Ballroom Dance > Making dress floats

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by Lioness, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    Hi guys...

    My dress is very simple, at the moment, so I'm undertaking a project to remake it. I'm restoning it, which is simple, and I'm making floats.

    I've never made floats before...I don't sew. I've got no idea what to do, but at least I've decided on the type of floats that I want!

    This is the dress:


    I want a single hang-down float at each wrist, and then a larger one on each side that attaches to the elbow and back of the dress.

    This is so the dress is compatible for both Standard and New Vogue (sort of like smooth...breaks hold and waves arms around a whole lot. Small floats are ideal).

    I'm going to attach them with jewellery clasps...the lobster claw ones. That way they're easily removable, but hopefully won't come off. If this is a bad idea, please tell me :D

    What sort of fabric should I get? What shapes do I need to cut?

    Thanks :)
  2. mummsie

    mummsie Member

    hi Lioness,

    I make these sorts of floats all the time. Easy. Best fabric will be chiffon. You can get it from spotlight for about $5.00 per metre. You will need around 3 metres for the floats you are describing.

    The smaller wrist ones will be elongated diamond shaped. The larger ones will be like larger triangular shaped. If you send me a PM I can better describe them for you.

  3. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Hi Lioness. How quickly do you need to remove the floats between different dances? For wrist floats, attaching them to a bracelet is relatively quick and easy. Or, since you already have gauntlets, you can use a tiny safety pin *from the inside* to attach them to your wrist area. That way the pin doesn't show. Or, clear snaps. You could also use slightly larger "bracelets" to attach above the elbow. They're simple to make with clear stretchy cord and swarovski beads, or stoned elastic. As for attaching to your lower back, again you could pin it from the inside, perhaps to a small solid ring sewn into the end of the float. Or, get or make a fancy stoned pin that matches your dress and pin it from the outside.

    You want spiral floats or scarf-y ones? An elongated parallelogram usually works for scarfy floats. I would match the color to your dress, and they're often in lightweight materials like pearl chiffon. As for shapes, can you look at some ballroom photo or costume websites and see what appeals to you?
  4. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    Usually not very quickly. I often have a large break between the different styles.

    I think scarfy floats...spirals look too complicated, for the moment.
  5. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    I have a ballroom gown (from Australia, oddly enough), that has a small clear plastic ring on the left hip, and the float attaches there and then to a bracelet on the right wrist. Maybe something like that would appeal to you, in addition to the wristlet floaties. I can get shape/measurements if you want. Pretty sure it's some sort of warped triangle. I'm going to recommend against anything that forces your partner to navigate his way into hold on your left side. I have a couple of gowns that take extra time and care to get into proper hold so the poor guy doesn't get caught up in it. I also have a gown with a half-moon shaped float that goes from wrist to wrist, but is not attached at the back or butt. Hmmm, it's from Australia too - this is kinda bizarre :cool:. Very easy to remove between dances.

    If you want to avoid any sewing, you can get away with tracing the cutting lines with Fray-Check, and then cutting. I have found it easier to do Fray-Check *before* as opposed to *after* cutting, particularly with fabrics like chiffon.
  6. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Spiral floats (the kind that attaches on one end and dangles freely on the other) are super easy to make. The pattern is basically just a shape of a doughnut. The more spiral you want, the smaller you make the inner circle (I made something like 4" for the outer circle and 2" for the inner one).
  7. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    What do you mean, doughnut shaped? When I imagine it with the fabric, I can't see it turning into a float. That might be because I am legit thinking of a piece of fabric cut like a doughnut..... Can you explain it a little more, I'm very curious as to how these are made.
  8. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

  9. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    I have a hemming foot attachment for my sewing machine, although I haven't tried sharpely curved edges yet, or curved at all, but I can imagine that even with the foot it won't be fun.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Love, love, love your hair, L! :-D
  11. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Draw two concentric circles on a piece of paper. Cut the middle one out, that makes a doughnut shape. Then cut across the circle towards the center, so that you have two ends. If you hold one end and let the other one go, the fabric would spiral naturally.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm having trouble visualizing this. You're cutting across the outer circle/doughnut? ETA: Meaning the final product would be a long, curvy, strippy fabric thing that you could then hem?
  13. Lioness

    Lioness Well-Known Member

    Thanks :D

    I think this is what I'll do every comp...but I have to figure out how to tease it up a bit at the front, and I'm going to add a sparkly hair decoration.
  14. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    Yes, you cut across the outer circle towards the center (on a radius of the circle). The final result will be like a curved strip of fabric, and you can just zigzag the edges.
  15. smidra86

    smidra86 Active Member

    thanks. now I understand a little more. it didn't occur to me that you need to cut across from the outer circle to the inner.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    How big should the outer circle be? Any ideas for drafting an even circle? Making/finding a pattern? Or would you just draw it free hand?
  17. tanya_the_dancer

    tanya_the_dancer Well-Known Member

    I just used a compass. I experimented a bit with different radii to get the spiral I liked, I think my final floats had 5" for the outer circle and 2 1/2" for the inner one.
  18. wooh

    wooh Well-Known Member

    Hold a string of the radius you want to the center of the circle, follow the other end of the string around the circle with pen/pencil/fabric marker/fabric pencil/scissors/cutting wheel. :)
  19. Silmarwen

    Silmarwen Member

    For "scarfy" floats, what is the best way to decide how much fabric you should use? Is there a typical measurement for floats?

    I'm also making floats for a remade dress. :)
  20. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

    Preferably not so long that they drag on the ground when not in dance position :cool: *whoops*

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