Ballroom Dance > Sprucing up my Standard gown - sewing questions!

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by musicbrain, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    So I need some sewing/construction advice. I'm moving up to Gold this season (yay!) and my Standard dress just isn't measuring up. The skirt has lovely movement when I'm moving quickly, but otherwise it just lacks the fullness I see in other dresses on the floor.

    I'm wondering how I should go about making the skirt appear fuller? Add an extra layer underneath using a stiffer fabric? (The current fabric is a very light chiffon.) Add crinoline/horsehair to the hem? (Right now the hems are would I work around that?) Add more inserts/godets into each layer of the skirt? And if I did crinoline and/or inserts, should I do it to all the layers of the skirt?

    At the moment, the skirt is narrow-ish around the thighs and uses godets to flare out at the knees. I'm thinking about adding an extra godet, starting higher up at the thigh, in a contrasting colour - probably white - in the front left and the back right of the skirt (because the stoning pattern sort of drifts down into the skirt at those places). And maybe add a third under-layer to the skirt in white as well? If I do that, I'll probably add some white floats in similar size to the existing ones as another accent.

    Am I totally off my rocker in how I'm planning to approach this? I haven't done a lot of sewing before, but I'm getting help from my mom. I have about a month until the season starts, and I'd really like to be able to give my dress some flash - it's a lovely dress and I don't think it's quite ready to be retired or resold yet!

    Any advice from you sewers and DIY-ers out there? Or anyone who likes pretty dresses? I appreciate any feedback and/or help I get - this is the most supportive forum I've ever come across!

    Standing still:

  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I like your ideas in terms of additional under layer and godets...however, the dress already appears to be two colors and I would stick to those two colors rather than adding white...which I just don't see with that gown as it appears in the photo
  3. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I'm not an expert seamstress by any means, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
    It seems to me that godets help make a skirt fuller in motion whereas they won't do a ton of good if you are standing still.
    My standard dress has several underskirts and boning in the hem... I think that is what really gives volume standing still. I think that my smooth skirt actually has more "circles" but because of the underskirts/boning my standard dress actually has more volume standing still (of course, the smooth dress looks incredible in motion and spins!)
  4. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    PS- I love the color and the floats- the dress looks beautiful on the floor!
  5. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    In person, it's all the same just shows up very oddly in pictures! I have no idea why the bodice looks so pinkish in flash photos...

    This pic might be a bit better for colour: (Sorry about the watermarks, I don't have my own photos with me - I'm having to get the images from the photographer's website.)

    And thanks, llamas...I love the colour too! So you would recommend boning and underskirts for more volume?
  6. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    Like I said, I have very very minimal sewing experience. If I were doing it, that is what I would do, but there are certainly more experienced people on here. I know mindputtee had a wonderful thread on sewing a gown... perhaps she might have some insights?
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    okay,.,,now I see where you are coming looked nothing like that in the other photos
  8. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    Yeah...I love how it sort of looks golden in the other photos! Not the most helpful for seeing the actual colour though!
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    to me it actually looke half golden orange and half pink...neither or which seemed like they lended themselves to a white underskirt
  10. llamasarefuzzy

    llamasarefuzzy Well-Known Member

    I think a gold underskirt and/or crinoline on the bottom of the skirt would look incredible.. sort of like the following...

    NURDRMS Well-Known Member

    Yes, I'm thinking that some horsehair on the current hem would be the easiest solution to give you the fullness you're looking for.
  12. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    Where did the blushing smiley go? :)

    That is a very lovely dress, and the skirts look pretty full, they just don't fluff out when not in motion. Personally, I would add an organza underskirt trimmed with crinoline that is attached to some kind of stretch material attached to the bodysuit around the hips/waist, just make sure it's got enough give/wide enough to stretch out and allow your legs to move freely.

    Attached Files:

    wamandance likes this.
  13. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    I like the color and floats of this dress, horsehair underneath (in underskirt) or on top layer will make the skirt fuller.
    Warren J. Dew likes this.
  14. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    how many layers of skirt does the gown have currently?
  15. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Needs ruffled organza underskirt. But personally, I don't like a lot of volume when not in motion.
  16. 3wishes

    3wishes Well-Known Member

    You will need to sew the horsehair into the underskirt base (meaning the closest skirt layer to your legs). This is easy, really. Because you can thread the horsehair into the "pocket" you create by folding up the rolled hemline to a bit more than the width of the horsehair you've chosen. Thread the horsehair through the pocket, close the met ends of the pocket hem with a whip stitch. Add crinoline, like the picture above to the outter layers of skirts,,,even if you added godets...and flounces into the the godets...the flounces will give the godets texture and movement, which you can make the flounces the entire length of the godets or just have them 1/2 the length. Tthe crinoline will force the skirts to lift, it is a personal choice if you want crinoline on all layers of skirts, varying the height/length of each skirt, or if you just want the horsehair and vary the length of each skirt so it looks "layered" a bit, or have the horsehair underneath and the crinoline on the other skirts. Hit up some supershag (plug for chris and tibor) video clips of competitions for standad gold or even open level and watch the skirts/dresses....hopefully giving you a birds eye view of what you would like to achieve with your dress.
  17. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    You know, I have literally several bags full of orange-ish colored crinoline/organza underskirts that I removed from vintage ballgowns that were *too* full. Think you'd be interested in giving them a new home?
  18. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    Wow! Thanks so much for all the responses! You guys are amazing. :cool:

    mindputtee, I was hoping you would chime in! Reading your 'blog-along' dress-making thread is probably the biggest reason I want to (or rather, think I might actually be ABLE to) do the alterations on my own. Thanks so much for the drawing - seeing it, it makes so much sense to do it like that, with the top part of the underskirt being stretch fabric...

    nikkitta, it's currently 2 layers. I'm not sure what the fabric is for the underskirt, but it's more opaque, though it's still just as light and floaty as the chiffon on the top layer.

    3wishes, thank you for explaining crinoline! (What is the difference between crinoline and horsehair, anyway? At Crystal Clover, where I'm planning on ordering from, they have something called 'soft boning' - is that the same thing, or close enough?)

    Thanks for all the input! I'm starting to really get excited about this project. Who knows, maybe eventually I'll get the courage to make my own dress from scratch! :eek:
  19. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    I think some horsehair can be really thick and stiff vs. crinoline, which is softer. Or at least that is what I have seen on some of the older gowns I have worked on. Maybe I'm thinking of "boning", which is sold by the yard at stores like JoAnn's. Not the effect you're looking for, though perhaps someday it will come back in style :rolleyes:
  20. musicbrain

    musicbrain Member

    And nikkitta, thanks for the offer! I think I'm going to do white, though. (Also I'm in Canada, so location might be an issue!)

Share This Page