Ballroom Dance > Buying a tailsuit

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by ACtenDance, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member


    Good point Warren!
  2. Laura

    Laura New Member

    Not many women I know can do that, either :) Usually just the top pros and top amateurs.

    When I try to resell my dresses, it's usually for about 50-60% of what I paid for them. I like to get rid of the things fast...if they hang around too long they go out of style and no one wants them. Better to get some money than no money.
  3. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Now do top am and pros get top resale value from the mere fact that they wore them or is it bc the gowns are top notch in regards to fashion/style and construction?
  4. Laura

    Laura New Member

    It's a combination of all those factors, Tasche. Also, I personally think that the used gown market is overpriced, so that's another reason why I start my used dresses at about 50% off.
  5. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    The very top pros don't buy their dresses at all; they get them for free from sponsors and wear them for one or two rounds, at which point someone buys the dress from them - actually from their sponsor - for more than would be paid for a new dress not worn by a top pro.

    Perhaps the market has changed, but my partners have generally either kept their dresses forever, kept them a few years and then sold them for about 50% of what they cost, or kept them for a few months ad sold them for around 80%. That's actually not so cheap; the latter, especially, is around 10% depreciation per competition.
  6. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Now if I want to MAKE a tailsuit, where might I find a pattern for such an animal???
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Talk to Chris.
  8. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

    The gown I purchased was for a significantly lover price than what it goes for when brand new. Also it was a top pro's gown, and has been worn less than 10 times... I would guess I paid about 30%-40% of what it would cost new..
  9. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    You have to make the pattern yourself.

    You'd want to start with something for a tailcoat of some sort - either a commercial pattern, something derived from an existing jacket, or using the old (buggy) drafting instructions from the Cutters Practical Guide ( You'll want to shorten the torso a bit above the natural waistline to give the long-legs look of standard dancing. Don't try to wing it from a tuxedo, suit jacket, etc pattern as those are completely different - you need something with the proportions and panel division of a tailcoat as a starting point.

    You'd make a fairly firm canvas muslin of the torso portion of the jacket without sleeves or skirts (tails) and get that to fit right. Put some stiffeners in the shoulders - the acrylic "felt" sold for kids craft projects seems to work well and shapes with steam. Then you'd make another with the arm holes too small, and cut them just barely big enough to allow the suitable range of motion without distorting the body of the canvas (ie, you want the fabric to go much higher under the arm than normal). Take a normal over/under sleeve pattern and flatten the cap quite a bit - primarily you want the underarm side to fit in dance position, but you need just enough extra fabric on the top and back so you can drop your arms between dances. Make a test sleeve in wool and attach it to the canvas, easing it in as in social tailoring, but without a shoulder pad or sleeve head.

    The skirts on a dance tailcoat are longer than in social tailoring, and they may need to be cut a little differently - an existing set of dance tails in a similar size is the best guide. They will need some sort of weights too.

    You'd have to make some decisions about how you want to interface the final product - usually gentleman's jackets are interfaced only on the front, while ladies are front and back, but for dancing you might want to do the back as well. If this should continue into the skirts is an open question...

    In some ways, the hardest part is general fitting, putting everything together neatly, especialy around the lapels (they MUST be peaked, not notched - suprisingly several big name dance tailors usually do this wrong). This is the kind of area where a good social tailor experimenting with a something new like dance tails would really be able to make use of his skills, compared to an amateur.

    The trousers are a bit simpler... waistline will need to be extended up to match the higher cut of the jacket in front, and they should be set up for functional suspenders. It's probably worth lining the front to the knee, and foot loops or cuff weights aren't out of the question. Don't even think about pockets (well, at least no front or side pockets - you could get away with a back pocket, or internal convenience pockets in the jacket, but they have to be empty when actually dancing)
  10. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Chris you are a doll!

    Thanks SO much. I have a costume pattern [​IMG] and some lovely cloth on standby. I just didn't want to cut until i had it "just right" as Goldilocks would say.

    I've made a trial run of the jacket out of knit, but I didn't know what was necessary to add for dancing.
  11. etchuck

    etchuck New Member


    Well, at least it's not lime green. 8)
  12. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Don't cut your wonderful fabric (I hope it's wool) until your muslin is right.
  13. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Actually, I couldn't afford wool, so I bought "suit" fabric. :shock: But I will definitely heed the advice about not cutting until the muslin is just right. I'd feel AWFUL!
  14. Sania

    Sania Well-Known Member

    My former partner had a suit made by Onik. I spoke to Garo Ashikian (Onik) on the phone and he sent me a sheet for measurements. We had a local person take the measurements, and mailed or faxed them to him. He mailed back fabric samples with prices marked on them, we selected the fabric and mailed back the chosen sample, and the suit arrived a couple of weeks later, on time for Nationals as promised. The suit fit quite well. When my former partner quit dancing a few months ago, he sold it to another dancer. I found Onik's service to be very good.
  15. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    No, that would be the practice run I *already made* I kid you not! :shock:
  16. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Plan on making two or three suits minimum in real fabric before your are happy. I've made five in wool, and still need to do another. But I found a store where I get it for $3/yd
  17. tasche

    tasche New Member

    If any of you are ever in LA head down to B Black and Sons on 6th and Los Angeles They have a great end table of suit length cuts ( end of bolt sutff) you can usually pick up several pieces of the same fabric for very little ( comparitive to the regular price )

    There is a cutters guide from the 30's I have tucked away somewhere hat has drafting nstructions for a tail coat. I plugged in some of the drafts into PAD ( like cad for patternmaking) and they came out pretty good its just they were designed for a different shape of men though this guide does have intructions for the various figure faults. I wish I could remember the name. Sigh I guess I should just find it.

    P.S if something was printed in the 30's has its cpyright expired?
  18. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    No, unfortunately. Mickey Mouse was about to go public domain, and that couldn't be so they extended the term of copyrights yet again... Chances are most works currently in copyright will never be allowed to expire.
  19. tasche

    tasche New Member

    Well the reason I'm asking as if the copyright was expired on this book I could xerox the appropriate pages. I'm sure its not as well thought of as mickey mouse.
  20. Chris Stratton

    Chris Stratton New Member

    Yes, but the law tends to be a rather blunt instrument.

Share This Page