Monday, 31 December 2012

Irish Dancing Dress - part 1

At her first competition in one of
the school outfits.
Brace yourselves, this might be a long one!!!

So, the little miss is a little Irish dancer - she loves preforming and she danced in her first competition a few months ago. I knew right from the beginning that she was going to be sticking with the Irish dancing and I decided that I wanted to be the one to make her first ever solo dress (she used one of the school outfits for the first competition). For those of you who don't know, this is no small feat to take on! I spent hours looking at different dresses online and searching for pattern ideas and tips for sewing these amazing dresses. The dresses that I've seen in local competitions range from the amazing (costing thousands of dollars) to plainer, more basic dresses (still costing hundreds). I knew that the little miss' dress would be on the plainer side as I'm not experienced enough to take on the fancy applique & embroidery that many of the dresses have - and I also don't have the money, or even access to, some of the fancier materials used in some of the skirts and embellishments.

The tulle is a bit low & wonky in the  front
in this photo and it drives me a bit crazy to
look at it, but it's been been fixed since then!
Since I essentially had to make my own pattern, I started with a 'practice' dress. I made this one out of a stretchy velvety fabric so that I would have more leeway with it. The stretchy material could not be used in an actual competition dress, but this was just a practice (and play costume) so I wanted it to be able to stretch so the little miss could get into it even if it was a bit too small anywhere. I used the bodice pattern from a 'regular' dress as the base for my practice dress, but I dropped the waist (a bit too much it turns out), added a gathered over-skirt in the same fabric, gathered tulle as the underskirt, added a sash to the back, and voila!

I love the back of this dress, but I'll make the sash a bit fuller for the next one.

So the next step was to take this dress to the dance teacher to see how it would measure up as the base for the solo dress that I was to make... Other than the fact that the waist was a bit too low, and the skirt was a bit too long (both of which I already knew) the only thing that needed altering was the neck. The neckline has to be higher than the collar bone. So all in all I was pretty pleased! And the little miss LOVES this dress - I thought she might use it as a costume, but it's her favourite dress and she actually wears it out. A lot!

So seven months after making this first practice dress, I'm well into the making of the actual solo dress. You'll have to wait for part two to see that one - oh, and for me to actually finish it first!

*You can see part 2 here, and the final dress here.
And then if you want even more you can see how I ended up bling-ing it out here.

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