Choir robes

S had her dance show this weekend, it was amazing as always, her dance school does them approximately every two years (sometimes it’s a longer gap) and she’s been doing them since she was 4 (where she was the cutest but most serious hopping bunny ever). As well as being totally awed by the cuteness of the little kids when S was younger, I was always amazed at the talent and professionalism of the older students and it’s been fantastic watching S move from cute little 4 year old, to undertaking dance routines now that leave me breathless just watching them (I have trouble looking graceful just getting up from the sofa).

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In one of her dances this year, she (and the rest of her group) needed to wear choir robes for the start of the dance and the dance school principal needed someone to make them and I, umm, said I could do it. I used this pattern from Butterick but it had to be very heavily adapted, as the original pattern was not suitable for dancing in. The original pattern also had a lot of detail which wasn’t necessary (like pockets) or would have distracted from the aesthetic the choreographer was going for or would have just made the process of sewing them even longer. So I adapted the pattern, significantly reducing the size of the sleeves, simplifying the yoke, removed most of the lining, removed the decoration and significantly shortened it. I made a prototype (which is actually the robe S is wearing), the dance school was happy with it, so I made eleven more!

I’ve never had to sew clothing in bulk like that before and it was quite a daunting prospect but sewing in bulk does have its advantages, as you can do each step eleven times before doing the next step. Although doing that can have its disadvantages to, if you’ve made a mistake and don’t spot it immediately, luckily I only made one mistake like that and it wasn’t too bad, attaching some of the yoke parts together wrongly, so it was a pain to unpick but it could have been worse!

Watching S and the other dancers wear the robes on stage, it was quite hard not to just see the faults in the robes and to concentrate on the amazing dancing instead but I gave myself a swift telling off and I really enjoyed the dance.

Sewing this much, with a set deadline and to a certain set of criteria, definitely improved my drafting and project management skills and although at the time I swore blind that I wouldn’t so eagerly volunteer next time, actually, I think I have the bug for it…..

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