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closeup of bodice of burgundy latin dress


For Latin and Country dance dresses with low-cut necklines, I often recommend adding a little bling to draw attention to the dancer’s face and to create the illusion of more height.

It’s common to see dance competitors wear a purchased rhinestone necklace or collar with her dress.  But why wear a “regular” necklace that lots of other women may be wearing on the competition floor?

This burgundy Latin dance dress has a rhinestone neckline appliqué that functions like a necklace, but is incorporated into the dress and looks unique on the dance floor!

christina musser latin dance photo


Christina, who is currently the head dance instructor at Spotlight Ballroom in West Sacramento, designed this burgundy dress herself.  When designing this Latin dress, she had two specific goals in mind.

  1. She wanted to look taller.
  2. She wanted a Pro competition dress that was modest, but without making her look frumpy.

Fortunately, Christina accomplished both of her goals with this Latin dress design!

The tall rhinestone neckline appliqué and the sleek, columnar skirt make her look tall and sexy while still being modest.  In contrast with the modest front, this dress has a wide open back design, which is very flattering on Christina.



 Diamond Neckline Appliqué 

closeup of diamond neckline applique and V neckline

The rhinestoned neckline appliqué is definitely the main focal point of this Latin dress.  Together, the column of diamond shapes and the collar neckline create a tall vertical design line that is very lengthening.

The rhinestone clusters on the diamond shapes add some bling to an otherwise undecorated dress.

Believe it or not, the rhinestone clusters on the neckline appliqué were not originally a part of Christina’s design!  When she bought this Latin dress ready-made, the diamond chain was too tall for her neck.  Rather than laying flat, it would hang away from her chest.  She still liked the neckline appliqués, so instead of removing the design element, she cut one of the diamonds to shorten the appliqué.  Then she used the rhinestone clusters to cover up how the diamonds are pieced together.

Although the rhinestone clusters were originally just for camouflage, you would never guess it!

Sew Like A Pro™ Dressmaker Tip #1:

Sometimes necklaces or other stiff rhinestoned pieces (like the diamond appliqué on Christina’s dress) tend to stand away from the body instead of laying flat.  If you have a rhinestoned necklace or accent that moves too much, you can use spirit gum or silicone to stick the necklace to your skin.

silicone backing to keep gauntlet in place


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 Sleek, columnar skirt 

burgundy latin dress with fluted latin skirt

Although this Latin skirt is very sleek, it actually has a lot of volume, making it a very versatile skirt.  If she wanted to, Christina could use this dress for Paso Doble.

One side of the skirt is open, which looks very flattering on Christina.  However, the top of the opening is a little too short for figure.  She would love to be able to add fabric to the shortest area so more f her upper thigh is covered.

There are several ways she can alter the skirt, but here are two that stand out to me.

1. Why not add some more bling to this dance dress while adding onto the skirt?

Christina can appliqué several of the rhinestoned diamonds to the edge of the skirt, matching the neckline appliqué.  This would add a few inches of material to the skirt, as well as create another focal point.  To balance out the asymmetrical focal point, she may also need to make a gold rhinestone bracelet to wear on the opposite wrist.

Although the diamond appliqués would tie into the dress design and look intentional, there is another option.

black latin dress with ruffle, back view



2.  If Christina had a little bit of extra fabric, she could sew a small ruffle/flounce along the short edge of the skirt, similar to the black Latin dress to the right.

A small flounce would make the opening a little more modest while also adding some extra skirt  movement.





Compare Christina's original skirt with the two possible skirt alterations. Which alteration is your favorite? Or what other alteration idea would you propose?

Drop your answer in the comments at the end of this post!

two ways to add length to latin dance skirt


Sew Like A Pro™ Dressmaker Tip #2:

Unfortunately, Christina doesn't have any extra fabric to add onto the skirt, which is a common problem if you are altering a dress that you did not make yourself.  Although she may not have any extra fabric, the side skirt panel has enough volume that she could take some of the fabric out of the side panel to create a small ruffle.

If you make ballroom or skate dresses for yourself, always leave extra fabric!  You never know when you might need it, and if you ever sell the dress, it is always nice to pass on some extra fabric to your buyer so they can make alterations if they wish.



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Latin dance skirt alterations, Teresa Sigmon, Duffy Betterton Dance Dress Couture



I discuss more ways to add onto a skirt that is too short in a blog with Duffy from Dance Dress CoutureClick here to view the blog and get more skirt alterations ideas.


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    2 replies to "Latin Dress With a Rhinestone Neckline Appliqué"

    • Kim Kaufman

      Great job Christina!!! I would modify the side skirt by adding the matching bling applique … it would tie it all together and look great, plus one can NEVER have too much bling!!

      • Teresa

        Thanks for the awesome comment, Kim! I agree 🙂

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