I’ve spoken before about the cost of specialist dancewear and shoes for a tiny dancer, so my drive to perfect my skills in this area is not only creative but financial too.
When we (hopefully) return to dance competitions following the pandemic, Dylan will be in Juniors, which will eventually need a tailsuit for ballroom and a slinky, sparkly top paired with plain black trousers for Latin.
I’ll buy the tailsuit (possibly secondhand….they cost upwards of £500 preloved, considerably more new). But there’s no reason I can’t sew and stone a latin shirt and whip up competition ready trousers for him with a bit of practice.
Initially he’ll be in Junior beginners, which requires a plain white shirt and plain black trousers. As its likely he’ll quickly progress, I’m loathe to spend a couple of hundred pounds on kit that won’t get much wear.
The problem I’m facing is a complete dearth of information and/or patterns for creating dancewear for boys. Whilst Seams Sensational has her Sew Like a Pro programme for fitting ballroom dresses, I cannot find an alternative for men and boys.
I found YouTube falls equally short. So I’m winging it. Unless anyone has any resources they can share.
The only patterns I’ve found are from Jalie, which I’ve previously made here.
This shirt is a variation of the Jalie 2803 stretch bodysuit pattern. It’s a great pattern, and a great base to for Latin and practice shirts. I’ve made the alterations to the pattern when I made his last shirt. This time I kept the zip, omitted the gusset poppers and added a turtle neck. I’d prefer a cleaner finish for the zip insertion at the top of the neck. I have no idea about the correct way to sew this so just took a best guess. On the whole…I’m pleased with the result.
I cut this shirt from an old dance skirt I made for myself a few years back. I’m happy the fabric got reused.
I can make this pattern with a collar and cuffs for a competition shirt. I’ve got his first few comps sorted if I add black trousers in a heavier stretch gabardine.
The trousers were more straightforward. Whilst the Jalie pattern is solid, the lines are more suited to ice-skating that dancesport. I copied this pair from some ready-to-wear trousers that he’d outgrown and sized them up. The fabric is a stretch poly crepe from Croft Mill at £7 a metre. Not suitable for competition, but definitely comfy and smart for practice. I managed to squeeze these out of a single metre, but I won’t be able to do that for much longer as he’s shooting up!
The pattern needs a bit of a tweak but then I’ll have a great pattern for both practice and competition wear. For these, the rise wasn’t quite long enough. I solved that here by adding an extra wide waistband. I’ll add the length to the actual trouser going forwards.
This set turned out really well. And I’m moving closer to having a pair of patterns for future shirts and trousers. We’re lucky in the UK to have access to world class dance fabrics for home sewists. For example DSI, who make the costumes for Strictly Come Dancing, are London based and have a great online shop.
It’s just a pity that there aren’t more resources in terms of patterns and technical skills. That said, I’m a self-taught sewist, so I’m confident I’ll be able to crack this dancewear sewing conundrum.