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Costumes for Competitions

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Hi,

 

I've spent some time chatting with a costume designer/maker who creates costumes for a ballet company. He could make excellent tutus and other costumes for students for competitions but when I suggested it, he said he hasn't because he wouldn't know where to find the customers.

 

Does anyone know the going rate for tutus and where he could let people know about his work?

 

They are such gorgeous costumes, I thought it was worth asking for some advice from the people here.

 

Thanks in advance :)

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Hi Pastel

 

He could create a FB page and 'befriend' dance schools on there, have a stall at dance competitions, set up a website to promote the costumes he makes, create flyers, advertise, eBay, etc.

 

I know my DD's lyrical team are sourcing their costumes from America as there don't seem to be many UK suppliers in the market.

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That seems odd for lyrical, as the costumes for lyrical are easily made by decent dressmakers using standard sewing machines and fabrics that are widely available. DD's dance studio is lucky in having 2 good dressmakers who run up group costumes as needed, most recently 15 lyrical dresses, but I have made such dresses in the past for DD and I'm just a basic mum with a sewing machine.

 

Tutu making, I would agree, is a MUCH more specialised skill, but I am genuinely surprised that they haven't just been able to use a standard dressmaker or handy mum for lyrical dresses.

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The costumes are for competition and you're awarded marks for costume apparently (DD has only recently joined the team and not competed yet).

 

I can't sew for toffee (being diagnosed with RA at 21 years old soon put paid to that!) and we clearly don't have any other parents who are handy with a sewing machine either, so we don't have much choice really :(

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That seems sad. I suspect the lack of local suppliers, though, may be due to the fact that many people / dance schools will make their own or have a link with a dressmaker who can do so, thus making the market for those supplying them commercially very small IYSWIM?

 

If the team could find a style that they liked, or somneone had a single dress that they liked, it might well be worth advertising or searching for a local dressmaker, because it's surprisingly srtraightforward to use an existing costume as a pattern. The dressmaker would also be able to tweakk the costume to fit each child - e.g. the aforementioned lyrical dresses are all the same distance from the floor to hem when on stage, as the dressmaker made them to fit each girl's height and adapts them / swaps them round as the girls grow and some leave and some join the group..

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Tutus can cost from a couple of hundred pounds for a very basic plain one up to a few thousand!

 

I know of a few people in the UK who make them.

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That's interesting, I shall talk to him and see what he thinks. It is just one of those times when you see someone's amazing talent and think it could be enjoyed by more people with a bit of research on his part.

 

Thanks!

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My dancers are currently paying between £175-£350 for tutus and the tutu makers we use all have long waiting lists as do the costume makers. I am sure he would find he could be in great demand Pastel! We are always on the look out for new costume companies and have also ordered from America! Lyrical costumes have moved on a lot from just a basic lyrical dress since we've seen the beautiful costumes on Dance Moms!!

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How much?????

 

How on earth do parents afford that?

 

Dd never did festivals but I've never paid more than £40 for a costume which includes all accessories (& it was usually more like the £30 mark)

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I make tutus, they take 40 plus hours to make. I work for less than minimum wage as no one wants to pay for the skill and labour that goes into them. Luckily I love my work and you get what you pay for!

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Costumes are a huge cost. You can make them cheaper in various ways and we have a big second hand market for them as well.....

 

I guess what you can afford is affected by other issues. For example we are lucky to have excellent state schools here so none of us are paying school fees. I wouldn't be spending what I do on costumes if I had to pay school fees.......

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I can sympathise with your costume designer/maker as I'm now recently officially in the costume design and making business! It's a hobby that just grew and grew and since it's something I love I decided in January this year to go for it.

 

Tutus are different to all other costumes because really they are a labour of love and so difficult to make a profit from. It can take a week to make one and the cost of materials and working at minimum wage don't really work out at prices people generally want to pay :( it's pretty difficult to get decent net too. I've settled for only doing for family and close friends rather than try and be an efficient business in this area as feel it would spoil the enjoyment (even if I got quicker and that's even with using industrial machine that does 5000 stitches per minute!)

 

Lyrical dresses on the other hand are fab and easy to make and can look so effective. I don't know why people have to buy from America .. Maybe the cost of fabric is less or the designs are more varied?

 

I also love the character costumes as they can really come to life and tell a story and be part of the dance which is so rewarding.

 

I hope your friend can set a realistic price and let word of mouth take it's course .. It's what happened for me (even excluding tutus for now) and I've had a lovely flow of orders all word of mouth via dance teachers and Facebook

 

Good luck to him from me :)

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