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What does it take to have a competition Smooth gown that is both pretty and practical?

Pretty:  Lots of rhinestones in an ornate pattern.

Practical:  Snaps in the crotch to make a visit to the ladies’ room faster.

Pretty:  Decorative stretch lace covering the arms and back.

Practical:  Front zipper so you can dress yourself.

Pretty, Practical Smooth gown with rhinestoned focal point and mesh sleeves, stretch lace. Filmed at Overland Park Ballroom in Kansas. Amy Castro. Carlye Hemphill.

Before I dive into talking about this gorgeous red gown, let me thank Carlye for modeling and Amy Castro, long time friend and fellow dancer, for letting me film in her beautiful Kansas studio, Overland Park Ballroom.

Carlye modeled four dresses in a marathon afternoon of filming. There are about twenty dresses hanging in their studio and wedding venue. We could have filmed for days except our schedules didn’t allow that much time.

If you are interested in buying this dress or others on hand, contact Amy through the Overland Park Ballroom website.

The Zipper Is Front & Center


This is the last of four videos Carlye and I filmed. (Click here to watch Carlye’s video in a blue Latin dress.)

I chose to release it out of sequence because one of my Sew Like A Pro™ members, Elif in Louisiana, USA, wants a front zipper in her first ballgown.

This blog is great training for her and you.

I love using invisible zippers in my dresses. I teach the Sew Like A Pro™ members to do the same thing. Why? They’re easy to install and don’t interfere with how the dress looks, even when there are no decorations.

The gorgeous rhinestoning pattern on this red Smooth gown is a giant focal point that could be used on almost any style Dancesport, Country or Skate dress.

All the stones have the potential to camouflage the zipper. However, in my opinion, the dressmaker fell short so it actually makes the zipper more obvious.

Below is my photo-editing indicating one of many possibilities to add more stones to the center front of the dress to better camouflage the zipper. As long as the zipper goes up and down, you can put rhinestones very close to the teeth.

Pretty, Practical Smooth gown with rhinestoned focal point, front zipper and mesh sleeves, stretch lace

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Embroidered Mesh / Stretch Lace


It’s a toss up as to which I like more: the front zipper or this interesting mesh-type material covering Carlye’s arms and back. You may call this fabric an embroidered mesh, or an unconventional stretch lace.

The fabric has an open weave, which makes it easy to put a finger through if you got dressed in a hurry.

On the bright side, the open weave keeps dancers cool. Conversely, skaters may want to line it with flesh color mesh or lycra to stay warm.

Pretty, Practical Smooth gown with rhinestoned focal point and mesh sleeves, stretch lace

The not-quite-sheer look of the fabric is ideal for women who want to be covered up without looking matronly.

Also interesting on this competition Dancesport gown: the dense rhinestoned accent on the bum.

It took me a while to get used to it, but in the end, I liked it.

The ornate rhinestoned area sits right at the sacrum. This means it is high enough on the tush that it’s a good focal point without making the bum look larger.

The rhinestones that continue along the side resemble a hip belt which is a lovely look on Carlye’s figure.

DESIGN TIP: A woman with a smaller waist-to-hip ratio may want to steer clear of hip belts because they often emphasize the straightness.

 

For more dress details, check out the video.

Be sure to leave a comment below saying what YOUR favorite part of the dress is!

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By leaving my name and email address, I understand I will receive 3-8 emails a month, including the Sew Like A Pro™ newsletter and occasional promotions about the sewing school. I can opt-out of the list at any time.


Check out Carlye’s other video featuring this blue Latin dress made of stretch lace!

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