[Note: The weather here just keeps getting colder and colder, and yet my outdoor photo shoot outfits keep getting skimpier and skimpier!]
The Selfish Seamstress has been described as “nitpicky,” so as you can imagine, ballet suits her just fine as a hobby. She is therefore also very picky about her ballet skirts. If you have a perfect ballet body with perfectly long toothpicky ballet legs, you can get away with wearing just about anything to class. The Selfish Seamstress, however, has the short, squat muscular legs of a gynmast and therefore has experimented quite a bit to get the right flattering grown-up skirt for ballet class (for stage, anything goes.)
A ballet skirt for grown-ups can’t be too long – once it starts approaching knee length it it cuts the leg line making you look shorter and prevents the teacher from seeing what you’re doing with your turnout. Also, the privilege of wearing a long skirt is often reserved for the teacher herself. Unlike a ballet skirt for little kids, it can’t be ruffly or gathered or elastic waist. For the Selfish Seamstress, the classic ballet wrap skirt is the only option she’ll consider. And it has to have minimal flare, again to lengthen the lines. So basically it has to be clean and simple and all business, but still pretty and elegant. I’m even skeptical of the floral pattern I used in the skirt pictured above and would much have preferred solid black, but that’s all I had in my stash as I’m not much of a chiffon stasher.
A ballet skirt is just about one of the easiest things you can make (provided you can bear to work with sheers) – one piece and some ribbon and that’s just about it. Nice since they usually run about $25 in a dance store (and never fit and hang the way I want them to!) If you’re going to make one for yourself or for the special dancer in your life (sigh, because some people will never learn), take my advice: polyester. Ballet clothes may look all dainty and delicate, but they are hardcore athletic gear that have to stand up to the rigors of ballet class, which means sweat and a lot of movement. And it’ll be balled up in a ballet bag afterwards with dirty dance shoes and other sweaty clothes, so you want to be able to toss it into the machine or at least do a vigorous hand wash. Silk is a not a good idea.
The pattern for my simple ballet skirt for grown ups is available on my downloads page. It’s tapered to be slightly longer in the back than in the front. It should fit most people, but ballet large is not the same as regular people large so I’ve specified it for XS-M to be on the safe side. If you’re not sure, you can add a few inches through the center and it’ll just wrap a little more. So, here you go, dancers and people who sew for dancers – a pattern the perfect ballet skirt for grown-ups. At least according to the Selfish Seamstress’s nitpicky standards.
P.S. Sigh. Since you asked, yes, you could make this for kids and teens too.