Monday, November 2, 2009

Nutcracker Past

It's November! Normally I'd be elbow-deep in Nutcracker costumes by now. My beautiful daughter E, is the dancer in the family. She's been in a local production(one of many)of the Nutcracker for many years, and I've had to make her a new costume the last five years. Because she's always been small for her age, she doesn't usually fit into the studio's stock costumes. The director usually lets me run free with the E's costume, as long as it coordinates role's color scheme. I would buy whatever fabric I liked and be reimbursed later.

Last year, E was Arabian Coffee. The costume had many parts: purple bra-top, satin vest, see-thru harem pants, satin belt with hanging chains, purple bloomers. The most annoying part was probably the pants. I couldn't find a fabric I really liked and the settled with some kind of sheer fabric. We had to spray it with Static-Guard before every show.

The year before, I made my first tu-tu for Spanish Hot Chocolate. It was a pain, but since I'm also a quilter, I used my handy-dandy rotary cutter and cut strips and strips and strips...(you get the idea) of tulle for the tu-tu. The previous costume mistress(who doesn't quilt) tried to discourage me from making a tutu. She told me how tedious it was to cut the strips and wanted E to wear the stock costume. Poor E looked ridiculous! The crotch came down to her knees, the tu-tu was a mile wide and the bodice made her look like she had boobs coming out of her shoulders.

The costume I made had the same colors: black and red. I scaled down the size of the tu-tu to be more proportional to E's frame. The bodice was made from a really nice black velvet and I added an embroidered red insert down the center. That was probably my best Nutcracker costume.

E was Clara three years ago. That was an easy year for me. She was able to wear the party dress and the dress for the second act with minimal adjustments. I just had to make a night gown for the battle scene. Of course that's just the costumes I made for my own daughter. Let's not forget the soldier pants, harem tops, mouse costumes, snow-ball hats/mittens... I had to adjust or make.

E is attending a different dance school this year and they have their own Nutcracker. Though I'll miss seeing my creations on stage, I'm not telling anyone at the new studio that I sew. Maybe I can do some Christmas quilting or knitting during those long rehearsals?

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