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Don’t blink: you’ll miss this week’s quick change ice skating costume!

quick change ice skating costume, Tammy Jimenez dressmaker, Gianna Scalisi, figure skater, Hairspray the muscial


Gianna, a skater at the Ice Den Chandler, in Arizona, models her quick change costume that she wore for her artistic light routine.

The dressmaker, Tammy Jimenez, did an amazing job creating Gianna’s outfit, which is much more complex than a regular figure skating dress. Tammy likes the challenge of creating complex designs! Click here to check out another complex skating dress she made for Gianna.


Dress Backstory

Every dress has a backstory, and this quick change ice skating costume is no exception.

Gianna seems to have an obsession with  Hairspray.  Tammy, her coach and dressmaker, has choreographed several routines for Gianna featuring songs from that musical. 

I can hear the bells” was Gianna’s chosen song this time.  For this routine, Gianna is Tracy Turnblad, a schoolgirl in a plaid pinafore uniform, who daydreams about a boy she has a crush on.  As the song goes on, the boy-of-her-dreams touches her.  Of course, that means she’s gonna marry him, right?  As soon as dreams of marriage float through her head, Gianna spins and her costume goes from a blue school girl uniform to a white wedding dress!

There are unique advantages to wearing a quick change costume.

  • More options when choosing a song for your routine.
    • Without a quick change dress, Gianna would not have been able to convey the transformation from school girl to bride-to-be.  
  • More variety to your routine.
    • I mean, what can add variety to your routine like changing the costume in the middle of the song?



The Magic of Velcro®

quick change ice skating costume, hook and loop tape, velcro


First, let me say, the invention of hook and eye tape was a one of the best moments in history for dressmakers.  A Swiss guy invented this after noticing how burs stuck to his dog’s coat.  Way to use nature to help us humans be better!

Secondly, Tammy and Gianna’s decision to create a quick change costume to portray her character’s stunning transformation was a wise choice that helped create a dramatic shift to tell her story.

While I have personally never made a quick change dress, I certainly enjoy watching the instant transformation from one outfit to another.  It is amazing what a human ingenuity and a little hook and loop tape can help us dressmakers create!



Quick-Change Problems Conquered

Tammy had never made a quick change ice skating costume before this.  She discovered there are several difficulties when making this type of dress that you don’t run into with a regular figure skating costumes.


1)  The skirt of the under-dress has to be heavy enough to pull the entire dress down so it falls into place in an instant.

Tammy noticed that some quick change costumes don’t transform fast enough because the second skirt is too lightweight to come all the way down after it is released.  To fix this, Tammy made the second skirt heavy and long.  The extra length also helps hide the pinafore costume underneath.



2)  Hook and Loop Tape that holds the top dress together, can stick to the under-dress when trying to make the change. 

This was a pretty easy fix, once Tammy figured out the problem.

Instead of the “crunchy” Velcro (as Tammy calls it) being on the shoulder overlap, she sewed the softer “loop” part of the fastener to the shoulder overlap.  That left the crunchy/hook part of the fastener on the underlap of the pinafore shoulder seams.  That way, when Gianna pulled apart the Velcro to let the pinafore fall down, the Velcro didn’t snag on the dress so the white dress could drop into place.


3)  You really have to give the dress a good yank when revealing the under-dress!  (Spinning also helps.)

Tammy wanted to make sure the pinafore would stay up during the first portion of Gianna’s routine.  Therefore, she made sure the Velcro was super secure. To help the transition go more smoothly, Gianna normally makes the quick change in the middle of a spin.



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quick change ice skating costume, getting dressed, school girl uniform, Hairspray the musical


Quick change ice skating costumes take longer to put on.

It takes Gianna nearly 5 minutes to get her quick change dress tucked in place so the plaid pinafore looks good.

Unfortunately,  Gianna’s top layer costume looks bulky because the white wedding dress is concealed underneath.  As luck would have it, Tracy Turnblad, the Hairspray character Gianna portrays, is heavy-set so the bulkiness is not a problem for this routine.

However, for her next quick-change dress, Tammy plans to experiment by making the under-skirt with less volume to see if it will lay flatter when hidden and still provide the weight needed to help it fall into place.

Despite the difficulties of working with a quick change dress, both Gianna and Tammy liked it enough that they plan to use more quick change costumes for future Hairspray routines.



Thanks to Tammy and Gianna for making time for this interview!  Thanks also to the folks at Ice Den Chandler in Arizona for letting me film on location! 

Tammy is a wonderful dressmaker who is dedicated to her skaters.  She told me, “Me being a part of the sewing…I feel really invested into what we put out as a team.”

You can tell by the quality of her work; Tammy puts her heart and soul into everything she makes for her figure skaters. 

crisscross dress ice skating costume, video


Check out another of Tammy's figure skating dresses with criss cross backstraps.



Have you made a quick change costume before?  What worked and what malfunctioned? 

Type your tips or troubles below.


As always, please share this post with all your dancing, skating, sewing friends!




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    2 replies to "Quick Change Ice Skating Costume"

    • Susan R Beaird

      I’m just a plain old regular grandma who loves making figure skating dresses for my grand daughter. No I’m not a professional seamstress or designer by any means. My grand daughter has request a quick change color dress that changes when in a spin. I have no clue how to start or pattern this at all. Could you please share sewing and patterning this dress. She wants a white dress where the skirt can be changed to dark red. HELP

      • Teresa Sigmon

        Hi Susan,
        I have made hundreds, maybe a thousand, ballroom, Country and skate dresses in my thirty years of dressmaking. However, I have never made a quick change costume and I have no pattern to offer you. What you see in the video is about all I know without figuring it out from scratch.

        Sorry I can’t help.

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