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

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

  1. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    Are you able to purchase a small sample of both, to compare and pick the one best suited?
  2. flying_backwards

    flying_backwards Active Member

    For future projects yes, good idea. For the show next week, no time for shipping twice then sewing.

    I may try a fishing line hem instead, like in the pink underskirt in my photo. I have spools of fishing line leftover from a previous project which I abandoned when I realized how slow and tedious it is to sew that with my old sewing machine.

    However, the fishing line hem seems to gather the hem, making it more poofy (adding volume) but also less effective circumference because of all the doubling-back loopyness. That works great for acres of underskirt planned that way but may not work for this particular skirt Im trying to spiff up.

    While googling for answers about crinoline I found a site "seems sensational dot com" which may be useful to those of us brave or foolish enough to attempt sewing our own gowns.
  3. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    Soft. The stiff stuff is quite heavy, and is way more than you want for a ballroom gown.
  4. Sania

    Sania Well-Known Member

    Bumping this, as we have another opportunity to perform our showcase routine and I want to fix the costume.

    the short version:

    how do you add a miniskirt / underskirt without creating a bump? the dress is princess seamed. can I pink the edge and topstitch it to the bodysuit?



  5. Sania

    Sania Well-Known Member

    one more question on crinoline: is there a good way to finish the edges? That is, when I join the 2" crinoline together to make a circle to finish the hem, the raw edge is very scratchy and wants to fray.

    Is there a way to seal it or bind it?


  6. Dancing Irishman

    Dancing Irishman Well-Known Member

    Maybe a rolled hem on a serger? It's what I've used before on tulle.

    As far as your skirt issue, I'm not sure if adding an underskirt is going to get the effect you want - I'm reading your issue as the skirt not being reactive enough / not whipping as much as you'd like or stated another way, the movement it had was softer / flowier than you wanted for a latin skirt. Another approach to get a whippier effect might be to add a slit along one of the princess seams (assuming it's not too risque for your taste) and add weight to the hemline - I've seen this done by encasing crinoline or interfacing in fabric and attaching it to the hem. The relatively higher mass at the hem will help create more of a pronounced swishing effect.

    It's also possible that your topskirt doesn't have sufficient volume for the visual effect you want - if you use the design again you may consider deeper godets, additional godets (i.e. add more seams or slits at the bottom), or godets larger than a quarter circle - I've used 120 degree arcs before to squeeze more skirt volume out of a design.

    I believe you'll be able to pull off the attachment without a bump with your plan, just obviously stretch the fabrics as you're sewing the zig zag. If it ends up leaving a bump, do you have a sash / belt or stones you could add to obscure the bump?
    Sania and Lioness like this.
  7. Sania

    Sania Well-Known Member


    1. Method to join ends of crinoline on an overlock machine (not a serger): LAP the ends, (do not pin right sides together), and use the overlock stitch with a short stitch length, then cut off the excess

    2. I added a sixth godet to fill in the former slit, and when I patched in the new crinoline I had ordered I discovered that it was much softer than what I had on hand (which I had used to good effect on a paso skirt previously)

    This explains why the skirt was not hanging properly. So I picked off several yards of crin (salvaged almost all of it) and am pinning on the newer, softer version and hoping for great things. I still may do the underskirt at a future date, once I see how the skirt looks with the new trim.
  8. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    The last dress I got (Cheap via Ebay) turned out to be 3" too long, so I decided to shorten it myself. My fault, I self measured:rolleyes:. I found that using a spring clamp to hold the crinoline onto the bench (counter top?), and then gently tensioning the hem away from the crin and using a sharp knife (scalpel) to cut the stitching (between the hem and crin) made the job quite fast. I only nicked the edge of the crin once in all 4 layers. I trimmed the hamline using a 3" wide plastic rule and a rotary cutter and sewed it all back together. It turned out quite well, and was good practice for if I ever make my own dress with crinoline!
  9. I Cha 3x

    I Cha 3x New Member

    thank you for your little attachment. just what i was looking for. bought a cheap bodycon dress (because it has so much sparkle) that is porno short but would look great with a long flowing skirt.
  10. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    For finishing crinoline cut edges what I do is take the part that will be the "top" or facing away from the fabric after any turning is all said and done and measure about 2 inches beyond where it will cross over the bottom cut edge. I fold it back so that there is a smooth folded edge on the outside and the raw cut edge is turned under. Then I squeeze it together (because it will want to kind of fan out when you fold it and I don't want a weird bump) and do a vertical stitch through all three layers of crinoline.
    Sania likes this.
  11. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    I attach underskirts using the pinking and top stitch method and find it to be the best way to get a nice smooth lay. It will work best if you put it all on a dress form and hand baste everything in place before bringing it to the machine. You'll have less possibilities of bumps or shifting.
    Sania likes this.
  12. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    Hi there, I have been following all the dressmaking related threads I can find. I am about to start making my own ballroom dress and will use a lot of the tips you have posted.
    raindance likes this.
  13. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    My current avatar is my daughter, who dances burlesque and also latin, so those are the types of costumes I am used to putting together.
  14. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    I am still planning the actual construction of my first standard dress - I was thinking I might make the underskirt in 3 tiers: top being half circle, middle a full circle and lower one, not sure, but obviously increased fullness. Then adding horsehair to the hem. Has anyone made an underskirt in this way?
  15. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

    I would not recommend making the top layer less than 3/4 of a circle - and a full one is better. A half circle top layer might look nice while stationary, but won't look nice while moving... it will just make the fuller underskirts look restricted.

    I have made dresses a few ways - 3 layers of 1.5 circle; 4 layers of one circle; top and bottom layer with one circle and a middle layer with ruffle (so like an extra half-skirt) at 1.5 circles. I've trimmed all layers with horsehair, or just the bottom two or 3 layers... sometimes exposed, sometimes folded under, sometimes exposed and folded. I've done just a simple rolled hem on the top layer, and once trimmed it with fishing line while the underskirts had horsehair. They all worked. (And I don't think I've made a dress the same way twice - I'm always using a different design and different techniques.)

    For reference, if memory serves (I'd have to check my notes), my avatar picture is a full circle satin top layer with two full circle underskirts made of a heavy chiffon/light georgette, and a half layer at about 1.5 circles. All layers are trimmed with 3" horsehair, the underskirts folded under, and the top exposed and folded in half. It moves beautifully on me, but is heavier - so I wouldn't recommend this much fabric in this weight for a beginner that doesn't move as well or for anyone on the shorter side.

    Edited to add: mindputtee and Laura's posts/blogs taught me much of what I know about dress construction - so if they chime in, I defer to them.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    Sania likes this.
  16. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    Thanks for your response. I did think perhaps half circle was not enough, and might be a bit restricting. I was planning on using crystal organza for underskirts, with the horsehair trim. If I make one layer at a time I guess I can judge weight as I go along. I'm 5'8" so weight shouldn't be too much of an issue I hope.
  17. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    I have a question regarding organza: if I am going to cut circles in crystal organza, will it still need to be hanging for a while for the bias to stretch out as in a heavier fabric?
  18. FancyFeet

    FancyFeet Well-Known Member

  19. datitmarsh

    datitmarsh Member

    Thank you!
  20. SwingingAlong

    SwingingAlong Well-Known Member

    I clipped lengths of lead curtain weight around the bottom last time, and hung it for a couple of days. It worked OK.

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