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The History of Satin Stitches Ballroom Dance Costumes

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 15:02 PM

Deborah-Nelson-Satin-Stitches-Minnesota-DancerMy name is Deborah Nelson. I am a professional fashion and costume designer. I am the founder, president, and head designer of Satin Stitches Ltd. Our company is a custom design costume manufacturer located in the suburb of Coon Rapids, just minutes from downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul. We do custom ballroom competition gowns, and we also redesign and alter ballroom gowns, social dancing dresses, and men’s ballroom apparel.

I started Satin Stitches back in the spring of 1978 while I was still working as an assistant designer/head pattern-maker at a small women’s “bridge apparel” manufacturer in downtown Minneapolis. I worked at Daj, Inc., for 3 1/2 years. Prior to this, I briefly worked for a less exclusive women’s apparel manufacturer in Minneapolis after I graduated from college. I have a BFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Design, where I majored in Fashion Design.

Within a year or so of starting Satin Stitches, I had ballroom dancers as clients in addition to brides and pageant queens. I very much enjoy working with glitzy garments, which is why I started Satin Stitches.

Every small business evolves, and Satin Stitches has evolved towards custom, high-quality group costumes. The bulk of our current clients include NHL and NBA dance teams, along with high school dance teams and show choirs around the United States and Canada.

Back at the beginning of Satin Stitches, I started setting up my Satin Stitches booth at various ballroom competitions around the Midwest, showing off our work with photo albums and samples. I still have some really fun photos of our ballroom clients from 20 to 30 years ago.

Because Satin Stitches has evolved to new clients and venues, my ballroom friends haven’t seen much of me lately. Most of my ballroom costume-watching has been from the comfort of my living room enjoying Dancing with the Stars. Check out our website if you’re interested in seeing my Dancing with the Stars Costume Critique blogs to get a professional costume designer’s perspective on what is and isn’t flattering for ballroom costuming.

I enjoy sharing my expertise, and besides these blogs, I’ve written many articles that have been published in national, regional, and local dance publications over the years. I’ve taught fashion design and pattern-making classes, and I’ve presented seminars on all aspects of costume design and the care of costumes. You can find many of these articles on our website. And with 33+ years’ experience creating custom dance costumes for individuals and groups, I know a thing or two about how to achieve great fit on any body by camouflaging flaws and highlighting features.
 ©Deborah J. Nelson/ Head Designer and President of Satin Stitches Ltd.
(as published in Minnesota Dancing Times February 2012)

Tags: Minnesota Dancer Magazine


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