I was a dancing teacake: The Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony skirt

Hey there! I’ve been absent for a while, because for the end of June and most of July I was learning how to do this…
John Barrowman, Karen Dunbar and Dancing teacakes at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Whaaaaat?! Yes, my friends, I was a dancing teacake.

If you didn’t know, Glasgow has been hosting the Commonwealth Games. A few months ago, they auditioned for cast members for the opening and closing ceremonies and, after a little encouragement from my friend Amanda, I applied to be part of it. I’m not usually someone who’d do this kind of thing – but why the heck not?

For reasons best known to themselves, the (awesome) choreo team put me in the group with all the amazing dancers and performers. It’s a testament to them that despite being a total novice I felt confident and happy and super excited about the whole thing. So after a month of rehearsals, I found myself in front of an audience of millions dancing around with giant teacakes, bagpipes, veils, John Barrowman and even the Loch Ness monster.

Nessie makes and appearance at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Can you spot me?

The night itself had some mixed reviews in the press – from some corners, the fact that it was massively tongue-in-cheek was missed a little. My official favourite take on it was definitely from The Stage:

‘It has often been said that there is no clear definition of the word ‘camp’, so many thanks to the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony for going a long, long way to providing us with one.’

The Stage


I have so much respect for the choreo team, but also the wardrobe, stage management, backstage, crew and every other person involved. I had no concept of the amount of work which goes in to eight minutes of this, never mind an entire show. Seeing it from the inside was staggering, and I loved every bit of it. Now on to the skirt…

My section wore denim, leather, and the official Commonwealth Games tartan. For the ceremony, they turned a straight-cut knee-length skirt into a draped-and-pinned ‘Vivienne Westwood on a budget’ (said the costume dept) style which looked great on the night.

Tartan skirt with tucked pleats

For me though, it’s not a great style in terms of wearability (especially with the official above-ankle boots!). Being a tartan obsessive and sewcialist, I wasn’t going to let this new outfit get away when they announced we got to keep it. So, armed with my unpicker, I set to work on a refashioning.

Knee length Commonwealth Games tartan skirt Glasgow 2014

After taking out the little tucks, I was left with this, which I wasn’t best pleased with. The choice at this point was either to pull it in to be shaped like a proper pencil skirt, or go for the chop. I wasn’t really feeling the pencil skirt option so out came the pins and scissors.

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony skirt

Almost, but not quite… If we’re doing mini, let’s just do mini.

Shortened skirt Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony

That’s more like it. Jazz hands.

Now you know I wasn’t going to let that lack of pattern-matching on the waistband stand. But I also wasn’t feeling like making a whole new waistband and reinserting the zip. So what did I do?

I PUT A BOW ON IT of course 🙂

Fixed it! Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games tartan skirt

This skirt now makes me super happy. Not only do I have a great green tartan mini (and who doesn’t need that in their wardrobe?) but every time I wear it, I’ll get that buzz of running around Celtic Park doing crazy things.

Tartan skirt from Glasgow 2014 Opening ceremony

The Games finish today, which is a little sad. As I’m writing this I’m also watching the men’s cycling road race through a very wet and rainy Glasgow – one of the final events and also another great showcase of my city. I’m usually pretty cynical, but the way Glasgow has welcomed, and responded to, and enjoyed the Games has made this such a wonderful place to be. I hope that spirit is something we can keep a hold of.

I’ll never forget how it felt to be ceilidh-ing away with the cast and athletes under the lights, fireworks and confetti.


17 responses to “I was a dancing teacake: The Glasgow 2014 opening ceremony skirt

  1. I did spot you! I said to my husband ‘that’s Elaine!’ & he said who? So then I had to explain how I ‘knew’ you haha! I love what you did with the skirt – so nice to have those memories.

  2. Pingback: Friday Hi-Fives: Ceremonies, Celebrations and Cinema! - Miss West End Girl·

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