How to Flare a Ballroom Dress

The hit television show "Dancing With the Stars," which began airing in 2005, has put ballroom dancing in prime time. The dresses worn for ballroom dance can be short or long, but adding a flare to the skirt portion can give them some extra visual appeal, particularly during dances that allow the skirt to twirl around you.

  1. Style

    • Ballroom dance dresses can be made in a variety of styles, with the choices you make affecting the skirt portion. Length is the most obvious option, as well as placement of the flare -- at the waist, or above or below. The type of dancing you intend to do is a primary consideration in the basic style of your dress. There are three general styles: modern, which is a lighter dress with straps or sleeves designed for fast-paced dance; old-time, which is a longer gown for slow-paced, traditional steps; and Latin, which is a short dress designed to emphasize the necessary leg work.

    Fabric

    • If you are creating a flared dress from scratch, you will obviously need to purchase enough fabric for your chosen pattern. On the other hand, if you are inserting a flare into the skirt of an existing dress, you may need to choose a complementary fabric if the original color or material is not available. In either case, you will want to select a fabric that suits your chosen style of dress and dance, such as a lightweight fabric for a Latin-style dress.

    Adding the Flare

    • To add a flare to an existing dress, you will need to cut godets, or triangles of fabric sewn into the seams. You will have to decide on the placement of the flare, then measure and cut the fabric into appropriately sized triangles. Rip the seams at the height of the inserts, create appropriate hems and pin the godets in place, then sew in the fabric.

    Considerations

    • Flared skirts can feature sequins, crystals or other embellishments, but keep in mind that this is a portion of your dress that will be swirling around your legs as you perform. If you already own a dress that you wish to alter, remember that not every dress is well-suited to having a flare or undergoing the addition of one.

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  • Photo Credit Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

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