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Kats Designs – Win a Leo contest!
November 30th, 2009

How would you like to win a custom rhythmic leotard?  Well with our Win a Leo contest you could be the winner of a stunning rhythmic leotard valued at over $500.00 and custom designed just for you. 

This is how the contest works…

Write to us and tell us how rhythmic gymnastics has changed YOUR life and why YOU think YOU should win.  Tell us about your passion for the sport, how old you were when you started, your biggest challenges and fears and how you conquered them and about the highs and lows you have experienced.

Be sure to include your full name, mailing address, e-mail address and a telephone number for winning notification purposes.    

The contest will remain open until March 31st, 2010 at which point we’ll review all submissions and select the winner.  If you’re the lucky winner, you’ll work with our production team to design a custom stunning rhythmic leotard especially for you.

Contest closes March 31st, 2010

Winner will be notified and posted on our blog on April 16th, 2010

We look forward to receiving your submissions and thank you in advance for participating and we wish you all good luck!

CONTEST RULES:

The winning prize is not redeemable in cash, credit or substitution.

The winner authorizes the use of his or her name and/or photograph and municipality of residence for posting on the Kats Designs’ website on April 16th, 2010. 

The winner further agrees to submit to Kats Designs 4 quality “jpeg” format images wearing the winning prize within 30 days of receipt of it.

The winner of the contest will be required to answer a skill-testing question before the prize is awarded to them. 

Contest is open to entrants worldwide.

There is a limit of one entry per person.

All entries must be postmarked by March 31st, 2010.

Entries are to be mailed to…

Win a Leo Contest
c/o Kats Designs
16 Esna Park Drive, #5
Markham, Ontario
L3R 5X1
Canada

Please Note: Entries will not be accepted by e-mail, fax, or in person.

Entries must include your full name, mailing address, e-mail address and a telephone number.  The winner will be notified directly by Kats Designs.    

Entries and communication to be in English only.

Employees’ of Kats Designs, their respective affiliates and associates and such employees’ and immediate family are not eligible to participate in this contest.

The winner’s name will be announced and posted on our blog on April 16th. 2010.

Kats Designs Media Centre Coming Soon!
November 25th, 2009

We are pleased to announce that our media centre will be up on our site in the coming weeks.  You’ll be able to watch videos and interviews, view images and read the latest streaming news related to the world of gymnastics, figure skating and dance right here at Kats Designs.

Subscribe to any of our blog topics
November 25th, 2009

SubscribeIf you would like to subscribe to our blog and receive updates automatically to any topics and comments you wish to follow, please click on the topics of your choice and at the bottom of the topic, please click the link “RSS 2.0” feed and follow the instructions.  All interactions with the topics of your choice will be sent to you automatically.  Thank you for reading our blog.

Custom Costumes – Hot Fix 101
November 21st, 2009

PatienceCrystals are stunning and in the world of rhythmic gymnastics and figure skating they are almost a neccessity.  Even a few draws the eyes to them as they reflect the light so beautifully.  Many leotards and skate outfits have hundreds if not thousands of crystals on them, so applying them yourself can save you money and be quite a lot of fun to do and like anything, picking up a few tips first can make a big difference to the end result. 

Over the years we’ve tried different ways of applying crystals and we prefer the hot fix method, it’s pretty well mess free, it allows you to aim and position the crystals very accurately and they adhere to the fabrics very well.  Hot fix crystals have an adhesive on the back that is activated by heat and we use higher quality crystals such as Swarovski™ as the quality of the crystal and the adhesive is really superior to any other.  So if you want to give it a try this is what you’ll need to get started.

  • Hot fix crystals in the colors and sizes of your choice
  • A hot fix wand with assorted size tips to apply the crystals
  • A piece of white tailors chalk and straight pins
  • A couple of  pieces of stiff cardboard to place inside the garment 
  • Parchment paper
  • Tweezers 

Lay out your garment and decide where you want to put your crystals.  You can follow the lines of the garment’s design and/or you can create your own designs which is where the tailors chalk will come in.  When you know where you want to put your crystals, you’re ready to set up.

Insert your cardboard inside the garment under the area you are going to crystal.  If it’s a sleeve, cut the cardboard so that it fits into the sleeve where you want to apply the crystals.  Next is an important step, stretch the fabric slightly over the cardboard and pin the perimeter area to the cardboard with a couple of straight pins so it remains stretched.   if you don’t stretch the fabric the crystals may pop off as it stretches when you wear it.  If you want to create a design, take your tailors chalk and lightly draw your lines, curves or design on the fabric.  Next, using the tweezers, place the crystals where you want them to give yourself a preview of what the area will look like once they are applied.  When you’re happy with the look, you’re ready to begin.

First, attach the correct size tip to the end of your wand that matches the size of crystal you want to apply.  Plug in your wand and leave it for a few minutes to fully heat up.

In the meantime, spread out your crystals adhesive side down on a flat surface like a plate or tray that is heat resistant.  Next, place the wand tip onto a crystal and pick it up.  Flip over the wand so that you can see the adhesive.  The larger the crystal the longer it takes for the adhesive to melt, but at roughly 10 seconds the heat penetrates the crystal and melts the adhesive, you will notice that the adhesive turns from a matte to a shine as it melts, at this point it’s ready to apply.  Next, holding the wand verticle, aim the tip of the wand with the crystal where you want it on the fabric and then gently push down against the fabric which is supported underneath by the cardboard and hold it there for a few seconds, then remove the wand leaving the crystal behind and take the outside flat end of your tweezers, and press down on the top of the crystal to ensure good contact of the adhesive with the fabric.  Continue on to the next one and so on.  After a while you’ll get used to exactly how long you need to heat and apply the different size crystals.   

Now a few tips and cautions… 

Before you start we suggest you try applying a few crystals to a piece of scrap fabric, this will help you get your technique right before you start the real thing.

Do not push the crystal down too hard on the fabric with the wand tip, or the adhesive could ooze around the edges and leave a mark around the crystal.

If you need to remove a crystal for any reason do not pick it off, reheat the crystal with the wand to break the bond and then remove it.  Do not reuse that crystal a second time as it will not adhere properly.  Certain fabrics and velvet in particular will leave a mark if you try to reposition or remove a crystal. 

Once you have applied an area of crystals, run your hand over them to be sure they are properly adhered.  If a couple come off, you’ll know to increase your application time by a few seconds. 

If you are applying crystals to mesh, you will need to place parchment paper between the mesh and the cardboard and you will have to hold the wand tip with the crystal on the mesh longer to achieve a strong bond, as the mesh has less surface area than other fabrics to adhere to.

We hope you find this information helpful.  If we can be of any further assistance please leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help you.

Buying rhythmic leotards and skate outfits for kids and teens
November 20th, 2009

Kids and TeensThere’s no doubt our kids grow fast and we always try to get the most use out of what they wear before they outgrow them. The average child will grow about 2-1/2″ per year, the problem is the growth is generally in spurts and there is no way of knowing exactly when those spurts will occur. Leotards for example should be form fitting, however if your child spurts a couple of inches it’s going to become tight, uncomfortable and may restrict movement.

One way to allow for growth spurts is to increase the girth (torso) measurement by an inch or two from the onset, we also suggest to add a little more length to the sleeve and skirt measurements too.  For boys skate outfits we always add to the inseam measurement as well.  Stretch fabrics are generally not hemmed so there usually isn’t any additional fabric to let down if you need it later, so allowing for this when you order will buy you more time in the long run.

Caring for costumes with Spandex™ (Lycra™)
November 20th, 2009

Care InstructionsCaring for items such as rhythmic leotards, skate dresses and costumes that are made of stretch fabrics requires some additional caution when laundering, so here are some tips to keep them looking and feeling like new.

Test for color fastness

Take a damp white cloth and gently rub an inconspicuous area of each color in the garment, especially the darker colors.  If there is no color transfer to the cloth, then laundering with the following instructions will generally prove to be very successful.  Testing for color fastness is extremely important when the garment contains combinations of dark and light colors and especially where light color mesh is used.

Washing

Wash alone and launder in luke warm water only! Never use cold or hot water as they can damage or break the elastic fibres of the stretch fabric.  Use a small amount of bleach free detergent, a gentle product such as Woolite™ is recommended.  We prefer hand washing but you can wash in a machine on a short delicate cycle.  If your garment has crystals turn it inside out before washing.

Drying  

You can gently tumble dry on a warm cycle, but once again we prefer not to use the machine, instead take a white towel and lay it out flat and then lay the garment on the towel, gently roll the garment up in the towel so that the towel draws the water away from the garment, never wring or twist the garment to remove excess water.  Once most of the water has been absorbed from the towel, unroll, flip the towel over and lay the garment out to dry.  If the garment is lightweight you could hang it to dry as long as most of the moisture is gone or you risk stretching the garment under its own weight.

Removing lines and wrinkles

Our preference is never to iron stretch fabrics.  A clothes steamer works very well if you have access to one and you should steam from the inside, the only caution here is if your garment has sequins, stay away from them with the steam as they tend to shrink and if it has crystals do not steam any area too long or you risk loosening the adhesive behind them.  Also do not steam near elastic usually found around the neck, wrists and leg openings as the elastic will tend to loosen and stretch.

Following these steps will help keep your leotards, skate dresses and costumes refreshed and looking new.  These tips are general in the fact that there are many types and qualities of stretch fabrics and testing first as described above is key to successfully caring for them.

Synchronized swimmers making big waves!
November 19th, 2009

synchronized-swimmingOur synchronized swim client’s are making big waves this season and we are very pleased to say we have outfitted more teams and individuals with custom synchronized swim suits this year than any year prior.  Thank you to all of our synchro swim client’s for your valued business and we wish you all the best in your upcoming events.

Have questions or experiences? We’d love to hear about them!
November 19th, 2009

Questions
If you have any questions you would like to ask or if you have any experiences you would like to share about ordering custom made-to-measure competition leotards, skate outfits, or dance costumes, please feel free to post them here and we’ll be happy to interact with you right here on our blog so others can benefit from the information too.

International client’s enjoy substantial savings!
November 19th, 2009

SavingsDid you know that in many cases buying from an international company can save you quite a lot of money? Well there are a couple of reasons for this that may apply to you and where you reside. First, as a Canadian company we are not required to collect sales tax from international clients and depending on your regional sales tax laws, you may very well be exempt or partially exempt from sales tax when buying internationally.

Second, is the rate of currency exchange, for example our client’s in the United States and United Kingdom often benefit from the exchange rate between their currency and that of the Canadian dollar, as the valuation of the U.S. dollar and U.K. pound is often greater than that of the Canadian dollar.

Please be sure to check you local laws as they pertain to buying internationally and sales taxes in your area and be sure to check the rate of exchange before you order as it does fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. For your convenience here is a link to a popular currency converter.

2009/10 Dance season almost sold out!
November 14th, 2009

To all of our dance studio clients across the country thank you so much for your overwhelming and continued support.  As we enter another very busy season we are already almost completely sold out for competitive and recital costumes.  We have limited production space still available for late May and June, so if you haven’t touched base yet please do so soon.  We’d love to hear from you and wish you a very successful and prosperous season.