I enjoy sewing, and love to think about fancy dresses for competition, so I've started making my own. I get asked a lot of questions about it, and I'm really only just starting out! But I know how frustrating it is to get started and find good supplies and tips, so I'm creating this web page to help other people interested in the challenge, creativity, and rewards of making their own dancesport costumes.
Making making a ballgown is not a big state secret. It's just that you have to be comfortable sewing, using stretch fabrics, and able to alter and reconfigure printed patterns a little.
Other bits of tips:
I keep a list of Costuming Supplies on another web site that I maintain. I have made mail-order purchases from everyone I list, so if you have questions about a vendor feel free to ask.
silvery grey velvet with pearl stars
Another princess seamed dress, from the same pattern as the royal blue one. The back is cut-out as a result of a major sewing error! I could not get the back seams to stop puckering, even though I had no problems with the royal blue dress. So I just took scissors to it and cut away the worst of the puckery parts. Good lord my posture is bad in these pictures.... I cut the front a little too baggy below the breasts, so the gown has a rather nightgown-ish look to it. Another learning experience. [for sale, size 14-16]
purple velvet make-over
The dress started out professionally made by To the Nines. It was fully boned and underlined with heavy satin, and had 13 princess-seamed panels. It weighed a ton. I have lost a lot of weight since it was made and so took this dress apart and remade it from a size 16 down to a 12. When I remade it I removed the sleeves, took out the heavy underlining, and removed two of the panels to get rid of some extra fullness. I recut the neckline and added three asymetrical shoulder straps. It's now very light and extremely comfortable. [for sale, size 12-14]
purple and hologram glitter slinky
Based on Butterick #9360, but without the sleeves. I added a center front seam (below the yoke only) and a center back seam, and flared out each of the resulting four panels to 48 inches wide. I cut a moderate V into the back. I had to add the silver chiffon ruffle to the bottom because I made a big mistake when hemming it the first time! There's also a matching silver chiffon neck scarf and wrist float. Unfortunately, this is the best picture I have right now. Since it's been taken I re-fitted the bodice so it was snugger through the waist to the hips. [for sale, size 12]
navy and silver glitter jersey
I needed a dress to wear for costume-restricted events that I could also dress up enough to wear in Open events. Doug doesn't have a tailsuit yet, so I didn't want to upstage him by wearing a full-on ballgown. This is the perfect compromise. The top of the dress is Simplicity #9218. I cut the dress to be above-the-knee length. Then, using a dressmaker's curve, I cut the hem line of the bodice into a curve that is higher on the left hip than the right. I then made a full circle skirt and attached it to the curved bodice. The gloves are Kwik-Sew #2326. I adore this dress, especially the way the skirt is attached to the bodice, and will copy the skirt into the next dress that I'm working on.
Butterick #9360. This is a shirt pattern that I turned into a dress. I added a center front seam (below the yoke only) and a center back seam, and flared out each of the four panels to 48 inches wide. I cut a moderate V into the back. I should get a picture of this online soon. [for sale, size 10-12]