Did you hear we had a little “weather event”? I love these euphemisms. We were fortunate here in MA. First, Sandy hit landfall south of us (keep our friends in NJ and NY in your thoughts and prayers, please). And by banging a hard left at Atlantic City, she lashed us with winds, and knocked out power, but she didn’t flood us like she did those on the western side. Second, we had the Halloween freakshow storm last year, which knocked down many, if not most, of the trees that would take down power lines. A friend of mine who lives on Long Island called me today to tell me she was okay, but without power. She said, “all you can here is the sound of chainsaws taking down trees.” That was what we went through here last year, so I completely sympathize. Hopefully the power will be restored soon.
We were without power in the warehouse today ourselves, so I was able to spend a bunch of time working on Tatiana’s ballroom dress. And I finished it! The point of this exercise was to change an American Smooth dress to an International Standard dress. So you may say, “So, Ann – what exactly are the differences between American Smooth and International Standard?”
Hell if I know. And just try finding information about dress specifics and floats and whatnot on the internet. Jimminy Christmas, you’d think I was looking for information on how to build some sort of WMD. No one will part with any information. So I had to wing that mother by looking at pictures of competition dresses in action, which is only so helpful.
Anyway, here’s what I did to change the dress. First – I added a lot of godets. International Standard dresses are big on volume, so I gather. They also like to have a little support, so I added a petticoat, made of stretch mesh.
Thanks to Phyllis’ suggestion, I cut the leotard off at the waist and attached the petticoat to it, then I sewed it back together. I used 2 inch horsehair braid to support the hem.
After checking out the hem of the dress, I decided that it would benefit by adding 2-inch horsehair braid to the outer dress shell as well. While the storm was raging, I was pinning horsehair furiously, I can tell you! Adding that second layer with the horsehair makes a world of difference. The dress moves smoothly and very Cindrella-ish
Then there were the floats.
What are floats, you ask? Floats in International Standard dresses (and here’s where I show my ignorance) are doohickies that hang off the dress to underscore and enhance the movement of the dancers. (Here’s my aside, which I may edit out tomorrow, so grab it while you can) And a lot of times, they are tacky as hell. There, I said it. So my goal was to try to make them pretty, while avoiding the off ramp to Tackytown. I tried draping cotton muslin, which in this case is a pretty poor substitute for floaty fabric, but it gave me an idea, and I came up with a sorta-semicircular drape that would start at the left shoulder and go to the right wrist. Then I added a smaller float on the left arm, from the forearm to the wrist:
I brought it, with about a thousand hotfix rhinestones and my Khandi Kane, to Tatiana today. She loved it, and she’s going to spend the next few nights getting her dress good and stoned. There are some minor changes we should make to the floats (more volume!!!!!), but it’s in good shape for the competition this weekend. I’ll get pictures of the dress in action later. Once again, this was a lot of fun and I learned tons. You know what I learned that I think is the most valuable? There’s a lady on Etsy who sells Ballroom Dance Sewing Patterns!!! I bought both of her patterns plus the CD manual she published on making ballroom dance dresses. I’ve already learned some things just from looking at her pattern instructions. This should make the next dress (hopefully) easier.
Next up, I think – a super sexy dress for moi.