How many of you have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on folklorico costumes? I know I have! Growing up I was very lucky to have a Nana who made all of my costumes for me, but as I grew up and she was no longer able to sew as often I began looking for ways to save as much money as possible on costuming.
When I returned from my adventures at the University of Colima I decided to start my own dance troupe (BFLA), without realizing how difficult and expensive it was going to be to obtain decent costumes for the group. I had three months to sew ten skirts for our very first show at the Ford Amphitheater and I was freaking out! I had no money to hire someone to make the skirts so I drove to Walmart, bought a cheap sewing machine, did some research on YouTube, and taught myself to sew.
It has been four years since then and I have managed to make 4 sets of costumes (Veracruz, Revolucion, Comala, Escaramuzas) for my company with very little money. Below are my 9 valuable ways to save money when making folklorico costumes. I hope that you are able to use a few or all of them to save money.
#1 Learning Yourself
I have to admit that what has helped me save THE MOST money is sewing most costumes myself. Even if you decide that you don't want to sew twenty dresses yourself you can still save a lot of cash by learning to sew a basic folklorico skirt. Keep following my blog and I will teach you how to sew a basic practice skirt soon.
#2 Sally's Synthetic Hair
For about 15 years I made my folklorico braids with yarn assuming that it was cheaper than using synthetic hair. A couple years ago I walked into Sally's Beauty Supply and was amazed to see that a large pack of synthetic hair (enough to make one hair piece), was only $1.29! Not only is it cheaper, but it lasts longer and looks real. Why not use synthetic hair if the goal is to fool the audience to think it's your own?
#3 Boxer Bloomers
All you need to make a decent pair of bloomers is a pair of white boxers, lace, and elastic. Just adjust the legs with elastic and add lace at the ends. These bloomers will last a lifetime and are no more that ten dollars total!
#4 Neutral Colored Shoes
I had the members of my company buy these neutral colored shoes because they match with almost everything. Having your group buy a neutral color like grey or brown will save you tons of money. We use these for Colima, Jalisco, Veracruz, Revolucion etc... If you are interested in purchasing light brown shoes please visit our online shop. For large orders please call us.
#5 The Princess Crown
I am sure you probably come across princess crowns every time you go to the 99 cents store. These toy crowns are amazing when it comes to making Spanish Combs! All you have to do it is bling them up and add a long comb at the bottom. You won't spend more that 10 dollars on one depending on the types of jewels you use.
#6 The Eye-Catching Apron
To make a great looking Veracruz apron there is no need to spend so much money. All you need is inexpensive black fabric, black lace and thick black ribbon. I just cut the pattern, added the lace around the edges and finished it by adding the thick ribbon as a belt. Then I took the aprons to my friend who does silk screening. He silk screened the flowers on each one for 5 dollars. They look great on stage!
#7 The White Blouse
Having your dancers make a white blouse is a must. A white blouse can go a long way. You can use this blouse or almost any region. We have used it to dance Jalisco, Zacatecas, Colima, Revolucion, Escaramuzas, Chihuahua, and the list doesn't stop there.
#8 Cheap Fabric Looks Just as Good
There really is not need to buy expensive fabric in order to make a dress look great on stage. Find inexpensive fabric and with the money you save buy accessories or lace to dress it up. Something very important to remember is that the fabric you buy should be easy to find in case you need to make more of the same costumes in the future. These dresses where made with lace that was about two dollars a yard. They have lasted us four year now, and look beautiful on stage.
#9 Neutral Pants
When it comes to the men in my group, I try to help them out when it comes to saving as much as possible because most of their costumes are more expensive than the girl's. I had the men buy Caporal Pants in different shades of brown to create a playfulness on stage and also so that they can use them when dancing several regions rather than just one.
In this picture the men are dancing Colima.
Here the men are dancing Revolucion.
There you go parents, dancers and directors! I hope that you found these costuming tips helpful. Don't forget to share this page and leave your comments.
If you haven't already done so, check out our last blog post, "10 Embarrassing, But Hilarious Folklorico Moments."
See you soon!