Sewing the Sink the Pink Summer Ball 2016, Freakshow Part 1 (Clown warning)

This was the show that made me stop and think “Ah, OK, I get it” and really start trusting my judgement on how things should work for the group costumes. I was able to step back from the work and see it properly rather than tit about wasting time. When I think about last year’s ball and how I planned, cut, stitched, unpicked and changed direction only to go back to my original idea, I could kick myself. It’s like when you are getting ready to go out. You pick out what to wear, change your mind a few dozen times before you realise that your first instinct was best (advice from Jeremy Power circa 1992). In fact, this whole year, in so many aspects of my life, has been about realising I need to trust my instincts more. There’ll always be criticism and room to improve but this time when someone gave me positive feedback I didn’t respond with “oh but, I could have…and don’t look at the (whatever tiny flaw I’d blown up in my mind)”.

I’m just going to cover the clowns in the opening number in this post then write up the rest, keep those clowns quarantined (and apologies to my coulrophobic sister).



STP Summer Ball 2016. Clockwise top L-bottom R, Amie, Joe, Laura. Micheal. Sally, Brooke. Core STP dancers.

Neoprene and netting collars, which I made by hand and wide trousers. I had wanted that harlequin fabric but none to be found and besides, this worked out better.


These collars were mostly an exercise in measuring properly and wrestling the neoprene into shape. Why neoprene? Why not? It’s hardy, holds shape and this had good texture. I thought I’d made them too large for the lifts involved in the opening number but that was another lesson learned. To explain a little, with three months between shows, deadlines can be quite tight for all of us. Co-ordinating rehearsals for 40 plus performers requires a lot of skill and dedication on the part of everyone invloved. I go to rehearsals when I can to see the choreography, sneak some fittings in and catch up (but mainly for the lols and to see everyone really). In the past, I’ve sat there thinking, “oh no, how will that bit of choreo work with what I had in mind?” But, I’ve figured out is that there’s always a solution and it’s usually easier than I expected.


Lift by Joe and Sally. Bonus backflip courtesy of Foxxy


As well as these 6 looks, I put together another 2 clowns.


Send in the clowns….oh Dave’s already here… Tester there, bringing your Stephen-King-It fears to life. These had an added “ball sack” pouch inside the front. Observe in this link to  Freakshow fun (as shot and edited by Craig (dreamboat) Heathcote and crew)

Creeping ever closer to my unintentional goal of dressing all of east London’s drag scene…..







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 2016, Freakshow Part 1 (Clown warning)

  1. I love them! All of them! Also: neoprene—what’s not to love? The lower weight drapes as well as anything for evening wear and the more dense is like car foam headliner’s vastly sophisticated cousin. Bravo!

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