Sewing for the Circus

Where have you been, you might ask? Why I have been having adventures, some of them combining my very favourite things: sewing and the circus!

I was asked by Atlantic Cirque to create some costumes for two human statues, and sent along a photo of the general idea of what their client was looking for. I created some silver wrap dresses with an elastic waist, so that as many people as possible could wear the costumes. Sewing for trapeze artists follows the same principles as other sewing, with a few specifications.

1. Big arm holes. Aerialists tend to have very well-developed arm, chest and back muscles (for obvious reasons) and need bigger arm holes for a good range of motion. Knit fabrics are always helpful. I nearly made them out of a swim-suit lining, but there wasn’t enough left on the bolt.

2. Bring on the glitter! When I went fabric shopping, I requested that the employee bring back out the New Year’s Eve fabrics from the back room. Fabrics that reflect the light really work in these situations!

3. Versatility. It’s good to keep in mind all the other possible roles these costumes could be used for: disco ladies, 1930’s, 1940’s, Marilyn Monroe, etc.

4. Danger! Is the artist going to hang upside down in this? Excess fabric can get tangled up in an apparatus.

I used the bodice from my Brushstroke Wrap Dress and created gathers instead of pleats on the shoulders. The bottom is a gathered rectangle with two draped triangles on top (cut on the bias). I’m really pleased with how they came out and am tempted go buy more of that fabric for me! I may have just found my Halloween costume….in June.

Backstage at the circus

Here I am! February has been a bit of a blur, between a major illness and the many rehearsals for the circus show I am performing in right now. Here are a few behind-the-scenes images from the green room and from the wings.

In terms of sewing, there has been a lot of circus-costume alteration and repair happening, but also three different dress projects! I’m looking forward to getting back to my sewing table, but for now, I am swinging through the air with the greatest of ease.

Sewing and the Circus

Ohhh, how fun would that be? It’s a collision of so many great things. I’m not surprised that both women had a background with swim-wear. Many costumes are made from lycra and it’s very important for a performer to be able to move and see in it! There are some other really interesting videos in this behind-the-scences series, such as the one for the wig supervisor!

Share