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Liesl, the model for the Complete Ballgown Program in the Sew Like A Pro™ online sewing school, needs several weight loss alterations to her new ballgown.  Why?  Liesl made a lot of dietary improvements and has shed pounds and inches since I made this ballroom dance costume for her only sixteen months ago.

weight loss alterations, Liesl, before-after jade dancesport ballgown

In today’s video I walk you through her weight loss alterations – both optional and necessary – that can be done so her Dancesport ballgown fits her new body shape and size.

When doing alterations on any type of women’s dance or skate costume, it’s common for time or money restrictions to play a part in how much work you do on a dress.

Pick and choose your sewing battles as needed.

Here is a list that may help with your next weight loss alterations.

P.S.  The original post was made in 2015.  This post was revised with new photo additions and updated text in January, 2023.


 NECESSARY ALTERATIONS for this ballroom dance costume 

  • Since many women lose fat in our breasts before loosing it other places, you may need to change the size or shape of the bra cups so they fit better. (Good grief! Isn’t this the last place most of us want to lose it?)
  • Another option is to add padding to the existing bra instead of replacing it.
  • difficulty level = EASY!
Leotard fitting differences when wearing a bra and tights. Weight loss alterations may be needed for dancesport dresses and figure skating dresses.
  • Do this step if the dress feels like it sags or is too low in front so you want to keep pulling it up.
  • TIP: Don’t forget to put tanning mousse or inexpensive face makeup on the straps so they match your skin tone.
  • difficulty level = EASY!
  • Often with weight loss, the dress/leotard is so loose it hangs on the body instead of cuddling the body. When this happens, you may need to shorten the stride in addition to tightening at the shoulder area.
  • Next, if you have to shorten the stride, it is likely you will need to reshape the legs as well, which means removing the elastic.
  • TIP: If you are removing all the old elastic, I recommend using new elastic. Stitching again and again on the same elastic wears it out so it doesn’t hold its shape.
  • difficulty level = EASY to MODERATE

Smooth and Standard ballroom dance dresses can be too long if weight loss alterations are needed. ballgowns

  • With significant weight loss, ballroom dance dresses (whether short Latin skirts or ballgowns) get longer because the hips and rear-end don’t fill it out. You may need to shorten the skirt to look better and be an appropriate, safe length.
  • However, shortening a skirt is seldom a pleasant venture for ballgowns because of all the boning, fishing line and crinoline in the hem.
  • Latin, Country and Skate skirts with a lot of stones bordering the hem are also problematic. (Check out this video to watch about why and how we shortened a Latin skirt.)
  • difficulty level = MODERATE to DIFFICULT (it can be very time-consuming.)


Would you like more fitting training like this?

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Learn how to work with stretch fabrics like mesh and lycra to create wrinkle free dance and skate dresses for all shapes and sizes of women and children.


This dress is for sale. If you are interested in possibly buying it, please contact Teresa directly at teresa@seamssensational.com

Fitting a dance skate leotard that needs sewing alterations.
This is the first fitting on Liesl's dance dress leotard. Weight loss alterations get more complicated when the dress is finished and rhinestoned.



Often, this entails removing lace and stones which makes it difficult and time-consuming. 

If you want to see how princess seams can make a dress fit better, check out my blog on June, who sews her own competition dresses.


Since Liesl's dress is completely finished with a lot of lace and rhinestones, taking in the excess fabric in the underarm can be time-consuming with many steps.

Generally, it should only be done if you’re an experienced sewer - or game for a challenge.



Are you ready to learn how to turn your skate or ballroom dance costume into a figure-flattering, beautifully fitted performance dress?

Don't miss the 9-week Fabulous Fitting Techniques course!
Get details & enroll today!


Fabulous Fitting Techniques: an intensive 6-week course for those who sew ballroom dance and figure skating dresses for women and teenagers.


    2 replies to "Weight Loss Alterations for Women’s Ballroom Dance Costumes"

    • Nikki

      Thanks Teresa, this is a very helpful list of steps!

      • Teresa Sigmon

        Awesome! Glad it was useful for you. Do you think I should add a similar list to the member site? Or not needed there since most costumes you all make are from scratch?

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