Sewing a Beyonce number for Raven Mandella.

This leotard pattern hasn’t really been put away since April. I started by using a Burda-style pattern to get a basic idea of shape but I’ve chopped it up and changed it so much that it’s unrecognisable. One day I’ll make the sulphur-crested cockatoo leotard I’ve been dreaming about (for myself) but that’ll have to wait . Until then, have a Beyonce.

I wish I could remember more about making this but it came so hot on the heels of the work I did for the Summer Ball that it’s all a blur of power mesh and optimism. One thing that’ll make my life easier is having a coverstitch machine, I’ve tried experimenting with different finishes and stitches on my sewing machine but I end up using binding around my edges every time. It’s worked so far but any alternative suggestions are welcome.

Beyonce  leotard

I’ve noticed that I do a lot of side panels in power mesh. This works for me in terms of allowing for more stretch, always a good thing when there isn’t a lot of time for second (or first) fittings. I always have the measurements I need but they might be a few months old. Another plus for side power-mesh is the ventilation aspect. Clubs and summer festivals can be hot, sticky, sweaty places.

This was surprisingly easy fabric to work with and the details on the shoulder and hip (not shown in this work in progress pic) were straightforward enough. I used to mess about trying to machine stitch everything but these days I find hand-stitching that kind of detail is quicker and gives me more control over placement.

I couldn't pick a favourite out of these two looks.

I couldn’t pick a favourite out of these two looks. *

Personally, I enjoyed the boots-and-sunglasses-in-the-kitchen look but it wasn’t quite Beyonce. It was perfect for getting me a celebratory cider though.

This was for Raven Mandella, who’s resident drag artist at Popcorn, Heaven. I met Raven about 18 months ago at a rehearsal for the Sink the Pink Summer Ball in 2014. It marked the beginning of my association with Sink the Pink and there was a lot to take in, a lot of names (2 each, minimum) and faces (in and out of make-up) to learn and measurements to take. I have a real soft spot for the dancers I met during that show, especially Ted Rogers, Chester and Raven. Glyn and Amy aside, these three were some of the very first people I met when I got to know the rest of  Sink the Pink. Raven’s one of the most talented and hardest-working dancers I’ve ever met. He’s also into some very intense and rigorous choreography, no slacking off here, so I had to make sure every single seam was reinforced with threats and prayers and pleas as well as the usual-overlocking.

To get an idea of the kind of thing I’m talking about, get a load of this. Wait til 2:38, then make a chiro appointment. I could watch Raven all day. You’ll also see a bit of Glyn (on the right) at the beginning in a black and silver catsuit I made.

Jordan and Jason (backing dancers) are no slouchers either. I made catsuits for them as well, but did I take pics of them? No. Dammit. There’s a youtube clip out there and they look very hot. I’ll have to arrange to get some decent pics soon.

I get so much joy out of doing this. There are a lot of tight deadlines and problem solving but I think I thrive on that kind of pressure (she says with the luxury of not having a deadline for the next two weeks, ask me how I feel next week)

More Raven over here on facebook and instagram

photo  on right from WUT? Club facebook page  (link directs to a relatively SFW pic of Raven dancing)


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 a Beyonce number for Raven Mandella.

  1. Another fab costume and those legs! Wow! Xx

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