Costume time!


Being a parent you do a lot of things that you might not normally do.  For instance, volunteer to stand in front of a room full of adults, teaching them about an artist you just read about for the first time the day before the presentation!!! *blush*  Or host a margarita party at your house for 50+ women to raise money for the school. (yes, that’s happening later this year…and actually…this, I would have done even without having a child 🙂 )  Or, design a dance costume AND sew it for your daughter’s dance class.  Yes. This happened.  And I DO NOT SEW, people!  Yes, I have a sewing machine.  And yes, I have made curtains or a pillow or hemmed a pair of pants but I have never had a class or really sewn something significant.

But if I can do it, so can YOU!

Design a custom costume without starting from scratch.


This year, my daughter, Jillian has a sassy duet dance number called A Night Like This by Caro Emerald.  Have you heard of it?  Super cute, sassy and sophisticated.  In the video Caro is wearing all black with a big red flower in her hair.  Inspiration FOUND!  Now it was time for this mama to start shopping.  But what am I looking for and where do I start?



Where do you start?  The dance studio has a handful of costume catalogs to chose from.  But if you want something unique that really works for a stylized song such as this, you have to think “outside the box”.

I have a trick!  What’s my trick?  Find a base: a dress, a leotard, something that is already built for you.  If you don’t have sewing skills (like me!), it is a great place to start. Then, all you have to do is build your costume on that base.

Macys.com, Norstrom.com, hm.com, forever21.com (did you know they have a little girls section?!  Super on trend!) are all places I looked for a red, black or white flower dresses that did not cost an arm and a leg.  The average price for a dance costume is $50.  That was my goal.

I started looking back in September.  At that same time, I was researching Halloween costumes for my kids.  I have made their costumes in the past but this year, they both knew specifically what they wanted to be (Storm Trooper and Hermione from Harry Potter).  I visited Halloween websites and of course fell upon Chasingfireflies.com.  Have you been?!  OMG.  THE BEST costumes for kids (and adults) ever!  Such beautiful stuff!  They had discounts going on (Thank you!!!  ‘cuz these beauties are not cheap!)  aaaannnnnddd…..welllllll…….  while purchasing for Halloween, I fell upon a beautiful rose printed dress.  Oh my word!  Cue the trumpets!  This was it!  This was the dress!  Based on the mood and feel of Ciro’s song and the red and black inspiration…it was THE ONE!  Hallelujah, this was PERFECT!  And with the 25% off discount, the dress came to $54.  Sooooo close to our goal.  This is horseshoes, friends.  (Did I mention I am not very good at budgets? 🙂 My philosophy is usually get it as low as you can for what you want.  Lol )



What’s the worst?  When you are at a competition, waiting to go on stage, you look on stage and the girls performing have your EXACT SAME COSTUME!  This could truly happen, seeing there are very few costume companies out there (…that don’t charge an arm and a leg for a costume).  It would be very rare for this to happen but it would truly be the worst!


To avoid this, STYLIZE IT!  Make it your own!  Make it work for your dancer and the song they are dancing to.  Out of the box, (Ha! No pun intended! 🙂 ) my daughter’s costume was just a simple holiday dress.  Now was the time to add that personal touch to take it from basic to something unique and beautiful for the dance number.


Here are some suggestions to make your costume your own:

  • Add or change the belt.  In this case, I grabbed some black grosgrain ribbon, tied it around the middle and let the tails flow.
  • Add a petticoat.  This adds volume and drama for those turns and leaps.
  • Cut it up!  A big part of dance is seeing the whole body.  I shortened this dress about 2 inches so it hit above their knees.  If knees can speak, we are going to be watching!
  • Add texture.  The dress is a heavy polyester.  I cut up a slit on the side, and added a lace overlay to the petticoat in that area.  This adds more drama and interest to a somewhat simple silhouette.
  • Sparkle!  I am learning this.  My personal style is a little less bling and a little more subdued but in the dance world, those girls need to shine under those lights!  They need a little (or in some cases a LOT of) reflection.  Because this particular song is so smooth and sophisticated, I kept the bling subtle by adding red crystals to the red parts of the roses, and black sequins to the rose part of the lace underlay.  Overall, it adds a subtle sparkle to highlighted areas of the costume.
  • Hairpiece.  From the video, I knew we just had to have a big red rose.  A trip to Michael’s floral department and I now had a big, velvety red rose glued to a hair clip for the final costume detail.


Voila!  A custom costume is ready for the stage!  As Ms. Karin, their dance instructor said Saturday, all they have to do now is perfect that dance! 😉


Have you had to create a costume for your little one?  What was your favorite (or LEAST favorite)! 🙂  I would love to hear your story too!

Here’s to the parents out there, YOU, that give their best and more to their kids!!!

xo, Melissa



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