Costume designs by Miss Radida 2015

Last year I worked on some beautiful costume designs for amazingly talented folk, and in this post I am going to share with you some of my favourite sewing projects from 2015:

Duosu costume designs

Back in March 2015 I was asked to design and make a set of costumes for some friends of mine who call themselves Duosu. A delightful, highly skilled acro/ hand-to-hand couple who live in Bristol, Rachel and Richard wanted costumes that were not made from stretch fabric (always a bit of a challenge creating non-stretch costumes for highly physical acrobats!), and had a contemporary feel, giving the impression of wearing normal clothes created as a set that compliment each other. Of course, they also needed to be able to work comfortably in them despite the lack of movability in the fabric!

Rachel’s skirt was designed so that the split gives her extra movability for kicking up into hand-to-hand and other splits-type moves. It is also short enough so that it does not restrict her movement, and has built-in stretch shorts underneath to protect her modesty (ha, sounds so old-fashioned when you put it like that!). The top was based on a little top that she already owned and liked the fit of. Richard’s design is based on what he normally likes to wear when performing (“normal” clothing, trousers and shirt), and made in the same fabrics as Rachel’s so that they matched. Here are the finished costumes along with their designs:

Helen Rosemary Shanti Parke’s costume

In April, the lovely Parkey asked me to design and make a costume for her new corde lisse act which was to be inspired by moths and texture. Here is what she wrote to me about the inspiration for the piece: “influence behind the piece is *moths* like the idea of backless, big sleeved blouse.. colours – off white, pearl.. unsure of the bottom half as yet, but thinking of simple high waisted shorts…”.

She sent me a mood-board on pinterest and a lighting board which were her inspiration for the piece. The mood-board contained lots of very textured outfits (some of which are shown below in the photo gallery).

We used a silk blouse that she already owned to make the top of the costume, and I made a leotard as the base and stitched it all together. I used the cut off pieces of the blouse to create pin-tucked silken texture on the bottom of the costume and teamed it with varying fabrics with different textures. Using pleating and pin-tucking I created lots of folding to bring out the different textures. It also has 4 “hidden” pockets which she asked me to put in so she could fill them with powder to create a continual “dusty” feeling throughout the act with her movement on the rope- the idea being that as she moved, the powder would seep through the fabric bit by bit creating a cloud of dust which followed her through the air. I was really happy with the outcome of this costume- a challenging piece to put together (especially due to the pockets) but I did have a lot of fun creating it. Here is the design, some inspiration, and photos of the costume both during the make and in performance:

Photo credit - Alfonso Chung; Stunning photo board from performance

Photo credit – Alfonso Chung; Stunning photo board from performance

Jodie Nesbitt’s costume designs

I met Jodie when she contacted me for some private silks classes last year, and she then asked me to make her first aerial costume. A dancer on cruise-ships, she came to me with an idea that she had in mind, and together we came up with the final design. She wanted an a-symmetrical costume, with a gymnastic-type feel to it:

A few months later she asked me to make her another costume for a run of Xmas shows. Her character was the Ice Queen, but she wanted a costume suitable for other jobs in the future as well. Her main idea for this was that it was to be white and possibly blue, and she wanted loads of crystals stitched onto it, so this is what I came up with- all the crystals are hand-sewn onto the costume. The white fabric is stretch velour:

 Bendy Kate’s costume

In August, the week after Boomtown Fair, I designed and made a unitard for Bendy Kate– world pole-dancing champion and all-round lovely hard working lady that she is. She had actually contacted me back in June not long before I left for Australia, but at the time I was flat out with other work and said that I would complete it upon my return. Of course, this meant quite a hectic turnaround, but I really wanted to make it for her! Kate had originally wanted lilac lace on on a nude base, but it was really difficult to find any stretch lilac lace, so I sent her a few other options and she gave me two of her choices. I went for this purple-coloured one as it was a bit wider than the other choice, and went ahead and ordered it. Kate added some sparkle to the costume herself by bedazzling the top part.

Here is the design and a few pictures of the finished costume, as well as one of Bendy in action:

Acro-Chaps’ costumes

I made two new sets of costumes for The Acro-Chaps last year, and a set of new Sailor trousers and Strong Men leotards too. They were asked to perform in London at The Playboy Club 70s party, so I designed and made them a set of 70s disco-esque costumes. The shirts I made in loud lycra prints as that was the best 70s-style prints I could find.

The Acro-Chaps were asked to perform for a month of Venetian Masquerade Ball-themed Xmas shows last year, and so I designed and made them a fabulous set of costumes to suit this theme. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of these costumes in performance yet:

And here are some photo’s of The Acro-Chaps at work in other costumes I have made them:

Richie Wright’s cyr wheel costume

In September I made a pair of trousers for Cyr Wheel artist Richie Wright. He asked me to copy an existing pair of trousers that he likes to train cyr wheel in, because of the comfort and ease of movement they give him. I showed him some fabric options that I happened to have already, and he liked this stripy fabric that I had, so we went with that. I added some panelling and gold piping to the design, and a wide ribbed band at the top:

 Jalina costumes

In September I also made a couple of lovely white costumes for Helina and Janine, aerial artists who call themselves “Jalina“. They came to me with quite a specific design in mind from a picture they had found on Pinterest that they liked. They wanted it in white, but using different fabric textures such as white velour and lace, with inbuilt leggings. Here is the design and a costume fitting:

Ali Jones’ aerial hoop costume

In October, aerial artist Ali Jones asked me to design an aerial hoop costume for her. She wanted it to be textured and green with lace and layers. We went for the second option in the drawing with an altered sleeve design. During the make things changed a little as the fabric didn’t gather so well and became bulky around the waist, so we changed it to get a better result. Unfortunately we have no photos of the costume in performance, as Ali has advised me that her phone went down the toilet- along with the pictures! Oops! Here are the pictures I have:

Eléna Marina and Amy Offley’s hoop costumes

Eléna Marina asked me to make her a set of costumes for a gig she was booked for in December. She and Amy needed to be “Ice Nymphs” in a duo aerial hoop act. We wanted to make the costumes in stretch white velour, and it took us ages to find the fabric as there was a total shortage of it in the UK at the time. Finally, I found what was billed as 4-way stretch white velour, and purchased some. Unfortunately, we had a bit of trouble with these costumes due to the complete lack of vertical stretch in the fabric (definitely NOT 4-way stretch!). I will share with you the original design, a picture of them halfway through their metamorphosis, and a picture of the finished costumes- needless to say, they had to go through a couple of changes in their journey due to issues with the fabric:

So, the story went a little like this: I designed and made them some full-length white unitards with icicle detail above the bust. Even though I have made Eléna many costumes over the years, and I did add a bit of extra width to the legs and body, both of the costumes were very tight on the legs due to the lack of stretch in the fabric (a silly oversight from me at the time- I had underestimated the lack of stretch).  As they were white costumes, I had also lined them and the lining was getting caught when they pulled on the costumes. I was going to re-cut them and start from scratch when Eléna informed me the gig had been cancelled anyway, and so she asked me to cut the legs off as we thought this would solve our problem. They looked super cute with short legs too (see the first couple of photos above). The girls took them away for a rehearsal, and came back to me saying that now the legs were gone, the costumes were riding up really badly :(.

So, it was back to the cutting table with another idea- I added gussets and Eléna had a genius idea to cut them through the middle and add some netting so we had more stretch in the length. A time-consuming job, but a great idea, so I went for it- hoping that this would be the last alteration. And thankfully, it was! Here are some gorgeous photo’s of the costumes in action (you can see the sparkly detail Eléna added when they were finished):

 Eléna Marina’s new Showreel

Here is Eléna’s new showreel, which features about half a dozen costumes I have made for her, including the ones shown above. I LOVE seeing my work in action:

Costume design for myself and Maddie

I did mention these costumes in a previous post, but as this blog is specifically about costumes, here they are again. For our Xmas contract 2015, we had a new theme- Midnight in Monte Carlo, so we designed our acts around this theme. We did a synchronised aerial hoop act in costumes I had made for Impact Artists a few years back for another theme, but they really suited the act we made as well- a very Monte Carlo Casino-style, big band piece. Maddie also used a costume I had previously made for Impact for her rope act. As it was originally designed for use on aerial umbrellas for “Singing in the Rain” piece, it was designed with “tails”. As she was to wear it on rope, we stitched the tails down so they wouldn’t get caught in the air. For my solo sling act, I went for a formula 1-theme, and wanted a bling sexy “racer/ flag girl” costume. I had an existing costume that I had made for fun a few years back but never found the right moment to wear it, and it suited the act perfectly. I added a bunch of gold sparkly trim to it to finish it off. For our silks act, we decided to go for a Bond-Girl theme. I made brand-new costumes for this act complete with sparkly chains around the neck and red felt guns on our butts.

Impact Artists’ costumes

I made 3 gold disco diva ’70s unitards for Impact for a show they did in Weston-Super -Mare themed “Seaside Special”. The three girls were to perform aerial silks during Hot Chocolate’s set (yes, the original band!). This is what I came up with:

For Best Parties Ever this year, I made a couple of new costumes for a cyr wheel artist called Mike Corrs. I had been asked to design costumes for him and his girlfriend for a Brazilian Rio carnival-themed event, but in the end we didn’t need to make the girl’s costumes as she fitted into some existing costumes. Here are my designs and the costumes in action:

 Impact Artist costumes by me photographed in action Xmas 2015

Posted on 23rd January 2016