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Inspiring dress

PresleyP | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, I’m totally new here and only slightly less new to sewing, but I’m in love with the skirt of Kayla’s dress from this dance on So You Think You Can Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u97XaazEno.

It looks to me like it has sort of triangular pieces of fabric sewn in with the points starting around her thigh, like the opposite of a dart. Is there a term for that style of dress, and are there other ways to achieve that sort of look? Also, any suggestions on types of fabric to get that flowiness would be great. Even if I can’t make it yet, it would be something to work towards!

Thank you!


  1. starzoe | | #1

    I believe they are godets. A godet is an insertion, and in this case the bottom edge is very wide, allowing for the very flowing look. Godets can be inserted into any seamline. You might check the pattern books for a modified look of this style, godets seem to be in fashion right now.

    Edited 7/18/2009 11:19 pm ET by starzoe

  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    Many years ago Vogue had a pattern that looked very much like that. The bodice had a zigzag bottom. The skirt was cut in many narrow, pie-shaped pieces with a point at the top of each one. When you sewed the skirt pieces all together, they formed a complete circle. You then matched the top points and bodice together like a jig-saw puzzle. It took a lot of time to cut out all the pieces, and a lot of fabric because all the skirt panels were cut on the straight of the fabric. I would call it a "medium" level of sewing. It wasn't tricky or hard to follow the instructions. I used a fabric that didn't ravel, which certainly made it easier. You definitely want a soft fabric that drapes.The fabric they used really moved beautifully and I see why you liked it. I used it more than once. One was wool jersey and street length. I loved it! I've seen other patterns that just attach a circular skirt to a dropped waist, but it doesn't create the same fluid, sensuous look.

  3. KharminJ | | #3

    That IS a gorgeous dress! I wish we could get a better view of it! Seems to me, it may be a modification of the spiral or swirl skirt that was popular a couple-five years ago? (Edit: from the dates on the patterns, it must be more like 25 years! Yikes!) Hard to tell, even with a full-screen view of the YouTube. Here's a couple/3 possible patterns (I believe these are all sold, but you can use the numbers...)Simplicity 6261: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sassybydesign/3477528114/New Look 6132: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=18565293 and Butterick 3557: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=21265345

    Like I said, it seems related to this style - but with the angles shallower, and with more fullness. I've no clear idea how one would go about changing it, though.

    Maybe write to the producers? They may be able to give you more information, or at least better stills ~?

    Good luck to you! And Bright Blessings ~ Kharmin

    1. sewfar | | #4

      Sewing magazines in the "olden days "often had free directions to draft your own pattern for this skirt making it a perfect fit. If you did actually make the skirt using their directions, they asked that you send them a fee. Honor bound ! I never made the skirt as when I was young I did not have the time but it has always intrigued me. It seemed quite intricate with all the pieces. Maybe someone still has the magazine directions.

      1. KharminJ | | #7

        Hmmm! Neat! ~ the original "shareware", eh?<p>I'd never heard of that - do you *by any chance* recall a magazine title or two that may have offered this program? It might be something very cool to resurrect (hello, Deana?), or at least worth a few giggles as one tries to explain to the 20-something operator what-the-heck you're talking about! BB! K

        1. User avater
          Sewista | | #8

          This was a full page ad taken out in Threads by I believe a company called "T.J. Designs". The pattern and instructions were on the page as well. They asked that if you made the skirt you send a donation. I loved the skirt but never made it. The concept made me feel weird if that makes any sense. I would rather pay for a pattern than make something and feel obligated afterward. I just thought it was a rather strange example of capitalism. Recently someone made and reviewed this skirt on threads. It looked really pretty and seemed to be made with massive amounts of fabric. I would think thin, soft, and drapey would be critical. I wish I could tell which Threads it was in. All I know is it was in the 90's as those were the ones I was organizing. Hope this helps. Bunny

          1. Teaf5 | | #11

            I have access to a university library with bound copies of the Threads, so if you happen to recall the issue or year, I may be able to find it for you.

          2. decoratrice | | #14

            I just looked at one issue each from the years 1990-1999 and didn't see it, although I remember the ad being talked about.  I think Park Bench patterns also had a spiral skirt pattern--might want to check that out.  Yes, I have the complete set of Threads, my most valuable sewing posession after my machine.  When I'm running low on inspiration, I just pull out a couple of copies at random, and Bingo!  I'm intoxicated with ideas!

          3. sewfar | | #15

            I found the ad in Threads with the pattern for the skirt. It is in issue 61. November 1995 Not as long ago as I thought.

          4. decoratrice | | #16

            Let me know how you like it--I was planning to try it out some day--also whether they are still around to collect the $5.

          5. sewfar | | #17

            I doubt that I will make the skirt. At this stage of my life I have found out the hard way that I must at least try on a trend before I spend a lot of time and expense making something that may have been utterly charming on me in my younger days but makes me look a bit like a bag lady now. Sometimes I wish I could just be eccentric but my mirror is just too truthful most times.

        2. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #9

          The pattern appeared in the back pages of McCalls craft magazines as well. The outline of the pattern was overlaid on the page of advertisements. It was often shown made up in several cotton prints, but I think it would be smashing in a georgette..... The pieces all end up being cut mostly on the bias on the ends, as they are J cut. Cathy

    2. PresleyP | | #5

      You know, it did look like a spiral pattern in some shots, maybe that's what it is.To everyone - thanks for all the input! I didn't expect so much so soon!

      1. starzoe | | #6

        I have an uncut pattern of the spiral skirt, probably 1960s. It is not as full as the photo and if I remember correctly, cotton was recommended. It has been on my "to do" list for 40-some years! I'll have to check with the granddaughters if it is on their list.

  4. jjgg | | #10

    WEll, I think Presely is right, it looks like a whole bunch of godet's inserted. The dress part is knit (these type of dance dresses pretty much always are) and the godets look like a sparkly fabric. I would imagine some sort of chiffon - several layers with a lettuce edge to it. The godets have to be huge to give so much flare to the skirt when she is twirling around, but have to collapse into almost nothing when she is standing - chiffon is the only thing I can think of (I haven't finished my coffee yet, so brain is not on full function) that will act like that. Do they make a sparkling chiffon? I know you can get a sprkly organza, but that would be too stiff.

    So, basically, my take is its sort of a sheath dress with huge godets in every seam - and may have other 'seams' for extra godets.

  5. Teaf5 | | #12

    Lovely dress! 

    It's a fairly standard ballroom dance or ballet design (wide at the bottom so that the legs can fully extend), so search in dance websites, magazines; companies that sell ballet dance footwear also sell practice and beginner competition dresses, and there are mail-order/internet companies that deal exclusively in ballroom dance dresses as well as patterns for making one's own.  Try "dance costume" for a search word.

    To see a stunning variety of dance gowns, try to find a rental DVD of Strictly Ballroom (especially the original Austrailian version) or the SF Ballet's Nutcracker for PBS--even the rehearsal skirts are interesting!

    Have fun investigating, and let us know what you discover!


  6. woodruff | | #13

    This Vogue pattern has godets such as you are interested in, though they may start lower on the skirt:


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