Sunday, 23 February 2014

Irish Solo Dresses so far

It started with the White & Black dress for my own daughter... just to see if I could. 
It was a painstaking process, with no patterns for modern Irish dance dresses available, research many sites for tips and tricks- was probably the best and finding my head up many a dress skirt at a Feis! but even then it seemed as though it was a closely guarded secret for skirt construction- 

I think now its perhaps just a case of see what technique works best for you:) I was really pleased with the end results and so was her dance teacher Katie, her comment " I thought is would be good but not that flippin good!" Bryony, too was more than pleased to wear it and proudly told anybody who comment that her mummy made it! 

Next came Georgia's - I was terrified of this, making for somebody else- could I make it fit, would she like it? both she and her mom are amazing, we discussed colours, designs, fabrics but the best part was that they were more than happy for me to adapt things as they evolved. Trying to complete it (for my own deadline) ended up a little but like Cinderella - I was determined that she would wear it for the class Feis in Nov 12 and I ended up sitting up all night to finish it; my bleary eyes were rewarded when I saw her dance. 

Next up was Bryony again!! What little girl gets two dresses in 6 months!! Her white dress was always know as the practice dress as it had been agreed that she would have a pink dress, plus I really wanted to have a go at the cupcake style skirt (self indulgence). So off I started over the Christmas of 2012, what a fiddly process- yards and yards of white twinkle satin, cut on the bias, fed through the machine on a close zig-zag with fishing wire!!! and approx 1000 crystals stuck on by hand!!! 
here's the fishing wire technique though found on Youtube
Found that when putting the skirt together we had gone over zealous on the cupcake so had to take lots out- OOOO the pain all those crystals!
we added even more crystals on belt later on 

After that were Sarah & Beth, ( Gold/black & Pink & black) fairly similar with the cupcake skirt but tried my hand at a bit if free machine embroidery. 

Sleeves were a play on SnowWhite

Little Jessie, white red & silver I think is still one of my favourites, based on hearts this went together with little hassle ( may-be that's why it a favourite!)

Next was a revamp of an old dress, Emily's mum had an old dress that was no longer on trend but some of the appliqué work was still good, I replaced the front side panels with the white sparkly fabric, took at the arms and shortened from the shoulder, constructed a new skirt and voilà a new lease of life. 
Old style - skirt shape no longer in "fashion" 

Well we got round to Bryony again!! I saw this crazy black net and knew i wanted to turn it into a dress- Bryony was to too keen at first but once Katie had seen and too loved it, well then all was back on ( mum's apparently know very little :)) This dress was on and off, as she was not desperate for it I dabbled with it, at one point I went right off of it, I wasn't prepared to spend out on crystals but after plodding on and beginning to like it again we went for it ...£120 worth of AB crystals ( hope hubby doesn't read this) 
Once these were added it began to come to life. The first time it was showcased- We were both aware of nudges, whispers and comments about the dress- 2 people even came up and asked who designed and where was it made ( slight embarrassed blush, but brimming with pride) we later added a sparkle net over lay on the skirt - you just can't go over the top with these dresses. 

70 AB crystals on collar alone!

No.13 - not so unlucky
The purple & silver dress (Cadbury chocolate purple was the brief) was a little more challenging with the intricate Celtic knot work but did enjoy it. Digitally stitched the outline of the knots, cut out ( which was pretty hard going on the fingers) then applied to bodice. 

The most recent is the beautiful turquoise dress for Erin, again learning from experiences - never again will I use a shimmery over lay. It stretched, shredded and frayed; the end results I think work really well and the feedback was lovely. 
"Erin normally blends into the back ground, but today she was so confident and it showed in her dancing" 

All the dresses have been made for girls that dance at the Martin Academy of Irish Dancing- they may not be quite as ornate or on a par of a "Gavin" or "Celtic Star" but I think they are a fairly good representation. 

I will keep updating as and when any additionalities come along. Thanks for taking the time to read XX

For those involved in Irish dancing or fancy a go making one for their daughter i will have a go at posting my next dress to show the construction or evolution side of things !!