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smooth dance dress, ballgown, mesh
Dressmaker Sherri Hansen, with dancer/model Jordan.

 

Today’s ballgown is a sexy Smooth dance dress impeccably sewn by Sherri Hansen, one of the Sew Like A Pro™ members. This style of ballgown is perfect for the Dancesport world as well as Country Waltz.

I had a great time hanging out with Sherri and seeing several dresses she made!

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Sherri is one of the original ten women to enroll when I opened the sewing programs for the first time ever in May, 2016. 

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Over the last few years, she and I connected a few times on the SLP™ live Q&A calls, but we had never met until moments before I began setting up lights and cameras.

I learned during filming that Sherri had made only two dresses before enrolling in the Sew Like A Pro™ courses.  

smooth dance dress, ballgown, sew like a pro member Sherri Hansen
Teresa Sigmon spends time in Denver, Colorado with Sew Like A Pro™ members, Sally Faust and Sherri Hansen.

 

Since then, she has made many competition dresses that continually improve in quality while the designs get more complex and difficult to make. 

At the time of filming August 2018, the red Latin dress I am wearing in this photo is the most recent of Sherri’s creations.

It is impeccably made!  I’m a proud sewing parent 🙂

P.S. Say hello to Sally, another SLP™ member. She was too shy to be filmed this time, but she agreed to pose for this photo.

 

 

 


ADVANCED DESIGN ELEMENTS IN THIS SMOOTH DANCE DRESS

This sexy black ballgown is modeled by Jordan, a competitive student at Booth Dancesport in Denver, Colorado. The smooth dance dress fits her beautifully and is a perfect design to enhance her figure.

Let's talk about a few of the advanced design elements that Sherri incorporated into this dress.

 

1. The bodice of this smooth dance dress is unlined mesh.

The bodice of this Smooth dance dress is completely mesh so it is very sheer. Lace is used to camouflage the bra cups and create strong focal points on the bodice.

The disadvantage to a mesh bodice is that it doesn’t provide much support. However, with someone like Jordan who is petite and doesn’t need support, the mesh really shows off her figure.

SEWING TIP: Are you a skater who wants warmth in your costume?  Are you a curvy dancer or skater who prefers a more supportive leotard to help create smooth body shapes?  I suggest lining the mesh with a flesh color lycra. It will give you the same sheer look, but offer both warmth, body shaping and enhanced durability. Plus the seams don't show when because they are tucked inside the flesh color lycra.

 

smooth dance gown, ballgown, mesh sleeves, mesh leotard, ice skating costume, latin dance dress

 

 

2. The skirt has an interesting history and cool features.

This ballgown was originally a Paso Doble dress with the split going up the center front. The fluted panel skirt on this ballgown is atypical because it is made of swim suit lining instead of a classic non-stretch ballgown skirt fabric like pearl chiffon or charmeuse. The swimsuit lining fabric is economical and adds a slight shimmery appearance to help the black stand out more on the dance floor. 

After the Paso Doble routine was finished, Sherri converted the dress into a Smooth ballgown. The main change was creating a more feminine look by rotating the skirt so the split is up the front of the thigh instead of in the center, which is a more Latin look.

 

SEWING TIP: It is possible there was an easier way to change the location of the skirt split without removing the entire skirt to rotate it. One option to consider: stitch close the existing opening and remove the stitching connecting the two panels where you want the new split to be.

How do you know whether it's easier to remove and rotate the skirt or close/open a new split?  That depends on the amount of lace, stones and the skirt hem treatment. You need to decide that according to each dress.

 


 

3. Vertical lines on this design makes Jordan look taller. 

smooth dance dress, mesh leotard, Sherri Hansen, Teresa Sigmon, Sew Like A Pro student

 

Jordan is not a very tall person (though she's still taller than me!), and she's perhaps shorter than the average Smooth or Standard dancers.

This design helps her stand out on the dance floor by making her look taller than she is. 

Which design elements help add visual height?

 

  1. The fabric rises high over her shoulders, adding a vertical look to this smooth ballgown.
  2. The plunging V neckline also contributes to the long lines of the dress.

Sherri said that in making this smooth dance dress, the biggest challenge was “making sure the [low cut V shape] stayed at the right tension… making sure it was symmetrical before I tried to finish it.”

If you are interested in having Sherri make you a custom dress, please email her directly at: silhouettedancesportattire@gmail.com

 

 

4. The full back zipper is extremely well done.

smooth dance dress, full back zipper, meshEvery dress needs seams, right? Because mesh is so sheer, the seams really show up against the skin and can detract from the overall appearance.

Sherri decided instead of having side seams, she would only have one seam down the back where the zipper is. This makes the dress look more sleek, and turns the zipper into a focal point, not an eyesore.

 

SEWING TIP: When sewing a full zipper into the dress you have to allow for spinal curves that go in opposing directions. Full back zippers are the most difficult to make fit well.

Sherri did an amazing job of making the back of this mesh bodice smooth and fitted. The fact that she did not have any side seams, also makes fitting the dress more difficult.

The second challenge Sherri faced with this zipper is that mesh wants to curl around itself. Even though she used an invisible/blind zipper, she still had to top stitch to prevent the mesh from getting caught in the zipper teeth. 

 

Fabulous job, Sherri, on such a beautiful dress with exquisite workmanship! I love how my dressmaking students keep me on my toes by taking on big challenges.

Neckline Success was one of the training videos that inspired Sherri to enroll. Check it out if you want more information about the Sew Like A Pro™ courses. 

 

 

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT SHERRI'S BALLGOWN!

 

 

 


 

 

Another tip from the video: For all of you sewing people who want a "new" Dancesport dress or ice skating dress, altering the skirt or putting a new skirt on an old bodice is a great way to create a ‘new’ dress without spending much! 

If you're interested in this idea, check out these blog posts that talk about ways to change the skirts.

 

Tired of your Latin or skate skirt? Make TWO options!

 

Bargain Dress Becomes A Dancesport or Skate Costume

 

 


Thanks again to the lovely Jordan for modeling and being a good sport while Sherri and I to talk about her 🙂

Thanks also to the owners of  Booth Dancesport in Denver, Colorado for allowing us to film in their studio!

If you are interested in having Sherri make you a custom dress, please email her directly at: silhouettedancesportattire@gmail.com

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