Creating the Nutcracker!!!!

This is the album that shows the making of the Nutcracker – his costume and his amazing mask. Darling Daughter made the shirt and the mask, which as you can see is freaking incredible. The jacket is reversible – navy blue for the party scene when the nutcracker was human and red for when he was the Nutcracker soldier. There should be a picture of the navy side in one of the other albums. Maybe. I don’t know.



Binding a Very Large Book

A while back I promised to post photos of the various props and costumes that were made for the Nutcracker and today I am finally posting about the massive book my darling daughter made. This thing is huge – 12″ by 18″ – and so incredible! The photo album showcasing most of her progress from start to finish is below the image.


Mother Ginger!

In this album, you can see how I made Mother Ginger. I had three months to figure out how to create her and then put her together. My goal was a costume that was light enough to be worn by a young lade and big enough to house multiple children. I started off with 108″ 40 denier tricot fabric, 1/2 PEX tubing, and webbing. I made a circle skirt for the top part of the skirt and then I was going to make long rectangles for bottom half. I was going to sew tubes for the PEX directly with the tricot. The circle skirt was wonky due to the uneven stretchy nature of the tricot and I hated it. That ate up half of my time and I spent way too many hours brooding over it. I also managed to pierce my middle finger but luckily that didn’t bleed too badly and it healed quickly.

So… back to the drawing board. I scrapped fabric tube plan and the circle skirt and went with a method I saw on line – using a large rectangle of material (height of skirt by width of the skirt, in this case 8 yards.) This is the pattern I used for the beginning:

I sewed the 1 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon into rows and inserted the PEX to see how it was faring. Needless to say, 8 yards in a bit too much for anything less than 7 yards of PEX. So, I had three rectangles – a 4 yard for the top, a 6 yard for the middle and an 8 yard for the bottom. 1/2 inch PEX is too flimsy for such a large skirt. Luckily, there is 3/4 inch PEX (and 1 inch but that starts to get way too heavy.) While 1 1/2 inch ribbon barely contains the 3/4 inch PEX, it was a HUGE struggle getting it through. I had to move up to 2 inch grosgrain ribbon, salvaging a few of the 1/2 inch PEX channels.

Webbing was added to give support (and doubling the weight) and sew on the hardware  – The suspenders to hold the darn thing up! I used a tactical belt to also help hold it up.Because I started out with a wide 8 yard piece and I sewed on so many ribbons, it is possible to wear this thing with 2 foot stilts.

Now, onto the dress. I started with a bodice pattern and quickly realized the shoulder straps had to go. Simple solution – elastic straps through the sparkly material. The skirt is once again 40 denier tricot – and the pattern was done out of desperation due to the cuts made for my original plan making the material too small to be used as one piece. Luckily, I really like how it turned out. There are also three panels of lycra so the costume can be worn by a much bigger person or the panels can be cinched up to be worn by a normal sized person.

My darling daughter was a major helper – sewing on the webbing and doing a lot of the serging and being my model to make sure it looked okay once it was on. She also added lights so the little kids could see when they were under the skirt ready to pop out onto the stage. Poor Mother Ginger couldn’t go anywhere without a horde of kids trying to get under there! But the actress did an amazing job and she was an audience favorite!

It was the week before the show that I finally got the whole thing together and there was a lot of prayer involved because I was ready to burn the entire project. I am grateful that my prayers were answered and my head cleared up to uncover the design that was buried deep, deep within. There’s probably many things that I am forgetting but there you have it.

To see the whole process (at least the part that I took pictures of) click on the link below.


(Clara and the Nutcracker Prince being silly after the last show!)


Nutcracker projects…COMING SOON!

We have been exceedingly busy the past couple of weeks but a break will soon be here and I will be posting all of the pictures I’ve taken along the way of our various projects. I have to say that I am massively impressed by my daughter – the props she has created, the costumes she made, the immense amount of help she has given me throughout this whole process… I would never have been able to complete the costumes without her. Everyone send her a huge hug! You all are going to be just amazed at her talent!

We are currently in the midst of tech week of Nutcracker. The final dress rehearsal is Thursday and then performances on Friday and Saturday. There are THREE performances on Saturday. And in case I haven’t mentioned it, my Darling Daughter is Clara ❤ She will be en pointe as well as tapping.

one of our projects – CHEETAHS!

If you click on the link, it should take you to the process of making two cheetahs from Lion King for a local school production. I don’t know if they were even used but the darling daughter and I had a lot of fun figuring out how to make them and then making them. The faces are particularly precious – they have so much personality! Darling daughter painted them and she did an amazing job!

We each sculpted a face and then covered them in plaster wraps (the kind used to wrap broken bones.) And then we set the faces on the bodies that were made out of chicken wire, wood dowels, shop towels, poster board, as well as plaster wraps.  Check out the pictures if you’re interested in seeing how we made it happen. dav