Bombie Samba Costume #2: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This is the second Bombie Samba dress I made for the “backup dancers”.  I was continuing with the theme of black dress and red ruffles.

For this outfit, I began with a black sequin peplum top.

peplum top

The sleeveless top had a scoop neck, a zip back and an almost-circle peplum.  My first step was to add a skirt with a hi-low hemline to the bottom of the top.  I began by tracing the lower curve on to black fabric.  Note that the back of the top lines up with the back fold on the fabric.

tracing the bottom of the peplum top

Next, using the measurements of the cast member I thought the costume would fit, I decided how long I wanted the “low” part of the back hem, and I sketched out a skirt.

shaping the skirt addition

I cut it out, being sure to remember to leave an overlap at the top for stitching.


The seam is in the center front, which isn’t the ideal spot, but the skirt is full enough it doesn’t stand out.

Next came the sleeves.  I decided to add some ruffle embellishment to the sleeves.

I cut strips of circle ruffles.  There are many youtube tutorials on how to do this.  Look up “cascade ruffles” or “circle ruffles”.  There are also lots of tutorials on how to add fishing line to the edges of the ruffles and an assortment of ways to do it, depending upon your equipment resources.  Basically you decide how wide you want your ruffles to be, and then cut a circular “snail” out of a square of fabric.  The pictures below are very rough drafts of what it would look like.  The yellow in the second picture is showing how much outer edge of ruffle you get  . . circles are amazing things 🙂

Once I had the strips cut, I zig-zagged fishing line to the outer edge by folding the edge over the line and stitching.  I did not finish the inside edge, but had cut the organza with a pinking sheers.

I wanted to do something a little different, so decided to add vertical embellishments to the sleeves.  I marked the sewing lines with tailor’s chalk.

stitching lines drawn on sleeves

I ran some black flat sequin trim down the center (the kind headbands were made out of a number of years back), and then flanked the trim with four rows of ruffles, accented with red sequins.  The sleeves were then inserted into the armscyce.  The wrist edges ended with a casing and some elastic.

Here is a detail of the sleeve trim.  The choice to put the sequins at the base of the ruffle, rather than on the edges of the ruffles, was deliberate, as a way to add some bling, but not too much.

detail of the sleeve trim

I opted to put straight ruffles along the hem of the dress.  I did this because straight ruffles are much easier to make, and I wanted to do a little experiment to see what the difference would be.

I cut two strips of organza–one black and one red, in two different widths.  I stitched the two of them together so that they would be easier to gather as one unit.  Then I edged the outside edge with fishing line.  The piece was divided and pinned to corresponding division on the dress, and squish gathered between the pins.  A row of string sequins finished the edge of the black skirt.

The finished dress:

Cost:  Top $3, black fabric for the skirt and sleeves, organza, sequin trim and string sequins.

If this had been a stand-along costume I probably would have added another row of ruffles around the edge of the skirt.  I also thought that an embroidered motif would have looked nice on the bodice.  However, I wanted the chorus dresses to have a similar feel, and so I felt this dress had enough.  I do like the sleeves, and will be anxious to see how they end up looking on stage during movement.  The back of the skirt is full, and should have some nice swing during the dancing.

I like the look of the circle ruffles, and I think they would have been nice around the bottom of the skirt, however, for the purpose of this costume, and as “one of many”, I think the time savings in using straight fabric was a reasonable trade-off.

I really do like the sleeves, and they give a fun unexpected look.  I could see them in the Emerald City, or on a Royalty, or to give an animal look like wings . . down the back/over the top of a hood?

One oops about this outfit is that there is a bit of sheer lace at the bottom of the peplum.  If the cast member wears black shorts, it shouldn’t be an issue.

see through lace--will need black shorts or a slip



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