Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fabric sale page online

I have started a fabric stash page for all those little remnants left over from past dresses. These cuts of fabric are between 100 cm and 150 cm, so perfect for applique!

Please check back one in a while to see updates and new fabrics listed. I have also added a link in the menu on the right.

Go to Fabric Stash Page

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New dress for ME! :-D

***PLEASE NOTE** This design is Copyrighted**

Well, the gold dress had to go and I had long planned this new dress! I wanted something with flowers - to fit in with the latest trends - and I wanted it to reflect myselft a bit.

Flowers + Dutch girl = Tulip dress.

I also wanted sewn sequin and lilac. With all those ideas in my head, I had designed a few options...but time was passing by and no start on my solo dress yet. So, another fashion trend emerged: wrap dresses and 4-panels. I tried to picture myself in a wrap, but I could not make it work, so I adapted my ideas and design to make a 4 panel dress. I am very happy with the result and I think it will be a fab dress!
Just to make you see what it will be like in real fabrics, here is a little pic of the bodice in the works:

More updates to follow!

Sunday, January 7, 2007

What you need to know to become an ID dressmaker

Several dressmakers have created a guide or "How to" resource to share their insights in ID dressmaking with others. These guides are wonderful for those who are starting or have just started to make their first dress. They are also a very good resource for those who wish to improve their dressmaking skills. I thought it might be useful to list them here.

I would like to give a big THANK YOU to all the dressmakers patient and kind enough to write down their process. I know they saved me many years of research!

Basic dressmaking/construction guides:
Anita Moyes Dancing on Eire dressmaking guide
Alwen Garden Earthly Delights
Colleens of Canberra Some considerations before making an ID dress

Patterns with instructions:
Pat from Irish Threads
Susan Gowin at Feisdress

Construction issues:
Diary of a daft dressmaker -Part 1
Diary of a daft dressmaker -Part 2
Diary of a daft dressmaker -Part 3

Ask all your questions on:
Celtic Flame Dressmaker's Board
FAQ-link dressmaker's board

Colleens' of Canberra

Small glossary of typical ID fabrics

These are all I can think of right now from the top of my head. If I have missed any, please let me know and I will add them!

Friday, January 5, 2007


Dressmaking is addictive and also contagious :-) When Anita was looking for a new solo, she already had ideas on design, colors and fabrics. Anita and I live very close together and after a joint fabric search, more involvement in the dress was a very logical next step :-) I am grateful for Anita her help on this solo dress. She has interfaced most of the fabrics of the dress using a common household iron....while sitting/kneeling on the floor for hours (as I was already using the ironing board and have no space elsewhere to deal with large cuts of fabric). She also cut out most of her own applique.
Anita her first dress was purple, and after dancing in the green dress for a while, she longed to have a purple dress again. The base fabric is a two-tone fabric of burgundy and blueish purple. She looks more purple or burgundy depending on your point of view and how her dress catches the light. I love this fabric and I think she looks great in this color! I also think the lace gives it a very nice touch.

Thursday, January 4, 2007


This dress was soon nicknamed "Hawaii". Lynne and I had spotted the fabric on our monthly fabric search. I immediately loved the printing, but wasn't sure if it would also suit an irish dance dress. We both agreed it would need some shine to it, and decided that an overlay of 'candy' organza would do. The organza also has a little bit of a crinkle, so it catches the light in a nice way. To create some contrast a blue organza was used as well. This was also my first adventure with the "patch" method. I had already designed the shape earlier, but never knew what to do with it. Once I combined the fabric with a paper test-patch I discovered it would work really well together.

Making a dress with patches is difficult to do. There has been some discussion on the Voy boards about how easy it is for dressmakers to just create 50+ patches and "scatter" them around a dress.* This is not how it works*. Ok, you do make the 50+ patches, but you have to take very good care in how you arrange them to make it look balanced and flattering. In fact, I think it took me more time to find a good arrangement for these patches than it took me to embroider them onto the dress. It is the same process as a "normal" way of designing a dress, only you use repetitive shapes. This limits you in what you can do with your empty spaces on the dress. In a 'traditional' design you can make up a new shape or adjust one to make sure the space is used correctly. With patches, you have to stick to your chosen shapes and often a limited range in size. Just something to consider before you start your own Patch-dress :-)

Golden Girl

I have literally "dreamed" up the design and colors of this next solo dress. After a great feis I kept dreaming about the dances I did that weekend (a syndrome shared by many dancers), only I saw myself dressed in a different solo costume this time. To get the detail of the design, I kind of had to dream the dream over a few times :-) To my amazement that actually worked and the result is the sketch in yellow and lilac.
I was a bit afraid to make this design, as it had many pointy bits on the hemline and loads of diamond shapes and I could only think of the huge amount of work it would bring me! I had no idea about fabrics yet until I saw a golden lace fabric with sequins on it. At that moment I just knew this dress would supercede the old one by far and I would really have to polish up my dancing skills to match the dancer with the dress :-D
The base was a metallic gold cotton (same material as the cerise and the green dress - as you can see quite popular with me). The golden lace was used for the sleeves, bodice inserts and panels, and also for the cape. I just tried to get as much of it on the dress as I could! For the applique fabrics I used a black jersey with holographic dots, white falling rain satin, purple lycra with silver pindots and lilac satin. The lining and kickpleats have a funky checkerboard in white and lilac.
This dress was made during the come-back of the soft draped capes and I decided a soft cape would do the lace fabric more justice. I am really happy with the result!