Frugal sewing: dance skirts

I’ll admit, I lost my blogging mojo for a little while. I was still sewing! But I didn’t feel like sharing. Instead of apologizing and explaining, I’ll just jump back in here as if nothing happened and show you something I recently sewed, sound good?

I have two daughters who dance and since my other hobby is photography, we really love taking dance photos together. It’s sort of carried us through these ridiculously long winter months. They were wanting some flowy skirts to take photos in, but I didn’t really want to spend the money on yardage, so I dug through my drawer instead and found the costume I wore in a recital in Hawaii when I took an adult ballet class. I don’t have a before photo of it, but the skirt portion had both a lace overlay and a lining. I cut both layers off the bodice and made them into skirts!

Here are a couple shots we took:


These are very easy to make and a very frugal way to turn dresses into skirts! I bought a package of wide black elastic and zig-zagged the raw edge onto it. If you’re unsure how to do this, here’s how:

  1. Cut the elastic to fit the waist

  2. Lap the ends of the elastic and zig-zig it together so it’s a circle.

  3. Mark the elastic in fourths and do the same with the skirt waist opening

  4. The skirt opening will be larger than your elastic. Pin the skirt to your elastic, matching your marks.

  5. Using a zig zag stitch, sew the skirt onto the elastic, about a half an inch from the bottom of the elastic (see photo below), stretching the elastic to fit. This edge will be on the inside. The outside will look nice and clean.


This technique is also useful if you have girls whose dresses get too small or too short. Simply cut off the skirt and attach elastic and give it new life as a skirt!

I also went to the thrift store that same day to look for some frugal dance skirts and found this amazing Free People (ahem, expensive) skirt! I paid $5. I also thrifted this purple King size sheet to use as a backdrop. This is probably my favorite shot of the day.

dance photography

I’ve sewn some pretty great pieces lately for myself. Hopefully I can take some photos of those soon and show you!

Cheers :)


Sewing and Ballet

My oldest daughter Natalie got her first pair of pointe shoes a few weeks ago. Kind of a big deal to a dancer!! My knowledge of dance is minimal, but I do know sewing and am fascinated by how the two relate to each other. 


Pointe shoes are not something you go in a just pick up off a shelf. The fitting process takes some time and the ladies who helped us find the right shoes were meticulous and made the appointment so much fun. The shoes have to fit perfectly -- there is no buying a size to big so she can grow into them, since a dancer could get injured if they don't fit just right. 

Then you have to sew on the elastic and ribbons. I got the needle and thread out and directed her to YouTube and made her do that part herself ;) 


She had her first pointe class on Thursday. I so wish I could have gone in there with my camera as all the girls learned to put their shoes on for the first time! But, that's not allowed. Booooooooo. 

Natalie also auditioned for the Nutcracker yesterday and got a part! She'll be a candy cane and she's so excited. I'm not sure how excited either of us will be when I drive her to rehearsals at 7 a.m. every Saturday morning, though, ha! As a seamstress, I love looking at costumes. Costume sewing (for Halloween) tops my list of favorite things to sew, but I know costumes for ballet are a whole 'nother thing. 

I have no idea what her candy cane costume will look like, but I'm enjoying looking at these beauties! Also, poor Clara's nightgown in this photo is a corset. Sounds comfy, haha. 

Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

Sharni Spencer as a Mirliton and Jessica Fyfe as Clara in the Australian Ballet's Nutcracker. Photography by Jeff Busby

Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

Mirlitons: Eloise Fryer and Jill Ogai in Sir Peter Wright's The Nutcracker. Photography Jeff Busby

I love being involved in dance productions and sewing is the way I know how to do that.  I do have to join "a committee" for this Nutcracker production. Not sure what that entails. But if there's a costume committee, I'm there. Just don't give me the snack bar committee. Haha! 

While on the subject, out of curiosity, I was researching how pointe shoes are made and found this video. I love how the ballerina calls the makers artists and their craft an art form that enables their very livelihood. It really is a cool industry! And now I know why they cost so much, ha! 

During the hour of jazz she has on Thursday nights, I always go to the library nearby. I picked up a few kids' ballet books, including this one

Natalie read it and said it was really good, so I read it too. Did you know that the brothers responsible for bringing The Nutcracker to America were from small town Utah? It's super interesting. I got a kick out of this page, of course: 

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