How to Shorten Isis Wings
Professional Isis Wings are enormous – they're meant to be! I'm only 5 ft 2 inches (160 cm), but even I can handle full-size wings. It simply comes down to practice.
Traditional Isis Wings, like the ones in the photo on the right, were designed to be held throughout the dance. In traditional choreography, it doesn't matter if the sticks hit the ground when you let your arms drop – because you never let your arms drop!
However, there is another style of Isis Wings, designed so you can let go of the sticks during the dance. This enables you to do more complex steps with the wings hanging down your back. You can see an example in the video at the end of this post. Obviously, these wings must be short enough so they don't hit the floor when you let go.
And that's where dancers like me hit a problem – because if you're "height challenged", they may not be short enough. There are two options to reduce the length:
Shortening at the Hem
Cutting at the edge of the wings is a daunting exercise, because you have to cut along a huge half-circle, and then you'll have a very long edge to hem – both of which can be hard to do evenly.
Cut one wing first, then use it as a pattern for the other wing. The easiest way to create a new hem is to use an overlocker or serger.
You'll then have to press the pleats back into place.
CAUTION – Isis wings melt! Use a very cool iron and test a small area first.
Shortening at the Neck
This takes a bit more preparation, but is likely to give a more even result because you're cutting a much shorter length.
- First, tack the pleats near the neck to hold them in place.
- Measure how much you need to remove, and do a second set of tacking stitches to mark the new neck.
- Unpick the neckband and cut off the extra material - don't forget to allow for a hem!
- Reattach the neckband in the new position and finish off the raw edges.
Photo by Eleda 1