Budget-Conscious Costume Transformation

| November 30, 2011 | 6 Comments

Being involved in the color guard world, we all know what it is like to be on a budget.

Some of you are probably thinking, “What budget? I wish I had money to budget!”

This year I needed to allocate more money for flag fabric since we purchased 2 shaded-silk swing flags for each member of the guard.  So, we really had to be conscientious with regard to our uniform costs for the fall season.

* This will be a bit of a tangent but hopefully it will make sense soon…

This past spring we took an inventory of everything we have in our guard closet (uniforms, flags, poles, props, etc.) and put it in a binder.   We included pictures, quantities, and other information such as flag fabric colors and where they were purchased in case we needed to make additional flags in the coming years.  Now we just have to look at the binder instead of digging through all of our guard tubs upstairs that we store flags and uniforms in.

This organization came in very handy when picking a uniform for this year.  I found the following top that had been saved from when crushed velvet from head to toe was the must-have item for a guard uniform (1990’s?).  There were also crushed velvet leggings and crushed velvet pants to accompany the top.

This year’s show was composed of Requiems from Verdi, Brahms and Mozart.  One of my guard moms, (Thank you Lori!!) and I came up with some alterations to update the uniform for our needs.  For the bottoms we used jazz pants that we already had in the closet for pregame, which made changing a lot faster.


Cut front two panels off to make the tails in the back.
Used one piece of white soldered fabric as the base to which the ruffles were sewn on.

Gathered the white pieces of fabric together as we sewed to make a ruffle

Sewed on the finished white ruffle to the top. (we actually left the rhinestones on since they were a pain to remove)

Added ruffles to the wrists.

The total cost of alterations for 14 girls was about $20, plus the time that was volunteered by moms, dads, siblings and some of the members to come in to solder and sew fabric.  We couldn’t have done it without our volunteers!

I hope this tip will help inspire others out there to breathe new life into old uniforms!

Happy sewing!

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Category: "DIY", Costumes, Design, Fundraising/Budgets, Team Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Erin Wolff is the Color Guard Director at Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In addition to teaching color guard, Erin is completing her Accounting degree at the University of Northern Iowa. In her spare time Erin loves to take road trips, especially when it involves drum corps shows or visiting friends.

Comments (6)

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  1. Kristin says:

    That is so creative! And the uniforms look great!

  2. Lori says:

    I agree. What a nice looking uniform!

  3. pete trimble says:

    Erin, what a fabulous look! I was the director that designed that uniform and while I thought it was a little ‘blah’ at the time (though a great choice for the show -Wagner medley – your update made it yet another perfect choice for your show! Ive always been an advocate of reusing and updating when possible. Congratulations on some great work!

  4. THis is a wonderful uniform. And it happens to be exactly what I am looking for this year:)

    Is there any way that I could buy one of these costumes to make a pattern for our school? OR how many do you have? I need 11 and would be willing to buy them.

    • Hi Stephanie. I just got back from vacation and just saw this post. I will try to email the author and see if they are still available. Let me know if you’ve already been in touch. Thanks!

    • Erin Wolff says:

      Hi Stephanie!

      I just saw this response! I definitely have 11. If you could email me at kennedycolorguard@gmail.com with what sizes you are looking for (estimated is fine) and your budget I am sure we can figure out something :)

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