Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball. Part 1

It’s been almost a month since the Sink the Pink Summer Ball but only now can I finally find the words to describe the whole experience.

Rehearsal at the Troxy, East London

Rehearsal at the Troxy, East London

It was a lot like falling in love. With the people involved, the whole Sink the Pink philosophy and just the opportunity to be completely consumed by colour and fabric and sewing. And I don’t think I’ve ever been more content. It was a blast, it was amazing, the show itself was beyond anything I’ve ever seen let alone been part of. I learnt so much and met so many talented, wonderful people.

The Troxy, backstage ceiling detail

The Troxy, backstage ceiling detail

I was sewing primarily for the 6 dancers but I made a few pieces for Glyn and Amy as well as a number of extra bits like gloves, headpieces etc. On top of the 6 dancers there were about forty drag performers/dancers/artistes, a number of group performances and a few solos. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many, there were also many designers and a lot of brilliant set, props and costume people.

Onto the costumes. I’ll split these over a few posts so here we go. First category was East London tribal something something. The set was swathes and swathes of that amazing wax print cotton so in keeping with that – 6 dancers too good-looking to cover up.

Sink the Pink Summer Ball

Left to Right, Backstage with Ted, Joe, Chester, Jess, Kierah, Raven. Make up by Guy Common.

Honestly, phwoar. They’re so cute so why gild a lily, right? This is elastic, fabric-covered foam pieces and RTW pants – I ain’t sewing plain pants when I can buy them.

Sink the Pink Summer Ball.I learnt that a bread knife cuts through foam quite well but if you really want to get stuck in, an electric knife is a dream. I didn’t get a chance to use one but I appreciate the tip thanks Rob at Sew Amazing, you’ve always got great advice.

Sink the Pink Summer Ball

These looked great onstage. Nice and clean and sharp but they took quite a while and used more elastic than I expected. I had to experiment with the leg straps as the first design was garotte-tastic and all manner of testicle-strangling. Funny in the fitting but not so funny after three songs dancing around onstage. The dancers said it’d be fine and they had no complaints but I just couldn’t leave them cleft in twain like that. The solution was tougher elastic on the horizontal, softer on the vertical and a harness type design around the legs. It worked a treat. Speaking of treats….

Sink the Pink Summer BallHe wears it well. These cubes were straightforward but pretty time-consuming to make. Cut the foam, cut the fabric, stitch the elastic on, stitch up fabric, stuff foam in (swear, curse, this really hurts your hands after a while), hand-stitch closed (god help me) repeat. The main thing was making sure they’d stay on while these guys got stuck into the choreography. And, apart from one instance which was saved by quick thinking on Kierah’s part, they did.

Sink the Pink Summer Ball.

Sink the Pink Summer Ball.

Opening number, to MIA’s XR2. Choreography by Jono Kitchens. Great choreographer and absolute sweetheart a sweetheart too. I’ll get round to the other costumes later next week but, til then, more pics on my Instagram and over on the Sink the Pink website.




About Vanessa

Sewing and assorted nonsense. For reasons that escape me, I left the sunshine and beaches of Australia for the crisps and glitter of London in 2001. I now live in the middle of some kind of feline drop-in centre in East London battling for space to make costumes and clothes. Over on twitter and instagram as @smittenness Email over here ------>
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