Using flatback crystals, sew on stones and rhinestones to embellish theatre and dance costumes has been popular in the last few years, and now the sparkles are hitting the ice rink too! T.V programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, Ru Paul’s Drag Race and Dancing On Ice have really heightened the popularity of bling on a performance outfit and we’re here to show how Zodiac crystals can do just that.

We’ve recently been working with Sandra, a very talented costumier who embellishes competitive ice skating costumes. She uses non hotfix rhinestones and sew on stones in the Zodiac crystal brand to enhance the look of her final design, the Zodiac gems offer a high quality sparkle and look amazing with the colour scheme used. Sandra recently came to us for rhinestones to use for the Latvian senior team costumes, for a competition in the Czech Republic. Her use of Zodiac sew on shapes in different shades of blue and AB is really effective and looks gorgeous against the bright royal blue fabric.

We spoke to Sandra about her latest project, and was keen to find out why she chose to use Zodiac crystals. Here is a snapshot of our conversation:

CP. Why is it important to decorate an ice skating costume with crystals?
S. All ice skating costumes have something in common, they are comfortable, able to stretch with your body movement and they do not get in the way of performing jumps, spins, lifts, throws and choreographic elements. But, each costume is custom designed to suit the music selected, as well as the single skater or couples taste. You want to stand out, have your costume compliment the ice skating programme and have people and most importantly the judges remember you. The colour, cut, and flow of the fabric are all important, but what really makes the costumes come to life are the embellishments. Crystals are usually the first choice to really finish off a costume, to ensure that the sparkle catches the lights and making you stand out. Often, the crystals are used to make a pattern on the costume while at other times, they are used to just accent parts. The larger the crystals, the more sparkle, but it comes at a cost: added weight which can impact the way a skater performs their elements. So, it’s a balancing act to get the right number of crystals to get the right effect. More experienced, elite skaters may have more highly embellished costumes that look good on television while the younger developing skaters will want enough the make the costume look special but not make them feel different than when they train in their training outfits. Some skaters also put crystals on their skates, on their warm up jackets and even on their training gear.
CP. How long did it take to complete the two costumes?
S. In an elite ice dance couple, you must make both the lady and man’s costumes, adding crystals to both. The time spent sewing the costumes can be around 10 hours each, much more, (up to 30 hours) if you need to do a lot of hand sewing. Adding the crystals can add another 4-5 hours, minimum. For younger skaters, the costumes are much more straight forward and you don’t want to overdo the embellishments so the whole process can usually be done in a weekend. I find the design process the hardest part! How to choose amongst all the fabrics and crystal colours! The AB crystals tend to be the most impressive though so using those more sparingly on a younger skater’s costume works well.

CP. Why did you choose to use Zodiac crystals?

S. I used to use Swarovski crystals exclusively! But since I am not considered a business and can’t buy them anymore, I moved to using Preciosa mostly. They have as much impact as the Swarovski, have similar colours, are a better price and have some extra colours as well. I found Zodiac when I was looking for some larger crystal shapes and they were available in colours that I couldn’t find elsewhere. They blended in well with the rest of the crystals from Preciosa and the quality was good.

CP. Which application method do you use, gluing or sewing?

S. Larger crystals and unusual shaped crystals are best sewn on. If the judges see that part of the costume has come off on the ice, you get a deduction so it’s really important that all crystals are well attached. Smaller crystals are best attached with a good strong glue that dries clear such as E6000 or Gem Tac.

Performance costume

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