How to Make Dance Costumes

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How to Make Dance Costumes

Dance costumes can vary from the very simple to the most elaborate. However, once there is a pattern to follow with detailed instructions, basic sewing tools, and appropriate fabrics, it is relatively easy to make a dance costume. The type of dance determines the costume needed. For example, a typical ballet costume comes with a tutu and leotard or bodice, while jazz dance costumes vary widely. Sellers in online marketplaces such as eBay offer almost all of the products needed to create dance costumes.


Gather Tools and Materials

A variety of fabrics can be used to complete a tutu. The selection of the textile is dependent on the nature of the dance event. For example, using tulle and voile fabrics to make the tutu may be more appropriate for a formal event than using other fabrics.


Tools and Materials


Sewing machine

The machine helps put the garment together – oversewing, hemming, joining


Tulle, organza, voile, and candy floss are good choices for a tutu

Basic leotards

Accessories dress up the plain leotard and can transform it into a variety of dance costumes


Sequins, glitter, beads, matching thread, elastic band

Measuring tools

Tape measure, clear grid ruler

Cutting tools

Cloth scissors, paper scissors

Glue gun

Used for attaching sequins and other accessories


Many variations of costumes can be made. For example, accessorising a leotard can transform it into a showgirl costume. Reworking the basic tutu also provides many possibilities. 


Putting the Tutu Together

A tutu is a bell, pancake-shaped, or circular-flair skirt worn by a dancer. The Basque or a waistband fits the top of the tutu. The following steps show how to put the tutu together with an elasticised waistband. The UK Royal Academy of Dance noted that the circular skirts were the most flattering.


Taking the measurement of the waistline is the first step. Getting a precise size requires the waist area to be free from clothing. The slimmest area of the torso is usually the waistline. However, bending the body from side-to-side can help identify the waistline. Where the body bends is the line to measure. The length of the tutu measures from the waistline down to where the skirt ends. The Royal Academy of Dance recommends the tutu be at mid-calf length.

  • Make the waistband with elastic that is 1 inch wide by sewing the ends together on the machine. The elastic waistband should be a tad shorter than the waist measurement, and the colour should match that of the skirt material.
  • Multiply the skirt length by two and add three inches for the hem. Cut the material into five strips.
  • Fold one strip in half over the elastic waistband making sure the ends are equal. Stitch the two layers of material together just below the elastic band. Do the same for the other four strips of material. Hem the skirt to finish the tutu.

Some materials such as organza and candyfloss fray easily, so if a serger machine is available, oversew the edges.


Accessorising the Leotard

Sequins can adorn the neckline and sleeves of the leotard. For a more elaborate costume, the entire top can have sequins and beads. Sewing the sequins on or using a glue gun are common ways to affix the sequins onto the leotard. It is quite easy to make patterns with the sequins using the free hand method. If an intricate pattern is needed, stencils come in handy. The sequins make the showgirl costume stand out.


How to Buy Dance Costumes on eBay

Dance costumes are available from many sellers on eBay. Some of the individual pieces, such as leotards, tutus, tights, ballet shoes, and tap shoes, are easy to obtain from traders in the marketplace. A search using the keyword 'Dance Costume' will provide a wide selection from which to choose. To narrow the search you can click a category on the left such as 'Dancewear'. Whether you choose to buy the dance costume or make it from scratch, there is a seller on eBay to provide for your unique needs.

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