“Berry” Ballroom Dress Update

I’ve been plugging away at my new Standard Ballroom Dance dress. I’ve made progress, though not quite as quickly as I had hoped, as the dress was intended to be worn in about 9 days!!! Once the dress is sewn,  I still have the job of individually gluing on about 3,000 (yes, that’s three thousand!) rhinestones.  So… in the effort to preserve my sanity and focus on other projects, I have decided to be a smart stress-reducer and put this dress on hold until summer so that I can have a new dress for the fall competition season.

Also, I am glad to report that my old yellow dress does not fit quite as tightly as I remembered it fitting just a few weeks ago! I wore it this past weekend and, while tight, it didn’t seem to be uncomfortably or unflatteringly so. Also, I was told that the velcro accident instigated by my partner is not visible from the dance floor, which is an encouraging thought. I do have quite a few neglected snap and hook and eye repairs to do on the dress, though… And I really should do those in the next 9 days, so that I’m not distracted on the dance floor…

Regardless of the sewing future of this dress, I’ll share pictures of my progress now, so you can appreciate the delicious berry colors I decided on.

My progress on the dress so far.

Disclaimer: this dress form does no favors for the dress. It fits me far better than the form, and it helps that I have arms to keep the straps on! Most of the weird bumps in the bodice are from the built in bodysuit that is bunched under the dress: the leg openings just don’t work on a dress form!

But anyway, progress: the bodice has been sewn and fit multiple times, the skirt godets have been sewn in, and there is a very invisible zipper sewn in center back (you can only see the zipper pull because it is pink instead of purple-ish)! Still to do before the rhinestones: serge all the skirt seams and hems (which I actually did after I took the pictures), finish the hems with plastic wire (which I did… it was disastrous looking! I hated it and it was so frustrating! so then I took it all out… I think I might try horsehair), finish the top edge of the bodice, sew the straps on… Once the rhinestones are on I still need to make floats (the usually chiffon pieces that hang off of the arms) and a neck decoration of some sort. I’m not sure what that will look like yet, but now I’ve got time to plan ahead!

The back of the dress. Those straps blend in with the dress form so well I can hardly see them!

I keep mentioning hems (plural). The skirt is actually four layers: chiffon and organza treated as one, charmeuse, and then organza. So when I say finish seams, or hem layers, that’s because there are three separate layers in the skirt that need attention! Each godet is a full quarter circle, which means that each hem is a full circle and a half. The under layers actually do show through the chiffon, depending on how the light hits the dress (see the picture, below, with a flash on). You can also see the way the chiffon has stretched out more than the other layers.

The skirt photographed with the flash on: you can see the pink under layers much better here.

I’ve decided to call this dress the “berry” ballroom dress, because all the colors (except maybe the purple chiffon) remind me of berries! (And I do love berries!)

The fabrics used in this dress: nude power mesh, berry stretch knit, purple chiffon, raspberry charmeuse, and raspberry organza.

2 thoughts on ““Berry” Ballroom Dress Update

    1. Oh my, you know it’s been so long since I worked on this that I don’t really remember. I think each of the skirt layers (the chiffon, organza, and charmeuse) used about 4.5 yds. The knit for the body was probably about 3 yds.

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