an iron even. Use this youtube just to get the cutting and the waist done. For the hem watch the youtube videos below. The project will take about 1-2 hours.

Once the fabric’s cut, sew on the waist channel—I use the ¾ inch waist elastic band, so the channel/ tube the band will go into is just about ¾ inches with a hairline extra. Don’t forget to leave an inch along the sewing unsewn to allow the waist band elastics to go through. Once the elastic is inside stitch this up by hand and also stitch the elastic waist band at intervals of about 4-6 inches so you secure the elastic onto the waist section and the elastic will not roll up during a wash etc.

Now it’s time to sew the hem.

This is the tricky part. I made a boo boo when I hemmed it like a regular skirt. Wrong! Not a good idea. And beside it’s not easy to do. There’s a better, easier and more professional way to do this.

In fact, there are 3 ways to do this. One is with a serger, which I do not have. So, if you do, go ahead and use that. But if not, don’t panic.

 You can use hand sewing to make a roll-up hem. You just need a needle, thread and patience! A good movie to watch while doing this could work, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Dt_5vnOJ_E

Or you can use your sewing machine to do this as well. There are 2 ways to do it.
With a regular sewing foot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfnQcn_SAGM

With a hemmer foot—which I confess is what I do not have and which I feel is the most cumbersome of the lot. Since you’d be using a chiffon type material you’d need the 1/8 inch size hemmer foot. And you’d need to make a 1/8th inch hem which means you’d feel a ¼ of the fabric into the hemmer foot. The video will make it clearer. Here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxoN77Vu6aI

Once you’ve hemmed, voila!

I must confess I am not a craftsy sort of person—more the writer, sort-- and so if I can do this, I am sure you can. I will post images of my success (we like to stay positive) once I have three circle ballet skirts in a row.

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