I’ve posted what I have done so far with the black dress. I think it is looking very much like the dress Tatum wore on Dancing with the Stars, however, I am going to be making this a Standard dress, not American Smooth.
“In the international style, dancers are in the closed position, pressed close together — this is classic ballroom dance, taught all over the world.
The American style, however, allows dancers to open up — they can separate and use as much of the floor as they like — and is more theatrical, similar to the dances performed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.”
International generally uses more layers of skirt, whereas with smooth, you can sometimes use just one layer and/or a slit. More elaborate floats (drapey chiffon attached to various points) are used with International style as well.
Therefore, I will be making an underskirt of 3 layers of chiffon. Also, I am going to be using purple Swarovski crystals instead of green. I have tons left over from an earlier dress disaster. YES, you can pick rhinestones off of a dress! (With a little help from a hairdryer 🙂 It warms the glue and usually you can be successful picking them off without losing the foil backing. )
So far, the outer dress is done, with a built in bodysuit. All of the edges are sewn with elastic to give as much stretch as possible. I added invisible straps to the shoulders so the full weight of the dress is not just resting on the neck. I had about 4 yards of black crepey lycra so I used my master ballroom dress pattern (created from a finished ballroom dress that belonged to Sue) and altered the neckline and added sleeves.
I created full sleeves initially. Once I had it on the dress form, I attached my fake arms, and then I cut around the top of the sleeves to get the right look. I then inserted elastic along the top of the cut sleeve to give the dropped sleeve look.
The bottom of the dress is sewn with 1/2 inch horsehair braid serged to the wrong side of the fabric. The hem is not finished, I will turn this up again and sew with an zigzag elastic stitch on my regular machine.
I am going to make the straps (where the straps attach at the back) detachable to make it easier to put the dress on. I tried hooks and eyes but they are not stable, so I will be replacing with snaps. It is not that tight that there is any danger of the snaps unsnapping at a crucial moment.
I am going to do this first, then cut the chiffon for the underskirt. I really wanted to use georgette but my selection of fabrics is limited due to the fact that the only store in close proximity is Joann’s – which any fashionista will tell you sucks major wind. I can always order online, which seems to have become my method of choice.
I’m still torn. Georgette will give more flow, but will make the dress considerably heavier.
Will have to think about that.