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Every competitive, artistic sport has bling.  Rhinestones used to be optional, but have become a necessity over the last decades.

Create Your Own Diamond Rhinestone Pattern, adult figure skating, U.S. adult nationals

Today’s feature figure skater Monica up-leveled an economical ready-made skating costume by doing all the decorations herself, including designing this super cool diamond rhinestone pattern.


Why would you want to create your own rhinestone pattern?

  1. You save money.
  2. You can choose your own rhinestone pattern.
  3. Maybe you just like rhinestoning?



Which types of costumes use rhinestones?

High-end Ballroom and Country dance costumes use a lot of stones.  Figure skating and roller skating costumes, as well as Rhythmic gymnastics seem to use more stones every season.  Even the classical genre of gymnastic leotards have rhinestones these days. 

And have you checked out the latest Irish dance dresses and Western horse show jackets?  Holy moly, I think the amount of bling on those costumes may rival, or surpass, the 8,000 – 10,000 stones the average Dancesport Latin dress has!


create your own rhinestone pattern, ice skating costume, rhythmic gymnastics leotard, irish dance dress, ballroom dance costume, show horse jacket cos

Check out my Sew Like A Pro™ Pinterest pages for more rhinestone pattern ideas!



Rhinestone patterns are one of the best ways to catch the viewer’s attention.

Before I created the Sew Like A Pro™ school, I made costumes full-time.

I used to routinely glue 50-60 gross of stones on a ballroom dance costume.  That’s about 8,000 crystals of varying sizes, all glued on one by one.  Today, even more rhinestones are used.  Plus, the rhinestone patterns get more and more complex every year which require extra time and labor, and sometimes an additional designer’s fee. 

When you pay someone to glue all those stones on a dress, the cost of your costume goes up in a hurry! 

Why not learn to make and rhinestone your own competition Dancesport, Country and Skating costumes?

Seriously, with as many rhinestones as dresses have these days, when you make and rhinestone one or two dresses and you’ve basically recouped the tuition for my online sewing school.


rhinestone pattern, mesh sleeves, women's adult figure skating costume


Which brings us to back to today’s ice skating costume worn by Monica, whom I met at the 2019 U.S. Adult National Figure Championships in Salt Lake City.  At this event, Monica made a comeback to competition skating after a twenty year break.

She splurged and had a stunning purple and black dress custom made and completely rhinestoned by Brad Griffies. Click here to read my blog on this dress.

But after dropping about $1000 on the purple dress, she decided to save a lot of money by purchasing an economy, off-the-rack, undecorated dress and rhinestone it herself.

Create Your Own Diamond Rhinestone Pattern, adult figure skating, U.S. adult nationals


What a spectacular diamond rhinestone pattern Monica created for her solo free dance!  I love it. 

She spent a long time deliberating on what style rhinestone pattern she wanted. 

She said her music was a “groovy song with lots of bass”, so she wanted a rhinestone pattern that would fit with the music without being “too pretty”.

While I did not get to see the dress on the ice with music, it sounds like she created the perfect diamond rhinestone pattern.



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Rhinestoning is expensive and time-consuming.

You can pay someone to add them to the dress.

You can glue the stones yourself.

Or, you can do without stones.  But as I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, that may not be a good idea if you want to look your best on the competition dance floor or skate rink.

Paying someone is the easiest and most expensive option for sure.  However you can save a lot of money by doing the stone work yourself.  Some people really like rhinestoning, even if it takes 15-30 hours to decorate the dress.  While I personally do not like rhinestoning, a lot of people find it relaxing.

Fair warning: if you are not detail-oriented or if you detest tedious work, then rhinestoning probably isn’t for you.   It took Monica at least a week to get her lines drawn on the dress -- and that doesn't include the time to glue the stones to the dress.

Having done a few diamond or linear patterns myself over the years (like the apple green dress below), I know how difficult it is to get the lines straight and even looking like you see on this apple green costume.  Creating lines take a lot more stones and more time than doing a simple sprinkle all over the dress!

linear rhinestone pattern with Swarovski baguettes and flat back stones



Rhinestoning doesn’t always go as you expect. 

Originally, Monica was planning to only use rhinestones of the same size. Once she began she ran into a problem; the stones didn’t fit properly on the lines she drew.  In order to make the lines and the solid rhinestone diamond pattern look good, she had to use stones of different sizes. 

SEW LIKE A PRO™ DRESSMAKER TIP #1: Using different size stones to create the effect you want is common and perfectly acceptable.  Plan on it and you won’t get sidetracked when the same size stones don’t fit.


Focal Point: Diamond Rhinestone Pattern

The main focal point of this blue skate dress is obviously the diamond rhinestone pattern. What is so great about Monica’s design?

.Create Your Own Diamond Rhinestone Pattern, skate skirt attachment

1. Randomness.

One of the best parts of this blue skate dress is the random, solidly rhinestoned diamond shapes. Because the diamonds are randomly scattered on the leotard instead of being in a symmetrical pattern, it makes the viewer’s eye want to bounce all over the dress.

2. Asymmetry.

This blue figure skating costume is actually very symmetrical. The rhinestone pattern Monica created, both with the random diamonds and the jagged bottom, creates an asymmetrical look that adds interest to an otherwise basic dress.

3. Camouflage the skirt attachment.

The rhinestones camouflage the skirt attachment line because the diamond rhinestone pattern is extended into the skirt.

Kudos, Monica, for these awesome details!


SEW LIKE A PRO™ DRESSMAKER TIP #2:  As I discussed in another skate dress blog, many skate costumes do not have princess seams or bust darts to allow for womanly curves.

Monica’s dress is no exception.

In my sewing school, I teach students how to make dresses with princess seams that will fit their body shape better than a straight child’s cut such as Monica's leotard.

However, with this particular diamond rhinestone pattern, having a child’s cut leotard without princess seams made it much, much easier for Monica to create this gorgeous look.  Because her dress is cut from a straight child’s pattern, Monica was able to lay out her dress flat or slide it onto a cardboard box and draw straight lines for the rhinestone pattern. 

If she had to work around princess seams or other breast curves like you see in the apple green costume above, it would have taken her more time and skill to create the look she wanted.

4 main rhinestone glues, hot hix, hot glue glue, non-toxic white, epoxy


Lastly, find out which glues are best for your needs, check out this rhinestone glue blog post.




Did you rhinestone a costume to wear for competition?  Did you like the finished product? 

Type your tips or troubles below.


As always, please share this post with all your dancing, skating, sewing friends!




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