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Baton Twirling Solo Costume
modifying a leotard pattern
Birdie757
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Birdie757
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Date: 1/26/14 9:03 AM

Does anyone else have children who twirl? Or maybe twirled themselves? I need to sew my daughter a solo costume. All the costumes we see at competitions are from 2 major online stores that costs upwards of $300. I have no problems sewing leotards and have several Jalie patterns. My concern is that most of the costumes have non stretch elements to them (specifically the beaded icicle fringe) and because of that they all seem to have a centered invisible zipper in the back.

I plan on doing something similar to this photo http://www.kenerlykreationsinc.com/display.cfm/pid/10/item/1494/thsId/6/The%20Ashley-%20Lime.html .

My questions are basically, how should I adapt a leo pattern for a back zipper...mostly how far down on her bottom does the zipper need to go (I am pretty confident in adding a seam allowance to the back of the pattern). And 2, the only stretch velvets I have found are only 2 way. I only want to use the velvet for parts and use 4 way hologram stretch and power mesh for the rest...should I still lengthen the pattern slighly or will the other stretch fabrics accomadate this?

Pinkytoo
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In reply to Birdie757 <<


Date: 1/26/14 9:41 AM

If you are using 4 way stretch you can probably eliminate the zipper. You can also get stretch sequin (and other trims). I really don't "get" why there is a zipper in that costume unless it is for getting it off & on quickly and, er, bathroom purposes...

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Sewing is my therapy!

Birdie757
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In reply to Pinkytoo <<


Date: 1/26/14 10:04 AM

The icicle fringe that I have found online is not stretch, it is attached to twil tape. I am assuming that is why they add the zipper. Also, I am sure it ends up being much easier to applique the color blocks and apply the binding between color blocks while the costume is flat since the color blocks wrap around across the side seams.

SheBear0320
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In reply to Birdie757 <<
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Date: 1/26/14 10:14 AM

While I have not done any baton costumes, I have done hundreds of figure skating, dance, fitness and gymnastics costumes over the past 12 years.

There are situations when a zipper is required -- if you are using non-stretch fabrics/trims in critical areas, when the wearer has large hips and a significantly narrower waist (making getting it on more difficult), when there is a high neck with no open features and when the wearer wants to be able to do quick changes (multiple events with different costumes for each event).

I'm not sure exactly why the costume you link to has a zipper in it since the description focuses on all the elements being stretch this and stretch that and it is completely open through the neck and shoulder area.

If you are using 2 way stretch velvet (and it can be done), place the stretch around the body -- it may be necessary to add some extra length depending on how large a portion of the vertical leotard is the velvet. If it's only a narrow vertical portion (i.e. a strip of velvet), then the other 4 way stretch fabrics will compensate for it.

Where are you looking for velvet? Is it somewhere local to you? If you are relying on on-line sources for your purchases, make sure you clarify with them what they mean by 2 way -- some retailers say 2 way and they mean vertical and horizontal, while others say 2 way and mean across the crosswise grain as in right and left.

If you decide to use a zipper, the length is determined by where the feature is that you want to "get past" -- usually you will be wanting to go to just below the waist. Give your back pattern piece a centre back seam and add seam allowances to the centre back edge. Make sure to stabilize your seam allowance -- I usually use Fusi-Knit cut so the stretch is horizontal and it is stable on the vertical -- you need to be very, very careful when pressing the Fusi-Knit in place when working with velvet (do tests on scraps of fabric). When pressing is just not going to work, I glue the Fusi-Knit strips in place with a glue stick and make sure to let the glue dry completely before doing your machine application of the zipper.

I just completed 17 synchro skating dresses that were purple glitter velvet and I was able to use the iron on it without damaging the velvet -- other velvets are not so forgiving.

Hope this helps -- let me know if you have any other questions.



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Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
49.75 yards sewn (as of 07/17/14)
79.875 yards purchased (as of 07/17/14)

HanPanda
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Date: 1/26/14 10:18 AM

Definitely a good idea to keep the zipper when your trim is not stretchy. Also a good idea when you're combining materials of different stretch values. I am a little concerned about the combination of some stretch v more stretch, because if the amounts aren't even in the direction of the non stretch on all sides, it can pull up or ride uncomfortably. HOWEVER....having said that. If the amounts are generally even, you may be fine not adjusting the pattern length if: the amount of velvet in that direction is not that much, and the stretch in the other fabrics is more than the amount required by the pattern. Does that make sense? I kind of feel like I am word vomiting and I'm not sure it's getting across.

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2014 resolution: keep track of sewn yardage!!
In: 90 yards
Sewn: 46.5 yards

I'll try anything once :)

Please excuse my typos...sometimes it is harder to go back and edit on mobile than it is worth!

diane s
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Date: 1/26/14 10:22 AM

My daughters were competitive twirlers on teams and solo. One DD twirled for Univ of Arizona. I've made more costumes than I can remember. I believe the costume has a zipper because the fringe trim has no stretch and the hologram has little stretch.
When you are making a costume with fabrics and trims that have little stretch, size the 'muslin' like you were using a woven fabric. It should fit skin tight, like a sloper, and the costume will fit perfectly.
For twirlers 'superstretch' was one of the most popular fabrics and it only has 1 way stretch. The costume is designed with stretch going up and down, and no stretch around. It has a zipper and darts like a fitted dress. The trim will cover the darts and it won't look odd at all.

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My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

Birdie757
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In reply to diane s <<


Date: 1/26/14 10:41 AM

Diane, what exactly is "super stretch". I keep reading this too but when I search for this fabric it seems to come up with lots of different types of fabrics from stretch satins to a matte "wrestling" uniform fabric. I am so glad to hear of other twirl mom's who sew(ed) for their girls! I get crossed eyed looks from other mom's at competitions when I say I make her gowns and costumes...lol!

tourist
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In reply to Birdie757 <<
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Date: 1/26/14 11:05 AM

SheBear - you are a font of wonderfulness! So much experience and so gracious to offer so much help.

I am finding that, aside from the issues of stretch, most of the ballgowns I see have a zipper simply to make it easier to get in and out of. Even those that are cut quite low on the back seem to have zips.

Of course, kids are a bit of a different situation - not such a differential between hips and waist - but I would want a zipper if you had all those variations in fabric and trim.

I get cross eyed looks about my dresses, too. I love it.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

SheBear0320
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In reply to tourist <<
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Date: 1/26/14 2:17 PM

Most of my ballroom clients prefer a zipper for ease of getting in and out quickly when having to change for different dances. I also find that I use zippers more for my adult clients. Some just like that they can get the fit a little snugger when they have a zipper.

I did not realize the "superstretch" fabric only had 1 way stretch -- yikes. I definitely steer away from fabrics that only have lengthwise stretch as the base or primary fabric (little different if they are only for accent or trim).

Finding stretch trims is difficult but I know there are quite a few sources out there. I have found stretch crystals strands (Swarovski and others), stretch fringe, stretch beaded fringe, etc.

The joys of working with negative ease .....

------
Sheila
"sewing very slowly to fill an empty closet"

2014 Stash Busting Sew-Along:
49.75 yards sewn (as of 07/17/14)
79.875 yards purchased (as of 07/17/14)

Merrymary58
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Date: 1/26/14 2:46 PM

Hi there! I am in the midst of learning to sew baton costumes as well! I made my first very simple solo costume last year by modifying a leo we already had. It didn't have a zipper and what a mess! My trim came off constantly because of the quick on and off. I made my second set for the tournament yesterday. I ended up making a super simple Leo because I couldn't quite figure out the zipper. It is for dance twirl pairs so it worked.

The only bit I can add about fabric is that we have a costume maker that I've ended up buying velvet from her directly because I know it's exactly right. I am going to see her on Tuesday so I will see if I can find out where she buys it from. We can get stretch lycra at Joanne's but I know that's not the right look for solo.

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