Making the Floats for the Tatum Dress

Making the Floats for the Tatum Dress

Part of the beauty of watching ballroom dancing competitions is seeing the beautiful dresses float and sparkle across the dancefloor. Floats are a lovely acoutrement to the ballroom dress. They can attach anywhere on the dress and can extend to one or both arms and are usually made out of light, sheer material – thus the term – floats.

On Dancing with the Stars, the Tatum dress floats appeared to be made out of a heavier type of material – possibly georgette. Since this was a smooth dress on the show and I am making a standard dress, I decided to go with the same light chiffon I used on the underskirt. I cut a haphazard triangular piece from the chiffon and worked on draping it to the front and the arm just by pinning it and cutting any excess. This is not an exact science – but draping onto the costume is the best method – especially if you can drape onto an extended arm because you need to leave enough material for when the arm is fully extended.

The longest side of the chiffon is on the bias, which means it runs diagonally from the grain. The reason for this is it gives a nice wavyness to the chiffon. I spread out the chiffon on the arm and proceeded to create folds from one end to the other. I then stitched the folds from one end to the other. This fold stitch line is where I will attach the chiffon to the arm. I sew on 3 snaps to the part of the chiffon that will attach to the front.

I also finished the edges of the chiffon piece by stitching a rolled edge on my serger.
When I am done stoning the dress, I will hand sew the chiffon to the arm in several spots. I sew snaps to the front of the dress and then attach the chiffon to see if everything fits and voila.

I made an identical float for the other side. In the picture, I’ve tried to have the dress form in as much a dance position as possible to give you an idea of how it will look!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *