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Today is part two in my interview with Teri, one of the sewing school members. Tune in while we discuss possibilities for sewing and rhinestoning her first-ever ballgown.

Sewing School Members Ballgown, loves Sew Like A Pro courses



I know, can you believe her first dress looks this great?

Before enrolling in the Sew Like A Pro™ courses, Teri was a quilter and had never worked with stretch fabric or attempted making a dance dress!



Sewing took a back seat to life events.

Teri’s dilemma is that life “got in the way” of her sewing and she had to take a six-month break on this dress. That’s a very long time between start and finish — especially when you’ve never sewn a ballgown before!

I made the school available to all members 24/7 and gave them handy checklists to keep them on track just for times like this when they have to step away from the sewing machine for weeks or months. As a result, they can work on the dress when it suits their schedule.



Look at the photos below.

On the left is Teri’s original sketch and first fitting of the leotard with the lace pinned on according to her design. She posted this on our member-only Facebook group early in the dressmaking process.

The photo on the right is the dress as we see it in today’s video. The lace placement changed a lot from the original sketch.


Sewing School member's ballgown, Dancesport ballgown in progress


It’s very common to change the design as you go in order to create the best lines on your body (or your clients’ body). This is the joy – and challenge – of making custom, one-of-a-kind dresses.

Teri’s vision of what the finished dress should look like is no longer either one of the options we see above. So today, we talk about alternative designs and ways to re-inspire her to finish the dress.

Whether or not you take a hiatus when making your dress (or client’s dress), you may need to reevaluate the design after the first fitting and make changes that will help enhance the woman’s body shape and size.



Let’s talk about some of the details of Teri’s gown:



1.) Teri purchased the lace applique´s from ChrisAnne Clover in England.  (If you’re in Canada, I recommend you check out their sister store, Crystal Clover.)

Because the lace is professionally dyed, the colors are pure and evenly saturated, and are therefore, beautiful enough to stand alone without rhinestones. (In contrast, when I have to dye lace, the colors are spotty and it’s best to cover it with stones.)

2.) Teri decided to hand sew the lace use a quilting technique called “trapunto”. The lace on this dress has a nice 3-D look and is way too pretty to cover with rhinestones!

Sewing School member's ballgown, loves Sew Like A Pro online sewing school

Since we don’t want to cover the lace with stones, what are the options?


We discussed rhinestoning the bodice in a similar way as her very first dance dress (see photo left).

What’s great about this dress is that the rhinestones accentuate the “lace” without covering it up.





Teri’s skirt is mostly the light aqua color, but she added a nice cobalt blue panel on the left. Combine this unique look with the asymmetrical lace in two colors and the dress really stands out.

At first glance, I thought this was going to be a Smooth dress because the skirt does not have a lot of volume that Standard skirts often have. When I asked Teri about the skirt choice, she said,

“I wanted something that was elegant. I didn’t want something that was ‘in-style.’ I wanted to feel good when I walked on the floor.

I don’t like to follow the group; I like to be an innovator, and that’s what makes you feel good in your gown.

And when you learn how to do that with your program, you know what’s right and what’s wrong for you, so that we when do create something, it shows our character, and not somebody else’s (that’s not in your color or bra size)”


We had a great laugh over the color and bra size comment, but you ladies know what she means! It’s difficult to find a dress that suits all your visual criteria and fits well.

If you know how to sew, why not learn to make your own Dancesport, Country or Ice skating dresses?


Sewing School member's ballgown, Dancesport ballgown in progress


Teri’s original design had no sleeves, but after the long break, she feels sleeves are needed.

She and I discuss ways to tie the lace from the bodice onto the arms to create width and a nice diagonal when she is in dance position.

Likewise, since Teri’s instructor and pro-am partner is tall with a wide top line, we also want to create the illusion visual height.


Bra extender saved the day on a thrift store bra purchase.

Teri decided to sew in a bra instead of using cups. She found an economical one at the thrift store. It fit well in the bust, but was too tight across the back…. Gotta love the bra extenders!

Check out this blog for more info on using a bra or bra cups in your dress.


For more sewing tips and ideas, check out this dress made by another sewing school member.









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P.S. In PART ONE,  Teri’s shares her sewing background, why she joined the sewing school, and her goals in dressmaking.

You may want to check out that video if you need more information about the courses to help decide it they are right for you.


Interview with a Sew Like A Pro™ online sewing school member


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