aka “Canary in a Coal Mine”
Here’s a mantra for you if you ever decide you want to make ballroom dance costumes: Subtlety Sucks. Case in point: Stephanie, one of the teachers at the studio where DS the Younger dances, asked me to make her a dress. She had seen a competition dress that she liked, and asked if I could copy it. It looked pretty straightforward, so I said sure. And since Tatiana is no longer teaching (sniff!) I’ve had no one to make dance dresses for, so I thought this would be fun.
Pattern Description: Halter neck, fully lined Latin competition dress covered with fringe and rhinestones (Stephanie is going to spend the next week doing the stoning). The pattern is based very loosely on the basic leotard pattern from Kwik Sew’s book.
Sizing: This is cut to Stephanie’s measurements.
Fabric Used: Lycra fabric and 18 inch rayon chainette fringe that Stephanie supplied. I made the under-leotard from Lycra fabric that I had left over from Tatiana’s Dance Dresses.
Needle/Notions Used: 75/11 Stretch Needle, thread, 1/4 inch clear elastic from Fashion Sewing Supply, 1/8 inch elastic from my stash for the back strap.
Tips Used during Construction: Press that Bad Mamma Jamma!
Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, so far. It’s not finished yet, but my part of it is done. I’m looking forward to seeing it with all the rhinestones on the CF panel.
How were the instructions? Hahahahahahahaha! Snort!
Construction Notes: This took me some time to figure out the order of construction. It’s similar in style to Tatiana’s Samba dress that I was able to use some of the same methods I did for that, but there are enough differences that I needed to think really hard about how best to put it together. Also, adding 18 inch fringe to it makes it much more patience-trying to construct. I found that I needed to take a break after applying each row of fringe (there are 7 in all). Finally, this beast is heavy! Thanks to the rayon fringe, it probably weighs about 6 lbs. And the fringe had 5 rows of chainstitching at the top. That added a fair a mount of bulk, so once the fringe was attached to the dress, I went back and removed 3 of the 5 rows. From about 8 yards of fringe.
Likes/Dislikes: This was fun to make. There are some things I would have done differently if I had had more time, but I’m satisfied with how it turned out so far.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I don’t know, and sure – go for it if you are looking to make Latin dance dresses!
Conclusion: Another fun, thought-challenging project. Coincidentally, today I got an email from a fellow who just released a series of DVD tutorials on making ballroom dance dresses. You can find out more about it at Ballroom Dance Fashions. NAYY, and I know nothing more about it or about him than that, but from what I can see, it looks like it may be worthwhile if you are going to make dance costumes. I’m hoping to talk to him later this week, so I’ll report back when I have more information.
In the meantime, here are pictures of the dress on Mutt, my full-body mannequin:
The competition is this weekend in New York City. I’ll ask Stephanie to send me an action shot. In the meantime…
ETA: I dropped the dress off at the studio for her after work. She tried it on and it fits PERFECTLY! She’s thrilled with it, and she’s going to spend tonight and tomorrow night encrusting the CF panel with rhinestones.
Damn, I’m good!