A New Standard Ballroom Dancing Dress…

My 1819 re-made ball gown is almost complete! The ball is next weekend, so pictures will be coming soon. I have all my accessories in order and I’ve just about completed my petticoat. It’s time to start cranking out my Titantic-era dresses… but… I’ve taken a detour from my plans to work on a sewing project from a different facet of my life (warning: this is unrelated to historic costume!): competitive ballroom dancing.

My most recent Standard dress: unfortunately the picture quality is bad

I have made multiple dresses over the last seven or so years that I have been dancing, and they get progressively better (as with most sewing projects: you can see past dresses in the ballroom dance dress gallery in my online portfolio). I still like my most recent dress, the pale yellow with jade green lace to the right, but unfortunately almost four years have passed since its construction and it doesn’t quite fit the way it used too… (That is because the dress shrunk, right?) We are competing three or four times in the next few months and the idea was planted in my head by my partner (cough, cough), that perhaps a new dress would show me off to better advantage. So, after trying on the dress and realizing how tight the midsection had become I decided to pause in my historic construction plans and go blazing on an all new Standard dress!

International Standard ballroom dancing is made up of five dances: Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, and Quickstep. Below is a video of the 2010 International DanceSport Federation Standard Semi-Finalists and Finalists. The video is in five parts, if you are at all interested I encourage you to at least skim them all! Obviously, the dancing is amazing, because these are the best in the world, but there is also great professional commentary.

I’ve been doing lots of thinking about the color scheme and the style of the new dress. I’ve been looking at dresses within the past few years to see what the current style is for Standard dresses (because, like other styles of fashion the dresses do change in terms of fashionable details and cuts). You can visit my Pinterest board and see inspirational dresses and colors. It’s really quite fabulous–a riot of colors and great dancing (some of which is from the dancers in the above video)! I really enjoy just looking at that Pinterest board. You can probably guess the colors I decided on, but I’m not going to tell you officially, yet!

I still need to order rhinestones and a hem stiffener. I have yet to decide between nylon horsehair and plastic wire. The horsehair creates a more obvious edge, whereas the wire just makes a nice wavy hem that stands out on its own. But I have fabric! I leave you now to get to work on the dress… eek!

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2 responses to “A New Standard Ballroom Dancing Dress…

  1. Great read, I really enjoyed this article and videos. I’m a newbie at this, so I’m wondering what’s your opinion on these dance dresses? Any suggestion would be appreciated, thanks. 🙂

    • Thank you, Rita. Those are fun dresses. Personally, I like the styles of their Latin dresses better than their Ballroom dresses. Regardless, there’s a wide variety to suit different body types and personal styles.

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