crystal costume design

by Dot Speight of Rumpelstiltskin and designer of the Dolly Board


From as far back as I can remember the glitz of show people excited me. I wanted to be just like them. I looked on wide eyed at their beautiful costumes which shone and sparkled as they caught the light….. that was the beginning. I knew crystal costume design was the place to begin.

My mother taught me to sew from the age of around 8. I asked her for a sewing machine for Christmas and she bought me one… It wasn’t quite what I had in mind as it was a plastic child's one…. “No Mother,” I said, “ I want one like yours! A real one."

After much persuasion and promises on my part that I would not get my fingers caught under the needle, she agreed to let me use it. She is 86 now so I am sometimes showing her a thing or two, haha!

Before I make a costume, I spend more time running the process around my head than I do in the actual sewing. It’s a thought process I go through each time. From the music that will assist the routine, to the shape of the dancer, to the performance that has been choreographed. I get lots of inspiration from the shows I have seen in Vegas (I visit this country a lot), magazines, social media, etc. Once I know which way I’m going to go with it, I cut and sew!

Then comes the best part! This is the part that brings the costume to life, the crystallizing using non hotfix flatback crystals and crystal sew on stones. I use E6000 to glue the crystals and to pick up the crystals I use a jewel setter.

vrystal costume design 2

My life saver and best friend is the Dolly Board. Without her some of the intricate designs I create would not be possible. I don’t have time for stones falling all over the floor like they used to before I designed this board. I definitely don’t have time for sewing appliques to a cushion (a former thing I did which was very annoying).

Designing my costumes without the Dolly Board, it would be like trying to mend a car without your tools!

Crystal Parade dolly board 4

In the attempts to get the size right, I ended up with all the different sizes from a small child to adult size 14-18 ‘Hour Glass’. To have all 5 sizes at my disposal is very useful. I can work on more than once costume at a time for several customers whether they are a small child to an adult.

The Dolly Board has a handy built in handle and is light, but strong enough to be transported. I have on many occasion been seen taking my work on the train when I am travelling. Out comes the Dolly Board, complete with a costume on it and then from my bag of tricks I retrieve the glue and the crystals and start crystallizing. I could never do that before while working on crystal costume design. It's like any time, any place anywhere with the Dolly board.

The most wonderful feeling for me is when I see my costumes sparkling under the lights on stage just as I remember when I was a little girl.


Thanks to Dot Speight of Rumpelstiltskin for taking her valuable time to share some insights into the world of costume creation and the Dolly Board.



We have a stunning collection of trimmings, the latest fashionable crystals, custom tools and design elements for your crystal costumes and nail art.

Performance costume

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