Saturday, December 31, 2016

How to a Make Body Sensory Dance Sack

What is a a Dance Sack?

Dance Sacks enhance spatial awareness through resistance and awareness of surroundings both inside and outside the sack.  Their use encourages creative, uninhibited movement because each person is fully covered, shifting emphasis away from the body to the shapes that the sack can make. Each pillowcase-like sack is constructed from four-way stretch Lycra. Once inside, users find themselves in a private domain that begs for kinesthetic exploration. As they move their shapes become amorphous and art-like. Because the Lyrca is translucent they can see the shapes being created around them.



Other Names:
Dance Sock, Body Sox, Body Pod, Sensory Sock, Body Sack, Dance Sox, Silly Sack

Advantages:
  • Reduce inhibition about movement
  • Create private space for movement
  • Can be used for props for theatrical movement
  • Enhance body awareness 
  • Provide resistance and space awareness
  • Provides resistance and enclosure that is calming for hyperactive children. 


Sizing:
The dance sack should be the height of the individual using it, or a little shorter. If you are 5'6" tall, a bag of the same height would be perfect, giving room to stretch your arms and legs. A sack that is considerably larger than the user is not ideal since they can trip on it or get tangled up in the extra material. For example, if you are 4' tall, a bag 4'6" tall will be a little on the large size but work, but if the bag is 5'6" it's too big. The material is stretchy, so if you are making several for a class, you can generalize with your sizing, aiming on the short side.

  • Small (ages 3-5): 40" tall x 27" wide
  • Med (ages 6-8): 47" tall x 27" wide
  • Large (ages 9-13): 56" tall x 28" wide
  • XL (ages 14+): 66" tall x 28" wide


Materials:

  • 4-way stretch lycra (buy the length of material you need for the height of the sack you will be making)
  • Sewing machine that can zig-zag or stitch specifically for stretch materials
  • Ballpoint needle (talk to the clerk at the fabric store to be sure you're getting the right needle for your machine and the fabric you'll be using)
  • Thread (Standard polyester thread is fine since it has a little stretch. Don't use cotton thread.)
  • Scissors
  • Large surface area for cutting


Instructions: 
These have an opening in the bottom. When you pull it on, you bring your feet inside and the bag stretches to stay on. You can alternatively step into the bag and keep the opening at the top to allow your head to stick out if you prefer.

(I'll be adding photos soon to make this more clear...these instructions are for those with a bit of sewing experience)


  • Note: Don't iron-open the seams! Lycra will melt. 
  • Fold fabric in half so that you have the height you want x2 and cut (you will sew on only three sides, with the folded over side not needing any sewing. 
  • Treat the folded edge as the top of the dance sack.
  • If making a small sack, trim one side so that you have a folded over piece in one of the sizes listed above (it doesn't hurt to have an inch or two extra or less since the material stretches). 
  • Decide which is the outside of your fabric. 
  • Fold your fabric rectangle in half length ways, right sides together.
  • Pin the edges together. 
  • Use a Ballpoint needle and a zig-zag stitch on your machine. 
  • Sew along each side and about 6" in on each edge of the bottom, leaving an opening in the bottom of the bag large enough to step into/pull over one's head. 
  • It doesn't hurt to sew each hem twice over, especially at the opening. 
  • Turn right-side out, get inside, and have fun! 




Washing
Follow the instructions for the material you purchase. You should be able to wash and dry them in your washer and dryer. Don't iron lycra. It will melt.

Helpful Links:
30 Tips for Sewing Knits
Body Sock DIY Guide with opening on side rather than bottom


3 comments:

  1. Hi Elaine, what type of lycra did you purchase to make these? Is it easy to sew together? I found an overseas manufacturer but am not so keen to pay postage if I could find a way to make them in Australia.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Anna. It has to be 4-way stretch polyester (not 2-way stretch, which is common). When I go to the fabric store, I hold it up over my face to be sure I can see through it. You don't want it to be too thick, and you'll want to be able to see out when you have it on. It is actually very easy to sew on a standard machine...you just need to be sure to use the right type of needle. I haven't had any trouble with the material puckering or shifting. You can add velcro to close the bag as well, though I haven't done that with mine.

      I'm actually going to be sewing a set of them in the next few weeks, and will take photos of each step of the process to share here. I'll let you know when I get the photos and more-detailed instructions posted!

      Thanks so much!
      Elaine

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  2. Hi Elaine! Thanks for your how-to. I made a few to represent invisible monsters in a play I'm costuming. What an interesting experience to get inside and enjoyable to watch others play around in them.

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