Trial 1 DIY Aerial Costumes: Fabric Paint, Cutting, & Rhinestones

This blog goes through some trial DIY aerial costumes. The first is just an old tank top that I test painted. The second I had an old unitard I was going to throw away. I re-dyed and cut, painted and rhinestoned to make it special and customized.

Intro:

I don’t know how to sew and I never had a nack for drawing or painting. Soo…I thought it would be a great endeavor to make myself some aerial costumes. (I don’t know why I always think I can do these crazy things…) I started by brainstorming ways to create…since I cant sew I needed to start with a pre-made base.

I was looking discount leotards, unitards, and biketards (I didn’t know if I was going to be any good at costume making so I wanted to keep it cheap). I did a web search and pinned a bunch of potential items. I tried to keep it “cheap” cotton, white or nude. Here is my Pinterist page.

NOTE: I had been thinking about making a costume a few years ago but never actually got around to doing it. I had 2 cotton white unitards (one has tight legs and the other has wide legs (the wide leg one was a mis-order & not what I wanted for aerial but it will be a good trial piece). I also already had a good base of fabric paints in metalics, blue, yellow, white and black. (And I was slowly buying more and more. I need to stop my visits to Michaels and my late night Amazon shopping binges.)

I’m also creating a list of awesome aerial costume makers/websites because although I am loving costumes that I make myself sometimes you need a professional costume. Please leave a comment if you have other DIY costume ideas or know an awesome aerial makers.

Trial tank top:

First I started by drawing some different ideas out on some paper. I was trying some swirls and other patterns. I have little or no artistic talent when it comes to drawing…but I’m going to see where it goes.

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Then I took an old tank top that I was going to throw away and put some cardboard between the layers and sketched some lines with a pencil. Then started painting.

Meh, not that great but that’s why its an old tank that I was just testing my skills on. It does look better on than on the table…

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Trial Unitard: Old light pink cotton unitard

It was stretched out and faded and has a few holes starting in the leg and crotch. I was going to throw it away but then I stopped and thought it would be a great piece to start with because if I ruined it I wouldn’t feel bad…I’d just have wasted a ton of time. It took me an afternoon to dye, cut, and paint (we went out to dinner while the front was drying and I finished painting the back that evening). Then the next morning I ironed and added rhinestones (which took less than an hour).

Ombre Fabric Dye:

I wanted to refresh the color and I had a package of Dylon Flamingo Pink fabric dye that I had purchased 6 or 7 years ago and never used. This is the video I tried to follow. Ombre fabric dye video.

  1. Wash without using fabric softener.
  2. I put the unitard on and marked it with safety pins where I wanted to gradients to be (chest, hips, knees).
  3. I found a hanger and some ribbon and I used my laundry room cabinets to make “hooks” so I wouldn’t have to hold the unitard all the time.
  4. Then I got the unitard wet and rang it out.
  5. I set up my bucket in the sink. I also set out the dye, salt, measuring spoon, scissors, plastic spoon to stir on the counter.2016-04-02 14.38.55
  6. I heated water up in the microwave in a plastic bowl and dissolved the fabric dye and added the salt.
  7. I made sure the tap water was very hot and started filling my bucket in the sink. Then I added in my fabric dye mixture.
  8. I submerged the unitard up to the waist and kept dipping it from waist to knees for about 20 min.
  9. Then for about 10 min I dipped it from chest to waist.2016-04-02 14.38.22
  10. Then let it sit for about 10 more minutes hanging with just the knees to the bottom in the bucket.2016-04-02 14.39.10
  11. Then I rinsed the unitard until it ran mostly clear.
  12. Then put it through my washer and dryer. 2016-04-02 15.58.38

Cutting:

I’ve seen some instagram posts and a YouTube video by Adam Slacks with a unitard that has been cut up and I really liked that look. I wondered if I could do it myself. I had tried to cut a t-shirt before and it turned out OK…so I decided to give it a try.

I used pins from Pinterest for inspiration:

Steps:

  1. I put the unitard on and kept the safety pins in to mark body landmarks (chest, hips, knees).
  2. Then I took a pencil and marked where I wanted to make my cuts.
  3. I used a piece of cardboard inside the unitard to help stretch it out and keep shape.
  4. I used a ruler to help keep the lines straight but I ended up eyeballing most of the cut.2016-04-02 17.30.12
  5. As I braided I used the safety pins to hold the final braid in place.
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  6. Then I just used a simple thread and needle and sewed the end of the braids together with knots.
  7. I bought an inflatable dress mannequin from ebay for about $25
  8. I kept it on the mannequin for the painting and rhinestones.
  9. I used a pencil to draw some swirls then painted some silver and pink swirls. With the silver at the top and the pink towards the bottom to keep with the ombre feel.
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  10. Then finally I put some rhinestones on it with the clear crystals at the top and the pink crystals towards the bottom.
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  11. Finally, I put it on and tried it out on my hoop. Fiphone - 24Fiphone - 29

NOTE: Cutting will make the size change sometimes smaller and sometimes larger. The S curve cut/braid really pulled the fabric out of line and it was too small for me. It ripped on my first trial. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed because…well its already cut up. But I suggest a few trial runs before using a cut unitard in a performance to make sure the cuts don’t rip in inappropriate areas.

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