Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball 2015. Joan Oh in Pineapple Chiffon

Here’s a fun bit of costume sewing – better get your sunglasses, Joan Oh glows in this frock!


This was one of the costumes I designed and made for the Sink the Pink Summer Ball, held in June this year. That’s Raven Mandela on the right and yes, that’s me in the middle. Bear in mind, it would’ve been about 2am by the time this was taken. Considering the amount I’d been sewing the weeks before, the fact that I’m upright at that stage of the evening is an achievement in itself (claims that I fell asleep shortly afterwards are unproven. Lies, damned lies).

But really, who could sleep with all this beauty and colour?


The intended inspiration for this was a Gloria Estefan type look. Somewhere along the line I inadvertently made Joan into a pineapple.


The dress is a basic halter with a mini-length skirt. The choreography was quite intense so the sides are attached via strips of elastic. I wanted chiffon overlay detail so there’d be good movement and experimented a bit with placement (the pic above was a rejected method) until I found what I wanted.


Finishing the all edges of the chiffon by singeing was probably the worst part. Not because it was difficult but because it was so boring. So boring, but given the only exciting part of singeing chiffon is the possibility of setting it on fire, boring suited me just fine. Singeing rather than hemming gives the chiffon a bit more texture, the edges contract in an interesting way and won’t fray. It’s just a matter of hovering the fabric over a tea light candle but I’d definitely advise doing this in a well-ventilated space and having a bowl or tray of water nearby to throw the fabric in if it catches on fire. That stuff burns fast, don’t take any risks.


You may recognise the Flamingotits costume I made for Amy up there too. After singeing the chiffon strips, I attached them by hand to the skirt. The bodice was all done by machine and I had one chance to fit the dress on Joan on the afternoon before the show. Turns out, (my) tits aside, we’re about the same size. I have the body of a man ten years my junior, who knew?

I wish I’d taken more photos of this dress on the night but I’m consoled by the fact that Sink the Pink have released a run of t-shirts of Joan Oh in this frock. I’m just waiting for mine to be delivered! Pretty gorgeous, yeah? Inside and out, Joan’s wonderful. Plenty more of Joan to come in future posts, I love making things for this one!



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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2 Responses to Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball 2015. Joan Oh in Pineapple Chiffon

  1. Nothing wrong with looking like a pineapple. Another fab creation – I don’t know how you do it! Joan looks great.

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