Want trade secrets on making Dancesport, Country & Skate dresses?

Get the Sew Like A Pro™ newsletter!


One way to save money and still get a great dress is to pick a dress off the bargain rack from your favorite clothing store and customize it to fit your Ballroom, Latin, competition Dancesport, Country or skater dress needs.

     P.S. I recommend a stretch one so it’s most comfortable and will move with you.


In this video, I show you just a few of the many options that are possible with a bargain priced, store-bought dress. You’re only limited by your imagination and sewing skills – so push the limit in both cases for a unique dress that suits your body shape and size.

Keep in mind that a store-bought dress needs something that offers bust support and trunks to cover your tush. I prefer to build in a full leotard and sew in a bra or bra cups which takes care of both issues, as well as smooths fleshy areas.


Never Miss a Dress or Design Tip! Get the Sew Like A Pro™ newsletter.

We value your privacy and would never spam you


  • The asymmetrical neckline flatters Shirley’s face and body shape.
  • Black makes her eyes stand out.
  • The diagonal ruffles make god skirt movement.
  • The gathers and diagonal ruffles help camouflage Shirley’s classic female tummy.
  • This bargain dress shape offers many options for customizing the dress to Shirley’s body as well for multiple dance styles.



  • Shirley has a small waist and curvy hips. The straight across the mini-skirt makes her hips look wider. Thus, the angle needs to be changed. Diagonal is a good choice here.
  • She also has a long torso and short legs. The straight across look of the skirt on this bargain dress isn’t flattering because it not only makes her hips look wider, but also makes her legs appear shorter. Adding a jagged hem or layered-type skirt is effective at accentuating the positive curves and minimizing the negative.
  • Shirley dances Rhythm, Smooth, and Standard, so I created several ways she can wear the dress, giving her more value for her money.


With the first alteration, I made a detachable, single skirt layer of light blue satin charmeuse. (You can add as many layers as your dance style or budget allow.) The skirt color corresponds with the rhinestones.

If you have long legs and small hips (and prefer a super-fitted-over-the-hip look), you have the option to keep the black mini-skirt its original length as long as that look is fashionable in your dance or skate style.

However, since Shirley has short legs compared to her overall height, a long black mini-skirt look is the most flattering look for her body. The best option is to shorten the black skirt just below her rear end and above the natural curve of the thigh. Her legs now look longer and there’s more skirt to swish around as she dances.


With the second alteration, I add evenly spaced ruffles to the left side of the shortened black dress to offer skirt movement and to help balance Shirley’s hips which are slightly asymmetrical.

Having a lot of skirt movement is a flattering option – especially for beginning dancers who may not have much Cuban motion. Skirt movement is also key for a great looking skate dress.

For the right arm, I added a short sleeve, to cover her tricep area as well as the armpit, for a smoother line. Floats could be added to this sleeve to change the shape and functionality for Standard dances. And of course, you can do any length sleeve that suits your dress or your needs.


Thanks for watching!

Tell me about one of your dress conversions.
How has this video inspired you to to remodel one of your current dresses? 

Leave a comment below-and share this with a friend!

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

Never Miss a Dress or Design Tip! Get the Sew Like A Pro™ newsletter.

We value your privacy and would never spam you

Leave a Comment or a Question