Dressing Serena in ‘Legally Blonde’

Serena is one of the three “main” Delta Nu’s, and  arguably the “leader”.   She is a cheerleader, and traditionally is dressed in a cheerleader uniform until her appearance in “Legally Blonde Remix”.  She is confident, bouncy and very self-assured.  She has no problem jumping around and acting like a stereotypical cheerleader (and quite possibly showing her “panties”).

I had selected  royal blue, white and gold accents as my California collegiate colors.  Full disclosure, my daughter was cast as Serena.  She really wanted a pleated cheerleader skirt.  Rather than mess with trying to make one,  I opted to purchase  (personally–not out of my costuming budget)  a commercially available “stock” cheerleader outfit from Epic Sports, which if you follow my blog, you will know is more than I typically spend for a costume.

I cannot say enough good things about this company.  First, the size charts they have are spot on.  My daughter (Serena) usually wears a Jr XS to S, or 2-4.  She measured into a size 9 skirt, so that is what I ordered, and it fit perfectly.  The same with the top.  And then, for a costumer . . . they have an AWESOME clearance section.  To make things perfect . . they have a link which says “availability and pricing”.  If you click on that, it lists all of the available colors and sizes.  That makes it easy to see your options.  I outfitted practically the entire  cast of “What You Want”and the exercise portion of “Whipped Into Shape”out of the clearance section, plus ordered some random shirts and dance briefs, with most items costing less than $3.  Now, I did, for example, order all of the cheer skirts in XL and then we took tucks in them to make them fit.  I thought shipping costs were reasonable, and the orders showed up quickly and accurately.

Back to Serena:

Main Cheer Outfit

We ordered a stock 16 pleat blue & white cheer skirt, and a stock top top.  We made a few alterations to the outfit.  We used heat press gold glitter to put a “U” on the front for school designation.  We also took in the top a bit to make it more fitted and added a separating zipper in the back.  Serena had a Cheer Bow made with 4″ wide white grosgrain ribbon and needed to do a quick costume change into her “Dance Team” outfit for the “What You Want” production number.  The zipper made that an easier change.



In addition to the top, skirt &  bow, she wears blue briefs and tan wedge tennis shoes from a thrift store.

Cost:  about $45, shoes $5, briefs $2, bow–scraps

“What You Want”

Typically Serena would be a part of the Cheer Squad for this scene.  For our production the choreographer wanted to do a live tap segment as part of the routine and so Serena was a part of the “Dance Team”. (See Costuming “What You Want”: ‘Legally Blonde’ )


Greek Chorus

For this production I chose to costume the Greek Chorus in bright white and silver.  Creating the cheer outfit for Serena was a super fun project, although we had a few hiccups along the way 🙂  (See Dressing the Delta Nu’s : “Legally Blonde” ).

We started with an old dance dress:

And by old, I mean probably 15+ years.  It had attached feathers, which are already removed.  The silver dots would have been fine to leave on, except they were falling off at a rapid pace.  We ended up peeling them all off.  There were rounds of glue left behind, but they are not noticeable on stage.  The dress had the sheer panels which gave it a fun two piece look.  The skirt could have worked in a pinch, however, it was quite sheer and definitely screamed “dancer” and not “cheerleader”.

My daughter was in love with a fly-away style cheer skirt that we have in our “costume stash”.  We thought it would be fun to make that kind of a skirt.

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Delta Nu December Calendar, Legally Blonde

I started out by purchasing a plain white pleated dance skirt (clearance $5!) from Epic Sports.  In order to figure out the size the top of the skirt would need to be, I had my daughter put on the dance dress.  I then used a large shopping bag to trace a pattern.  I needed the outfit to be stretched to get the correct size, which is why I did it while she had it on.

I opened up the back of the white skirt so that it would lay flat (cutting out the zipper).  I then divided the “back” pattern into sides, taped it together and lay it on top of the skirt.



I really only needed the bottom pleated edge as that is where the cheer skirt would attach to the yoke already on the dance dress.  I measured for the desired finished skirt length and adjusted accordingly.  I used the original skirt for the desired length.

Now, you may notice the uneven edge to the pleats.  That was my attempt at making a fly-away skirt.  The basic idea for that worked.

I slit each of the pleats along the fold lines.  Then I folded the points and pinned them, and then I stitched them in place.

Unfortunately, I did this without looking at the original skirt, and I  made the points much longer/sharper than the skirt I was trying to emulate. Long story short . . my daughter absolutely hated it.  But, I will get to that in a bit.  Back to the skirt.

I double checked that the way I had the pattern laid out made sense in relationship to the garment.


I pinned the pattern securely, and then sewed along the lower line through the paper.


I then tore the pattern off, and carefully trimmed the cheer skirt above the stitching line.


I pinned the cheer skirt on to the yoke and top stitched it down.

And Ta-Dah!

I was actually kind of pleased with it, until my daughter tried it on.  She tried hard to hide her disappointment, but, she clearly hated it.  I did have to concede the point (as a tear slid down her cheek) that it DID look rather like an albino Tinkerbelle.  Besides which, I had been lacking inspiration on how to add sparkles . . . .so . . back to the drawing board.  But first I took OUT all the pleats and pressed them flat.

I took a look at the inside of the blue & white skirt.


The tops of the white panels were actually folds that were just sewn across the top.  I made a rough pattern of the pleat portion and cut it out of silver sequin fabric (my favorite flashy).12026_10209394009473688_1707888573206879270_n

I sewed it to both sides of the previously slit pleat.


And then across the top fold.


I top stitched down one of the edges (the side I chose made logical visual sense at the time).


And just kept repeating the process around the skirt.  I did have to fudge it a bit at the center back to make it come out right.

Below is the top with the silver dots removed.


The final step was to add a silver hologram heat press “U” to the front, and then some silver hologram “sequins” to the waist yoke and around the neck and sleeves.  I also added some heat fix gems to the bodice front.

A white & silver sequin hair bow and silver dance briefs finished the ensemble.  We found silver wedge tennis shoes to complete the look.


It was very twirly, and much improved.

legally blonde thursday rehearsal 416

legally blonde thursday rehearsal 844

Cost:  original dress–donated, sequin fabric–left over from Beauty School Drop Out costumes, silver hologram sequins & “U”–$2, silver briefs–$2, cheer skirt:  $5

Starting out with a pre-made pleated cheer skirt made this a very easy upgrade.

“Legally Blonde Remix”

The Delta Nu’s leave their Greek Chorus genre behind as they come to support Elle in her triumphant return to the courtroom.  I chose to dress the three main DN’s in matching outfits when they first appear.  I hoped that this would provide another way to show that Elle has grown away from who she was back in  California.

I chose to introduce them in short khaki trench coats with matching Delta Nu bags.  They then took those off, and rejoined the “parade” in pink dresses.  The dress that Serena wears has a full short skirt, which is reminiscent of her Cheer leading garb.  She may not be actually wearing her uniform, but she hasn’t left it far behind.  Pink was chosen to show support and solidarity with Elle.

Cost:  Dress:  $8, coat $10, bag $4

Overall I was pleased with the outfits for Serena.  The white outfit ended up turning out really cute and looked great against the black curtain which was the initial backdrop for “Positive”.


3 thoughts on “Dressing Serena in ‘Legally Blonde’

  1. The more I read the funnier this gets! Epic Sports – yes!!!! I costumed High School Musical last year and that is who I used. Out of the million (trust me on this – my husband was the athletic director at a high school) companies that sell this stuff we chose the same place. I found it cheaper to buy from them than I could have made something. I had some questions and actually got on the phone with them at one point and they made sure I had everything I needed. Some of the basketball shirts I needed had to have the high school’s name on them. I have an embroidery machine and thought I would do it myself but it was so reasonable to have them do the work that I did. I love these guys and I will use them every time I need anything that I am able to get from them. Unfortunately my Grease cheerleaders this year had to be made from scratch because I wanted authentic 50’s style cheerleaders.
    Reading this is making Legally Blonde drop further and further down on my short list of shows. At this point in life I want to do a show that I either have most of the costumes or a show that is set in the relatively current time period so it can be sourced. Legally Blonde sounds like way too many costumes for what I am willing to do at this stage of the game. After 30 years of full shows with every costume made from scratch I am over that – haha.


    • That is too funny. We made our “vintage” cheerleader uniforms for “Grease” also. Actually, I thought “Legally Blonde” was easier to costume than “Grease”. However, we have only had any storage space AT ALL for costumes for the past two years, so, it seems like almost any show is starting over to find costumes–altho nerdy 50’s guys transformed into Harvard students quite well this year, lo.


  2. Pingback: A Rapunzel Dress: Upcycle | costumecrazed

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