Wednesday, 29 November 2017

A few Madelines

Back in July I was asked to make some costumes for a troupe for competitions. They were dancing to a piece of music from Madeline. There were going to be 12 dancers in this troupe.

The time frame ended up being quite short. There was a slight muddle up about when the competition was. The fabric was delivered on the Tuesday and the comp was on the Friday!

I draughted a pattern as I thought it would be difficult to find something suitable in the time frame. I most likely needed to make them in a size 6, 8 & 10. I made a mock-up which I was able to try on my grand daughter who is 5 years old but the size of an average 6 year old. The size 6 fitted her really well so I then graded the pattern up to the size 8 and 10.

 Miss O modeling the toile for me.

And again with the cape.

 In the end I only needed to make 6 dresses for the first competition. They were mostly size 8 and one size 10.

I managed to take a few pictures while I was making the dresses, and capes, but it was pretty much just sew, sew, sew!

Cutting out the size 10 sleeve. This is the first time I've graded a pattern up 2 sizes so it was a bit of a challenge until I got my head around it!

There was enough fabric but not a whole lot to spare so some careful placing was in order 😀  I think I ended up with less than a metre of fabric left over after all 12 dresses were cut out.

Many know this trick but in case you don't here is how to fold the fabric for a circular skirt, or in this case cape, so there are no seams. Take your piece of fabric and fold it in half, two edges together, you'll have the fold facing you as in the photo.

Then fold that piece in half . . . so you end up with quarters.

Place your pattern piece, which will be a quarter circle, with the straight sides on the folds. You'll see that with this pattern one straight side is on the fold, the other side is at the top corner then angles away slightly. I didn't want this to be a complete circle but for the front edges to be slightly apart.

Once I'd cut out the main part of the cape I folded the top layer back out of the way and cut the tapered edge, this will be the front opening and the folded edges are the sides and back of the cape. This was a very simple cape, not fitted at the shoulder as they often are.

I was up working at silly o'clock on the dresses and when Boar got up early at 5:30am he came and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Being a chippie carpenter I figured he could cope with cutting these so showed him and he cut the rest for me. I think I cut the linings but memory is a bit hazy . . .

There were collars too of course, so a dozen, cos 6 pairs, of them needed interfacing, stitching, trimming, clipping, turning, ironing, and then attaching!  They're stacked like that as they are in pairs and I'm trying to keep some kind of order . . . tiredness does things to my brain and the front and back curves of the collar are slightly different, hence not wanting to get them muddled.

That's all the photos I got of the making. I got the 6 done and delivered the afternoon of the comp. The remaining 6 were done by the next comp.

Below is a photo of some of the troupe from Wellington Dance and Performing Arts Academy. I suspect the tallest lass is in a size 8, or has grown since the size 10 was made! The hats were decorated by their teacher, Miss Denton, who was the director of the studio my children began dancing at . . . 17 years ago!

Source - WDPAA

This was quite a fun make, the second set more so as there wasn't quite the same time pressure. 


  1. I love them! Well done. That's some time pressure right there!

    1. Thanks, Mrs C! They're pretty cute! Hmmm, yes, time pressure, isn't it the way with shows etc? They were wearable . . . and came back for some finishing!


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