Well, ladies and gents, here we are in the final phase of our bird adventure. I have all but one bird to show you as we have not had time to schedule another fitting for her before today, but I’m sure 5 other beautiful birds will be just enough excitement for the day!
I would like to say thank you to designer Susan Branch-Towne for creating such lovely renderings for me to build from and to Class Act Tutu for the fantastic tutu bases they sent us. Thanks to you for taking this journey with me! It has been a pleasure sharing with you.
Please join us at the Long Center on Mother’s Day weekend to see the rest of our stunning costumes (and that elusive sixth bird) be brought to life by our dancers in The Magic Flute!
Here we are, close to the finish line with our birds! When last we left off, I was patterning out the tail piece. Now, we build!
I stitch the pieces cut from the tail pattern together.
Before I add any feathers or embellishment, I pin it to the dress form to make sure it doesn’t need any adjustments.
It is important for me to ensure that the center back seam falls on the center back line all the way down the tail.
Now that I know everything lines up as it should, I decorate the tail piece with the same technique I used on the front.
Then, I connect the backs to the front….
…and add a zipper to the back seam!
The dancers will come in for fittings at the end of this week in order for me to make sure everything fits just right. After all, no body is exactly the same shape as a dress form and a few things may need to be tweaked for a perfect fit. We will then make the final adjustments and send our ladies on their way to the stage.
Join me next week when I unveil the birds of The Magic Flute!
So far in this bird series, I have shown you how the tutu base is finished for wear and how the bodice fronts are patterned and feathered. Today we will be looking at patterning the tail piece with the tutu that will be worn by Emily Cloyd as our example.
I first assembled the tutu onto the dress form according to the dancer’s measurements and attach the feathered front.
For patterning, we like to use this plastic sheeting that is similar to a plastic party tablecloth. It is durable, flexible, see-through and easier to work with than other patterning mediums.
This is a basic pattern for the bird tail that was created earlier. You can clearly see all the notes I have taken on it through the different drafts I made. I will lay a clean sheet of pattern plastic on top to trace and create a rough draft for Emily’s tutu based on this.
After I have cut the pattern draft, I will apply it to the tutu to see where I need to make changes that are specific to this dancer and the shape of her costume.
Now that I have checked this draft and made the appropriate notes, I will make a final draft of the pattern and then cut the fabric.
Please check in next week for the assemblage of the tail and not long after that I will share with you the big reveal of all our lovely birds!
When last we left off, I was waiting for the tutu skirts. They’re here!
They are currently all hanging in the gondola (a big wardrobe box we use for storing and transporting costumes) with their bodices.
They do not arrive fully completed. We will finish and shape them as needed.
My next step is to have fittings with each dancer and mark where her hooks and bars will be placed on the skirt basque (the upper part of the tutu skirt with no tulle) as well as the placement of the buttons which will attach to the tutu bodice. The example below is the tutu that will be worn by dancer Rebecca Johnson.
Next week, I will start patterning the tail pieces, which will be pretty complicated, but I am excited for the challenge!
Last week, I showed you the construction of the bodice front for this Magic Flute bird designed by Susan Branch.
Now, we decorate!
The bodice front is created with layers of crushed stretch velvet, fun fur yarn and feathers.
All layers are attached using the sewing machine.
The finished bodice front will eventually be attached to a back and tail piece and then to the tutu itself.
All six bird bodices are ready to continue on to the next step!
The tutu skirts will be arriving in the shop soon and we will begin to fit those on the dancers and pattern out the tails. Tune in next week!
Currently, my major project in the costume shop is to build the six birds for The Magic Flute. These photo blogs I am keeping will follow my construction of the bird below, which will be worn by dancer Michelle Thompson.
I will use the rendering by designer Susan Branch to build the bird. The base is a teardrop shaped tutu and I am making the feathered front and tail to go on it.
After a fitting, the inside structure of the tutu bodice is finished out. The white elastics will eventually connect to the skirt.
The bodice is put on a dress form and covered in clear plastic for drafting a pattern.
The pattern for the feathered front piece is finished. The solid, pink line is the finish line for the piece.
The bodice front piece is cut out of three layers of fabric and will be covered in feathers.
Curious to see how the bodice turns out? I’ll have more for you next week!
Words and photos by Emily Cavasar, Wardrobe Assistant and Shoe Manager.