Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Green Dress

 As mentioned in The Next Irish Dancing Dress post, I've now completed the little miss's second Irish dancing dress... I was absolutely thrilled that she wanted something more traditional and green! We went to the fabric store together and decided on twinkle satin in white and "Irish" green (as described by the little miss). She really wanted this dress to be decorated with something traditional and Irish, and I really wanted it to be embroidered, but since I don't have an embroidery machine I stated looking at embroidered patches with Celtic designs. I didn't find any that were quite right, and started thinking up a design that we could commission someone to embroider onto a patch for us... and then I got the crazy idea to do all the embroidering myself - by hand!

We decided on a Celtic knotted style cross for a decoration high on the front of the bodice which I replicated on the front bottom of the skirt and again as a patch on the back. The little miss chose to use orange and gold along with green and white for the embroidery, to make it even a little more Irish. I then added a knot-work pattern as a sort of belt around the patch on the bodice and again at the bottom of the skirt. Again, these were done by hand. And then as if that wasn't enough of a work-load, I decided to do a lattice stitch in green across the white fabric at the top of the bodice (done on the machine this time!) I really love the look of the lattice stitching and the green really works to liven up the white and brighten up the little miss's complexion.

I used the same basic pattern I drafted when making the first dress, but I dropped the waist a bit, separated the bodice to make the chest and tummy different fabrics, pleated the skirt slightly differently, added some stiffening under the skirt, attached a high collar, and added a little room for growth. But still, basically the same pattern - lol. The stiffening took a little bit of work to get it to lay flat in the front, but in the end a fold in each side (between the centre front and side seams) fixed it. 

I was thrilled with how well the lattice stitching matched up at the back seam, but the fact that I couldn't get the knotting to line up drives me crazy! I was hoping the back patch would take my attention away from the crookedness, but nope, I still see it.

We topped it all off with a little bit of Swarovski sparkle in each of the crosses, around the knotting, in each lattice diamond, and on the collar. As the little miss likes to tell people "Mum likes a little bit of sparkle on the dresses, but not too much."

The little miss is absolutely in love with her new dress. I think the colours suit her perfectly and I can't imagine ever getting tired of watching her dance in this one. Now, does anyone know of a way to stop kids from growing?... Oh, who am I kidding, I'll be itching to make another Irish dancing dress in no time. ;)


  1. Do you sell dress patterns? I'd love to make a similar style dress for my little one when she gets to the level of competition where she is allowed to wear a solo dress, but I'm not terribly confident in my pattern drafting skills!

    1. Hi Anna-Katrin, Sorry, I don't sell patterns. I draft patterns as I go based on the measurements of my model (mostly my daughter!). I've never found a modern style Irish dancing dress pattern, but when I made my first dress I used the bodice & arms from one pattern and a skirt (cut much shorter) from another pattern. I did have to make some adjustments though (ie making the neckline higher). And knowing what I know now I would have dropped the waistline more than I did as well.
      If you decide to give it a go, would also suggest making a test dress from cheap fabric so that you don't ruin your good stuff while fiddling around with getting it right. ;)

  2. Replies
    1. A labour of love. ;)
      Both my daughter and I love this dress and are so sad it's gotten too small for her now.