When I saw that the theme for this year's competition was ‘En Pointe’ I was really inspired, as I’ve always wanted to make a costume for a character.
The first thing I did was find myself a ballerina! I’m lucky to know a few burlesque artistes, including Miss Sugar Rush, who jumped at the chance to help me out. As I don’t know much about ballet, I asked her what her favourites were, and she sent me some links to look at, including one of a dancer performing as Esmerelda. I fell in love with the dance and knew it would be the perfect character for Sugar to portray with her Latin looks.
The second thing I knew I wanted to do was to attempt to make a corset body, as it is something I haven’t attempted before and leotards/bodysuits are worn quite often by dancers. I also knew I didn’t want to make a tutu, but wanted to create something that floated and moved with a dancer, so I decided on a gypsy style skirt.
Sugar and I share a love of 50’s musicals and pin up so I decided my Esmerelda would be based along those lines rather than a classical ballet feel. I also wanted to bring out the sauciness of the character and so, as I have experience making sheer corsets, I wanted to make the bodysuit out of sheer corsetry mesh. I made a couple of mock ups and had a couple of fittings with Sugar.
To make the final piece I sewed all the panels together with the seams to the outside, pressed them open and topstitched either side of the seam. I then zig zag stitched for extra strength. On top of each seam I then placed an external bone casing wide enough for a 7mm spiral steel bone. The only slight issue I had was deciding how long to make the 11mm flat steel bones either side of the eyelets, and I’m still not quite happy with how they worked, whatever I tried they still poked out a little! I embellished the corset with a lovely turquoise and gold sequinned lace as I had seen a few old images of gypsies wearing a lot of bright floral fabrics. I also chose a beautiful green/blue shot silk dupion flatlined to herringbone coutil for the bone casings and the rear lacing panels.
When the corset was finished I then made a gold chiffon gypsy skirt with a ruffled hem and gold ribbon trim to add movement to the costume.
With the outfit completed I then got together with Sugar and my husband, who is a hobbyist photographer, and we had a little photoshoot to showcase the costume. The first time I put the bodysuit on Sugar was amazing and it fit almost perfectly! I’d also acquired a tambourine as one is used in the ballet, and off Sugar went! I love the results!
Model: Miss Sugar Rush