Studio Happenings: Adventures in Rhinestones and Shirring


 This week I have been busy working on a little side project, but it's giving me the chance to add lots of extra details and use some techniques I haven't dabbled in since fashion school. Back in the day at school, we added lots of sparkle in the form of hot fix rhinestones to some figure skating costumes that we were making for a local figure skating group. It was an experience for sure, but I haven't had a chance or reason to break out the hot fix tool since then until this past week.

After a quick trip to the store where I quickly settled in on some awesome rhinestones, I set about laying them out in a quick design for this dress up costume for a really sweet little lady. Yeah, I am going all out on this one, I think S's Halloween costume this year might end up having a ton of sparkle added to it, just an idea! :).

To start, I roughly laid out the rhinestones on the bodice in a fairly symmetrical design (well, I tried to that is). For the layout, I just used my eye and tried to make it look visual pleasing. Once I liked the placement (fyi I used a bent pair of tweezers to place the rhinestones and move them around, it makes it much easier), I use the hot fix tool to heat up the glue and attach them to the bodice. The bodice ended up with 45 rhinestones in total. Which I think is the perfect amount for this dress up costume.

Next, I set to working on the sleeves. This time working on a power mesh surface, I knew it would be a little bit trickier since the power mesh is not a solid surface. Before laying out the the rhinestones, I put down two pieces of wax paper and set the sleeves with the cuff part on top of the wax paper. This way the glue from the rhinestones would not get stuck to the table and I would be able to peel off the wax paper after the rhinestones were cooled. After deciding on placement (I went with the center of the sleeve, so the sparkle ends up on the top of the wrist), I began laying out the design with the rhinestones, and then attaching them to the sleeves. Overall, I think that it turned out pretty well with just enough sparkle!

After the rhinestones came some shirring and let me tell you it was a tough one to get right.


One trip to the store, one video tutorial watched, lots of wasted elastic thread, and six tries later I finally got the settings right and the perfect amount of shirring happened. It turns out with my first tries (the ones on the left) the elastic thread was too old and did not have enough stretch left to properly recover. Once I tried the other elastic thread I had (third one in from the left and it was black elastic) I was finally getting the right result but I really needed the white elastic thread. After I picked up a spool I managed to get the back bodice shirred completely using about 7 meters of elastic thread. 

The dress is almost finished and I can't wait to see it all put together. This dress up costume as been a really great way to practice some different techniques. I was thinking about making a tutorial on how I did the rhinestones if anyone is interested? 

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