Under cover operations

5 Jul

With the majority of the main dress complete, it is time to move on to the under dress.  At the top levels of the ballroom world, when the ladies wear a fifties-inspired gown with a waistline seam, the underskirts also start at the waist.  So when there is spinning of sufficient velocity and rotation, the skirts and underskirts go up.  Way up.  Like the way you wanted your skirts to go up when you were five years old.  It was pretty cute then, is fine when young and shapely world class dancers do it, but not so desirable in Senior III amateur level.  As the lovely and talented coach and judge Beth Knoll says, “Nobody needs to see your underwear!”

So here we have the under dress with underskirts attached.


This is a powermesh “dress” with several layers of organza attached at the hip.  There are 3 layers attached to the very bottom of the under dress and the top layer that you can see is sewn on to a strip of powermesh then sewn on to the dress with a tricot stitch – that weird one that looks like a connect-the-dots zigzag.  That ensures that it will have enough stretch to move properly.

I was very happy to find, when I was stitching all those panels together, that the differential feed on my serger was a great help.  Here is my first seam – all of these cuts are on the bias, which makes it easy for the machine to stretch the fabric as it sews.


And after fiddling with the differential feed a bit:


Gorgeous!  Except for the ironing board cover.  I did promise a sewing friend of my daughter’s, possibly as long as five years ago, that I would change that cover….

When I put the dress on over the under dress I didn’t think there was a sufficient “pouf” factor, so more layers of organza or possibly some horsehair braid might be needed.  First though, I will get the Design Helper to do a preliminary  measurement so I can cut the main dress to length and let it all hang overnight.  The lycra is awfully heavy, so an extra 6 or so inches might compress the organza more than it will in the end product.

Stay tuned!

2 Responses to “Under cover operations”

  1. Frankie December 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Lovely tutorial I too am in the process of making my daughter a dress for her first latin exam and dont know why my organza full circle skirt – just like your pic (mine is layered over a satin full circle skirt) but the organza layer is way-off at the hem and do not know how to correct? Any suggestions?

    • bgballroom December 5, 2013 at 1:30 am #

      Hi Frankie – you have to hang your dress for a day or so for the organza does its stretchy thing. Sounds like you have already done that1 It stretches and settles and goes a bit wacky, so you let it do what it has to do and then hem it. It has something to do with the circle having a lot of bias at the hem, but I really don’t know why it is so uneven and strange. I have learned to just go with it and it seems to work itself out in the end.

      I’d love to see the finished product!

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