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Today’s post is part two in talking about ways to update an eighteen year-old ballroom dance dress with an open back that is still in good shape and wearable — with some remodeling.

Betty, the owner of this sassy black and magenta dress, purchased it online as her first-ever competition dress.

She hasn’t worn it in almost ten years because it doesn’t feel comfortable. She says her least favorite thing about the dress is that it feels too low on the bust, like it presses her breasts flat. In part one, we talk about how to fix that problem.


open back latin dress


My least favorite thing about this dress is the open back neckline and how it does not enhance the best parts of Betty’s figure!

Ways to adjust an open back that shows too much skin is the main topic of today’s video. This is an issue many women have to deal with when buying a used or off-the-rack dress of any style.


Which offers better bust support and looks better on an open back: a bra strap or criss cross straps?

Betty said she added the imitation bra strap because she felt like she needed more bust support.

If you watched the first video in this series, you know the imitation bra strap won’t help her feel more comfortable in the bust area because the problem is that the leotard is too short.

Problem solved on the bust support.


In this video, we tackle how to make the back neckline more flattering. Step #1: get rid of the horizontal bra strap!  It detracts from the better design elements of the dress so removing it is a must. Read my blog about what to change on a budget ballgown to find out more about ways to get rid of ugly horizontal back straps!

On the spot, I thought of two main options for changing the open back shape.

  1. Add criss cross straps to help camouflage the shape of the open back and offer bust support.
  2. Add fabric to the open back to make it a flattering “V” shape instead of a “U” shape that makes Betty look broad in the back.

These are complex alterations that require several fittings to get the fabric additions to lie smoothly.

Betty knows how to sew. I bet she can do these herself if she tries the dress on several times, or has a dress form which makes the process faster.



Take a look at these options I created using a photo editing software.

Which do you prefer and why? Leave a comment below!



open back Latin dance dress, without criss cross straps for bust support



open back Latin dance dress, with criss cross straps for bust support


Watch the video below for more details about Betty’s dress. Click here to read my post on a ballgown made by Betty’s friend Lynn.


Lastly, thanks to Stan and Mary Collins, owners of U Can Dance Studio in St. Louis, Missouri, for letting me film in their dance space while they were at the doctor’s office for a final checkup before delivering a health baby boy. Congratulations to the proud parents and smiling baby!







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Create a more flattering backline


Big Impact With Only Three Alterations



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