Fabrics for Dance Dresses

Here are some of the Fabrics that we have been using for our dance dresses and images of the finished dresses so that you can see how they reacted.

So First and foremost Lycra, the mainstay of dance dresses. Nice and stretchy with a bit of drape and comes in lots of colours. Lycra based fabrics can come in lots of different types and some of them can look a lot more professional than others, in general, we tend to shy away from the more shiny lycra as it seems a bit ‘cheap’, but even if this is the only stuff that you can get hold of, and we still have a lot of it to use up, generally the reverse side is less shiny so we often use that as the ‘right side’.
The thickness of the fabric has a lot of an influence on the way a dress will look, the thicker the fabric the more body the skirt will have, but it can have less swish. Thicker fabrics will work better to hide any lumps and bumps and hold you into the dress more. The thinner the fabric the more likely it is to show your underwear off! I also find some of the thinner fabrics an absolute pain to sew.

Monday sevens

One of my favourite fabrics for dance dresses is Tia Knights Matt Lycra 4 Way Stretch Fabric, this fabric comes in a whole host of colours and is thick enough that it sews very nicely on my home machine. With a little more weight to it, it doesn’t show underwear lines through anywhere near as much as some other lycra fabrics.

These dresses were probably the most complicated that I have ever made, the design element on its own took a fair amount of energy just to get right and trying to make them fit two very different body types was a little complex. They look really nice on the floor but this was one of those lycras that was a pain in the backside to sew. My machine kept skipping stitches and it was really fussy about the quality of thread that I could use. I also had to commit that cardinal sin of sewing stretchy material and pull the fabric whilst I was sewing it, thankfully this didn’t result in too many wavey seams. The under leotards had to be made in a much more beefy lycra to give the dresses some stability. These were made with Tia Knight Silk Touch Lycra

SUBLDS dresses

Another of the Fabrics that I have a lot of, we purchased 6m of it in one go is the Soft Touch Lycra again from Tia Knight. This fabric was used for a lot of the SUBLDS team dresses, and it is much nicer to sew with than the silk touch but is still quite a thin fabric so shows off all the underlayers. It has a lot of drape and I love some of the styles that we produced. It is light enough that a fishing line hem will actually give it some body without the need for crinoline.
New dance dresses
With these dresses, I also mixed in some other fabrics to add more texture. The drop waist skirt above has some of the old lining fabric from a previous ballroom skirt it was quite a crispy fabric so it gives the skirt a lot of volume.

For the Ballroom skirts I added godets of chiffon into a skirt made from the soft touch lycra, over an underskirt made from the lining fabric.

For my own ballroom skirt I just used plain black lycra from Fabricland (but “inside out” to reduce shine) some gorgeous rainbow organdie fabric and black lining fabric for the many under skirts.
I underlined the organdie with black chiffon to make the rainbow colour show through more and give it more of an intensity to show up on the dance floor.
The leotard is made from the same black lycra and stoned to give it some glitz.