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Step aside, rhinestones. Today’s post features a sequin skate dress with ombré painting on a chiffon skirt.  This figure skating costume may not have any rhinestones, but it certainly does not lack in sparkle.

Molly’s sequin skate dress caught my attention at the 2019 Adult Nationals Figure Skating Championships.

The combination of sequin and payette embellishment is unconventional.  Add to the mix a slit chiffon skirt instead of the classic “triangle” style skirt … you bet I was interested in filming this dress! 🙂

molly and teresa at adult nationals 2019


Meet Molly Brooks, a Figure Skater with a Background in Industrial Design

Surprisingly, Molly returned to figure skating three years ago, after a long eighteen-year hiatus.  It really is never too late to do something you love!

“I am absolutely loving the community, and just the sport in general.” – Molly Brooks


Molly combines her industrial design background with her passion for figure skating to create fun skating lapel pins, stickers, patches, and cards.  Visit her Etsy shop, Schmoll Thoughts, to buy a few.

schmoll thoughts lapel pins, greeting cards, skate products


Molly bought her black-to-gray-fade sequin skate dress secondhand.  Overall, it is a flattering dress design on her with several solid design elements.  I think it was a great purchase.  The payette and sequin embellishments, ombré painting, and slit chiffon skirt all work together to create a tall and slimming dress design.

Read on for details about the design elements of this figure skating dress and why each element works, or does not work, on Molly's figure.

 Sequin embellishments & ombré painting 

stitching for the sequins on the chiffon skirt


Instead of traditional rhinestones, Molly’s figure skating dress is decorated with sequins and payettes.

Sequins are a much less expensive alternative to rhinestones.  They don't have near the sparkle of rhinestones, but when you're on a tight budget - or want a unique look, they are fun to use.

You can glue sequins on if you wish to save time, and can do it tidily.  Gluing is my personal choice since it is MUCH faster than hand sewing a thousand sequins, which was done on Molly's dress.

If you look on the underside of the chiffon skirt, you can see the stitches attaching the sequins.  Of course, those stitches don't show at all when she's on the ice.  Therefore, if you choose to sew the bling on, the threads won't show unless you're viewing the dress up close.

Sew Like A Pro™ DRESSMAKER TIP #1 

The ombré fade on this sequin skate dress is beautiful.  However, it visually cuts Molly's body in half.  She is tall and thin enough to wear this look without changing the way her body naturally looks.  Curvy, plus size or short women beware when considering wearing an ombré effect - especially one whose proportions are 50/50 like on this dress.

If you are a short, curvy or plus size woman who really wants an ombré effect, choose a longer skirt and make the fade proportions no more than 70% one color and 30% the other color.  Those ratios will prevent you from looking shorter and wider.

Do you want more design training like this?

Join our next skate dress design challenge to learn how to design, choose or alter dresses that flatter your figure.   Click here to see what happened in a previous skate dress challenge.

sequin skate dress with mesh back design


On Molly's ice skating dress, the sequin design creates long vertical lines that flow from her shoulders onto the chiffon skirt.  This is a lovely detail because the payettes and sequins camouflage the skirt attachment line. (Remember this statement.)

Also, this vertical decorative pattern is ideal for someone short who wishes to look taller, or for a curvy woman who wishes to look less curvy.

Lastly, the mesh sequin skate dress is incorporated into the back design, which is mostly open.  The mesh is sequined like the rest of the dress, so it complements the dress design instead of only being there to hold the dress together.

Click here for tips on how to design a mesh back that doesn't detract from the overall design.


I can tell Molly’s dress had stitches removed to loosen the dress for the previous owner.  How do I know this?  The strip of fabric along each side seam is white instead of pale gray like the rest of the leotard.  There are also no sequins or payettes so it makes the alteration super obvious.

In an ideal dressmaker situation, sequins and payettes would have been added when the stitches were removed to loosen the dress for the previous owner.  Matching the pale gray tone will take a while to mix the correct paint ratios, but it is possible if you want to go that far.

This pre-worn figure skating dress fits Molly loosely enough she can take in each side seam to the amount required show the white parts of the leotard no longer show.  She can also add more bling to to each side to help create a more cohesive look.

strip of undyed fabric where dress was let out


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two layer slit chiffon skirt

 Slit chiffon skirt 

The skirt on Molly’s sequin skate dress is made with two layers of chiffon, also known as georgette.

There are many slits cut in the skirt, creating lots of movement.  You can also create a similar effect with flames, spirals or handkerchiefs.

I love that Molly’s skirt is two layers, because each layer moves differently when she is skating.  They are both the same fabric, but the top layer is weighted down with sequins and the bottom is not.  Therefore, the two layers of fabric flow at different speeds creating a lovely effect.



If Molly’s skate skirt was made with either lycra or mesh, it would not need a hem.  However, since chiffon is a woven fabric that frays easily, this skirt requires a hem (or at the very least a fabric glue on the perimeter.)  The dressmaker did a precise thin rolled edge hem which is also my choice for hems on short skirts.

Is your skirt is made with a stretch fabric, such as lycra, mesh, velvet?  Great!  Those fabrics do not fray on the cut edges.  You can save time and avoid doing a hem.  Simply use a sharp rotary cutter to cut a clean edge and you're finished.


Molly stepped a little outside her comfort zone when choosing this sequin skate dress.  She wasn't sure, if she would like the non-traditional skirt.  Now, she says, it is one of her favorite aspects of the dress!

If you know me, you know that I dislike the "triangle" skate skirts - called such by Wendy, another 2019 Adult Nationals competitor, who says that skirt style does not look good on her.  Click here to learn more about Wendy's dress and better alternatives to the classic V skate skirt attachment.

Truthfully, the traditional skate skirts that are stitched to the leotard in a V or low scoop low, with half circle front volume rarely look good on anyone!  Why they have been worn for decades I don't know.  I find it maddening and a disservice to women of all shapes and sizes.  That skirt style has been worn for decades and they are seldom figure-flattering on women!  Plus, where the skirt attaches to the leotard curls up and looks yucky.  Who wants that?

bad figure skating skirt attachment. Asymmetrical skirt line is more figure flattering for adult women skaters.


Yes, Molly's sequin skate dress has a classic shallow V skirt attachment.  Remember I said earlier the sequins and payettes (and the ombré painting) help camouflage the skirt attachment line which is a big bonus.  Detracting from the skirt attachment line helps soften the "V" skirt attachment so the dress looks better on her overall.


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