Drafting a Ballroom Dance Dress: Smooth

I haven’t been writing very much because I have been sewing like 20 different projects it feels like.  I have been working on a ballroom dance dress and this is my 1st attempt at something this intricate and difficult.  But once I had a new pattern for myself, all I had to do was draft the ballroom dress off my original sloper and some pictures.  Thank you Pinterest!

To start, I made a mesh bodysuit to which I could attach the dance shorts.  Treating it kind of like a leotard with snaps at the crotch.  So you can see from this picture that was the foundation for everything.  You can find several good videos on YouTube regarding making dancewear from “Creative Genie”.

I drafted the dress much like the body suit but lengthening the pieces and leaving space for the godets.  Once it was done I realized that chiffon I had was too transparent so then I made under skirt of a darker red organza.  Even with both of those it still was too transparent so I made a 3rd skirt to go in the middle.  My goal was to have 3 layers with the darkest being on the bottom then the orange in the middle and then the top skirt was made of 2 colors, red and yellow orange.  I didn’t start out with three layers but ended up there.  It sure was a lesson in creative problem solving.  I also hemmed each skirt with fishing line in the rolled hem to help it flare.  Adding a few drapery weights in the middle skirt helped it stay down and swing well. (sorry I didn’t get any good skirt pictures).

Then I had to do all the rhinestoning, or bedazzleing, because I wanted to look like flames.  I had made arms for the bodysuit because I wanted to stone those as well.

It was an interesting project. I learned a lot about working with Lycra and sewing it to woven materials.  It was much harder than I thought it would be.  There are many places where I am dissatisfied with the construction but it made it through a dance competition so now I can make my rhythm dress and learn a bit more.  I have plenty of more pictures saved so I can make another one for when I move up a level in completion.  I sure didn’t spend the thousands it takes to buy them new but I probably spent about $150-200 on supplies.  Not a bad deal.

Drafting a Knit Pencil Skirt

 

I think pencil skirts are very cute and my mom bought me one a while back. Every time I wear it I am reminded how uncomfortable they can be. I like to walk fast and they just don’t allow much movement. Forget going up stairs. So now that I have my new skirt block I wanted to draft a pencil skirt pattern and make one out of a heavy scuba double knit to mimic the firmness of a woven fabric. The knit will make it so much easier to walk in.

First I trace my block onto new paper in red pen.  I got so excited about my drafting that I forgot to take pictures of each step.  Sorry!

Then I make my first set of alterations in orange. I learned a trick some years ago about using the colors of the rainbow to determine what set of alterations I was on. It was hard to keep track of what the most recent alteration was so now I just look for the color the furthest down the rainbow! The next set of alterations includes marking the potential yoke and taper to the hem.

Then I cut out the pieces and tape the dart closed on the yoke. Next, I trace the pieces again to their final shape and  add the seam allowances, hem allowance, and the kick pleat extension on the back.  Next time I think I will do the final seam allowance and marker addition in black so when I am digging through all my paper copies I can tell which one is the final version.  I tend to not throw anything away until the project is finished, just in case.  But, then I find myself looking at all the versions trying to figure out what one I am on!

Notice I did not do a seam allowance at the center front as it will be cut on the fabric fold as will the yoke front. Now I am ready to cut my fabric. I chose a heavy scuba knit from Vogue Fabric Store in black.

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I assembled the skirt as if it were a woven fabric including a zipper in the back, seam stabilizer at the waist, and interfacing on the inner set of yokes.

The final skirt!

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Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 2.5: the Skirt Muslin

So here is the Allspice Abounds skirt sloper. As you can see it doesn’t fit that well in the front or over the rear. A skirt must fit over the rear correctly or you won’t have a good hemline. This one came out so-so, probably because I did not have the full instructions.

Next was the LauraAfterMidnight version. Much better! I like the way it hangs flat in the front and smoothly over the rear. Somehow it ended up a little short on the waist and too big in the hips but those are easy alterations.

Here’s LauraAfterMidnight after a little alterations. I really like the placement of the front darts. They are placed a little farther apart than usual. The skirt fit my hip well that way.   I think I found my skirt sloper!

 

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 2: the Skirt

So drafting the skirt was WAY easier than the bodice. I should have started there. Most of the blogs and skirt drafting were very similar so I ended up doing two that had different dart placements.

The first was Lauraaftermidnight’s Blog. Hers is based on a drafting book called Metric Pattern Cutting by Winfred Aldrich. I have seen many posts on this book so it seems to be a favorite among pattern drafters. Might be time to buy it. So I whipped up a skirt sloper just by following the pictures.

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Next I found a drawing of a dart variation on Allspice Abounds’ Blog.   There were no instructions but based on the picture and the instructions on the other blog I could make an approximation in my measurements. Hers is based on the Handford drafting book. It is probably a good book but a bit pricey at over $100.

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I just guessed at the length because first through the hips is what matters in a skirt.  You can adjust from flare to pencil and vary the length as you want.  So these were pretty easy. Let’s see how they fit when translated to muslins.