Showing posts from April, 2015

Evolution of a ballroom dance gown - part 1

I've been taking dance lessons from an Arthur Murray franchise for several years now.  I really enjoy it, but it's pricey.  The lessons are pricey and the events are pricey, but the gowns are insanely expensive and I just can't bring myself to buy one of those gowns.  But, I figured I could make one.

I started by reading what I could find on the internet.  Since I start trying to do this several years ago, there wasn't really much I could find.  But I did find this great tutorial by Laura La Gassa and I read it and geared myself up to try it on my own.  And I read every post on BGBallroom for inspiration.  

I knew how to sew and I owned a decent Singer sewing machine that got use for maybe one Halloween costume a year, if even that.  But I really had never gotten into sewing actual clothes, so there was a lot that I didn't know yet.

My first dress I did wasn't intended to be a dance dress, per se, but I was going to dance in it.  I was supposed to do a short Viennese Waltz routine at a Masquerade themed spotlight ball.  So, I decided I wanted something that fit the part.  

I went to a thrift store and bought a lovely mint green flocked bedspread, some off-white brocade curtains and a couple of lace doilies and I made the bodice from McCall's 6097 and just a floor length gathered skirt with an off-white panel in the front.  

I wore a large red wig and a mask for the dance I did.  It's funny for me to watch this video because it was well before I started working on my lovely arms, so I cringe at all my "dead arms." 

 But I also learned that wearing basically a blanket to a dance event was not the smartest thing ever.  I was drenched in sweat before I even started dancing.  :)

More to come later...

Oh-la-la Cabaret outfits

Back at the end of February, I mostly made two dresses in 4 days for a dance routine I did with one of the instructors, Emily. 

I planned, sketched and, starting with the Lady Skater pattern, made some alterations for Emily's dress late Wed night.  I cut out and basted something together Thursday night after work and took it in to the dance studio on Friday so I could do a fitting with Emily. It fit very nicely and didn't need any sizing adjustments. 

Then I went home and started patterning my own dress. Saturday morning I went to Jo-Ann's to pick up some black ribbon and found a couple packages of really pretty black lace and sequins trim for cheap. Then I went home and worked more on Emily's dress and made a dress for me. 

They aren't as finished as I would like, but they look great and I'm really proud of them. The neckline on Emily's dress looked horrible in the back because I didn't stretch the elastic enough when attaching to the dress, so it gaped a ton.  But it more or less did the job anyway.

Both dresses are fully lined, with the skirt lining being red, so we could hike up the black skirt to show the red lining.  We both have the skirts safety pinned to show off the under layer and we are also both wearing black petticoats underneath.  Also, I angled the waistline seam so that the bodice joined the skirt in a V in both the front and the back.  It's not as obvious on Emily's dress since the point is black on both the bodice and the skirt, but it is a little more noticeable on my dress.

I didn't want them to be super matchy-matchy.  But I love the color blocking I did on the bodice of Emily's dress so much that I wish I'd done it on mine as well.  

Here's the video of our performance.  Apparently, I couldn't stop touching my own butt, so I really messed up the ending and kind of muddled through it.  But I had a blast working on this dance with Emily and learning a few more girly moves.