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After almost a decade, this Dancesport gown is too beautiful to retire, and it’s in near perfect condition so why would we?  Rather than invest in a new dress, my client Marlaine and I decided to create a fresh look with three easy, (mostly) inexpensive steps.

  1. First, add sleeves to cover her upper arms.
  2. Update the skirt by adding volume and curve in the hem.
  3. Then add decorative straps to create a more appealing back neckline.



Is your Dancesport, Ballroom dance, Latin dance, Country or skater dress too small? Get clever alterations to make it work for you!




Sleeves make a big impact on a gown. Since Marlaine is currently bare-armed, we decided to radically change the look of the dress by adding sleeves made of the remaining embroidered mesh from the original dress. Mesh sleeves work miracles to make arms look long and sleek.

(Thank goodness I bought too much fabric and didn’t use it for someone else!)

If your dress has sleeves, consider removing them or changing the style of the sleeve to overhaul the look of your Dancesport gown. (You can check out the completed dress alterations in this blog post.)

If your dress does not have sleeves, adding them makes an older dress feel new — not to mention that sleeves cover the triceps which is one of those areas most women want to hide. Great fabrics for sleeves are mesh, stretch lace, lycra and stretch crepe.

Finally, adding rhinestones to new sleeves adds time and money. Consider these two factors when planning your renovations.




When this Dancesport gown was made a decade ago, American Style skirts were stick-straight. While this is still a trendy look in that style of dance, Marlaine and I decided to add some imitation volume to the skirt by putting crinoline / horsehair braid in the hem.

Creating gentle arcs at the bottom of the dress will give her a fresh look with minimal expense.  Crinoline curves in the skirt hem will also help compliment and offset her hips, rather than having her hips be the focal point because the skirt is straight.

If you plan to change the existing hem treatment on your dancesport gown, check the overall length to make sure it is even.

After years of hanging in the closet, fabrics often get longer in some areas.  Be sure to re-trim the skirt before you install a new hem treatment.




Marlaine’s body shape has changed since I made the dress almost ten years ago. As a result, her back is currently more exposed than what she would like. Rather than cover her lovely skin, we plan to distract the viewer with some decorative straps.

If you enjoyed this post on how to change a dancesport gown, then check out my blog on 7 Ways to Update a Lace Dance Dress.



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Don't miss part two of Marlaine's dress transformation!

Big Impact With Only Three Alterations








Thanks for watching!

Which sleeve hem do you prefer: the tiny scallop border or the heavy lace border?

What would you do if this was your dress? 

Please leave a comment below!


Do you have any other tips you want to share, or want me to expand on in a future post? Send me an email or leave a comment below!


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From Teresa Sigmon,
Founder and Designer of Seams Sensational
Creator of the Sew Like A Pro™ training series


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