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I love this style and color combination on Pat, our model. The dress is sexy yet sophisticated and age-appropriate without being boring. It also has a lot of little surprises such as a removable sleeve, two-tone mesh and a trompe-l’oeil plunging back.

Meet Pat, a fantastic lady and long-time client. She competes in Rhythm, Smooth and Standard. Today we discuss what alterations need to be done to accommodate her gradual weight loss since I made the dress, and how to make her legs look longer by changing the skirt.

And a big THANKS to the folks at Beaverton Ballroom/Dance Fit Oregon for letting us film at their studio.

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  • An asymmetrical neckline offers the illusion of movement as well as helps camouflage any of Pat's body asymmetries.
  • The plunging V back is also an optical illusion since it has flesh-color lycra under the mesh for support and bodice smoothing.
  • Consider detachable sleeves. They're a fun, economical and easy way to change the look of a dress... every time you wear it.
  • The skirt is flashy looking and moves well because of the weight of the rhinestones, yet it doesn't show a lot of leg when she spins. This is great for ladies who want a modest Country, Latin or skate skirt.
  • With that in mind though ... a skirt that falls on your legs at the perfect height will make your legs look longer and more shapely! (which is why we're shortening Pat's skirt.)
  • When designing or altering your next dress (or choosing one off-the-rack), raise and lower the skirt position several times to find the right height for YOUR body shape and size.

Often, time and/or money restrictions play a part in how much you alter a dress. Pick and choose your battles as necessary, but here's a list of...


  • Replace the flesh color elastic on the right shoulder. 
  • This one is old, has lost it's stretch and no longer offers much bust support.
  • difficulty level = EASY!
  • Take in each side seam (on the dress and the leotard) to make it contour her waistline more.
  • Stones will need to be removed on the mesh dress.
  • difficulty level = MODERATE
  • Make the right sleeve detachable so she has more options.
  • Ripping stitches where the sleeve attaches and then hand-sewing hooks & eyes are mostly what is required.
  • There may be a few stones to remove and replace.
  • Ditto with some replacement hand-stitching on the dress where the sleeve is removed.
  • difficulty level = EASY to MODERATE
  • Shorten all layers of the skirt to make longer looking legs.
  • With this many stones on the bottom of all three skirt layers, it's inadvisable to shorten the skirt at the hem.
  • Skill and patience are required to expertly shorten the skirt in a hidden area where it attaches to the bodice without losing many stones.
  • difficulty level = DIFFICULT
  • Remove the flare at the bottom of the left sleeve for a fresh look.
  • This project is easy sewing, but time consuming because of removing and replacing stones.
  • difficulty level = MODERATE





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How to snip a waistband for a smoother look

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