Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy New Year!



Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oireachtas Amazing!

This weekend the Oireachtas na hEorpa were held in Zoetermeer, the Netherlands. I have danced in the Senior Ladies Open Championships and was lucky enough to get 4th place! I really did not expect to do so well and I could not be any happier!!

The weekend was long and sleep has been short, but it was great seeing all my senior ladies dancing friends. Lucie Samcova got an amazing 4th place in the Qualifiers for the Worlds and I wish her all the luck in Philadelphia in 2009!

Also great fun having a stall to show off my work and sharing it with my dressmaking friend and colleague: Sylvia from Burgdesign:

We had a great time sitting and hanging around, drinking coffee. Another dutch dressmaker also showed her face: Kirsten aka Cluich from! Very nice of her to drop by and say hello. We were having quite a Tea Party!

Finally, a picture of me in my new solo dress for 2009:

If you spot me at the All Irelands in february, come say hello!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

For Lucie

No posts or pictures of this dress when it was still under construction. I simply did not have the time! I've been working day and night to get this dress finished so that Lucie has something to wear at our Oireachtas this weekend. It was finished late last night and I took a quick picture with my phone camera just to show (and I did promise myself no more dresses leaving the house without a picture!). So, a bit blurry and dark and not the best quality, but here is it is from sketch to reality:

Now it is Lucie her turn to stay up all night to glue all the crystals to her dress! I'm sure it will be all sparkly when I see it again on saturday :-)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dress alterations

Many dresses from a few years ago do not have the elongated bodices everyone asks for nowadays and this usually leaves the skirt too long. The following is an example of a simple alteration that can be done to a (second hand) dress that might not fit in the lower skirt-area.


In the before pic you can see that the upper body seems to fit, but the skirt is too long. The skirt is also a bit too wide and heavy and is collapsing on itself in the front (which needs to be a stiff, straight panel, not a wobbly one).
I decided to take the length of the hem and re-stitch the hemline in a black satinstitch. The front panel was also re-stiffened when I opened it up at the hem, making it nice and crisp again.


The nice thing about this dress is that is was made "economical". There are ties in the back that can cinch in the waist and the cuffs on the sleeves can be adjusted up or down. This dress was made with growing children and multiple years of usage in mind.

Thank you Debbie, for letting me work on your dress. I hope you will love and wear it for a long time!

Monday, November 10, 2008


I have just listed 2 new dresses for sale!


Lovely 4-panel dress, made by Annelies Danton worn by an intermediate/open dancer of mainland Europe. Made of bluegreen silk with holographic silver, blue and pink glitterdot applique. Hot-pink and silverholographic thread is used for the applique. The sleeves are stunning and eye-catching green and silverglitter flowers with white lining. Lining of the dress is off-white. Pleats give a special effect of blue holographic glitterdot when being kicked out. Including hearpiece in blue, silver and hot-pink. Bloomers can be made with the extra lining material. Dress was made for a quite tall, 175 cm, girl of 14 years and has been worn about 8 times.

Measurements ( in inches )
Chest 33
Natural waist -- (please ask the seller for this measurement)
Bodice length from shoulder to waist seam 18
Skirt length from waist seam to hem 17
Sleeve length from shoulder to hem 24
Shoulder seam to shoulder seam across top of back 15
Back full length-top of zip to hem 34
There is let down room in the back near the zipper

Asking €400 shipping included within The Netherlands, overseas shipping extra. Please email the seller with any questions.


Nice, sparkling turquoise velvet 3-panel dress with hot-pink, yellow, black, white and silver rainbow glitterdot applique. Applique is embroided with silver and hot-pink metal thread. Lining is white with hot-pink lamé. Headpiece with crystals included.

Measurements ( in inches )
Chest 30
Natural waist 27
Bodice length from shoulder to waist seam 16
Skirt length from waist seam to hem 17
Sleeve length from shoulder to hem 23
Shoulder seam to shoulder seam across top of back 12
Back full length-top of zip to hem 30

Asking €275 shipping included within The Netherlands, overseas shipping extra. Please email the seller with any questions.

Friday, November 7, 2008

There is no such thing....

As too much **BLING** !!!

Just to show you the bodice of my new solo dress with the crystals on :-)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ilse in her new dress

Needless to say, she looks very happy in it :-)

Monday, October 27, 2008

For Ilse

This is going to be a very bright dress for a lovely, sweet and blonde little dancer!

Work is well underway and she will be picking it up next weekend. I promise to take a picture before the dress leaves the house this time :-)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anita in Vienna

Anita in her new solodress:


Congrats on your 7th placement in the Trophy Competition!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For Sale on the sidebar

I have added the dresses currently for sale on the right sidebar of the blog. When you click the "more info" link it will take you to the original post with all the details and pictures of that particular dress. You can also click on the pictures to see a larger version.
Currently, we have 3 secondhand dresses up for grabs!

Purple, Copper and cream adult solo dress for sale -750 euro

Click here for more info

Lilac and turquoise (adult) solo for sale - asking 380 euro

Click here for more info

Cerise solo for sale -asking 400 euro

Click here for more info


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A little update...

All that needs to be done now is the installment of the zipper in the back skirt. I do hope that today will be a merciful day and that process will be just as smooth as the attachment of the skirt to the underbodice (it went like a dream...baste, baste, baste!). Sewing in zippers is not my favorite thing- and sewing them in velvet is my least favorite thing :-) I'm sure that with a lot of hand sewing I will manage though.

For those who cannot wait to see Anita in her new dress in Vienna (or those who will be at the All Scots instead), here is a little update on what the dress will look like when finished. I cannot stress enough that the velvet looks so much more vibrant in real life and is a very intense raspberry-reddish-cerise color. It is just that my old camera cannot capture the true color and richness of it!

Anita came in yesterday to make a puffy headband to go with the dress and to put crystals on her dress. It looks so beautiful with all the sparkles! I am deliberately not taking a picture of the finished dress on the dressform as I feel she first needs to "debut" it in Vienna this weekend. She told me she might get some professional photos taken of her in it and then I will of course place them on the blog.

Best of luck dancing this weekend Anita!

Monday, September 29, 2008

For Anita

Anita's dress is going to be all new style: Velvet bodice with buttons and 5 panels with knotwork embroidery. What I really love about the design -made by Anita herself- is the collar and the double lines of stitching. The design is really suitable for an adult dancer and very classy and the color of the velvet is so rich and it looks really gorgeous!
As I mentioned before the metallic silver thread is difficult to work with, but very worth the trouble. Now that I have finally worked out how to tame it, this dress is coming along just fine. Anita will make her debut in her new outfit at the Vienna Feis the 11th and 12th of October.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Taming metallic embroidery thread

Metallic embroidery thread is a bit of a different beast than the normal embroidery threads. First of all, it is made of completely different fibers and second of all, the structure and thickness differ. All of this makes the behavior of metallics a bit frustrating when dealing with it in your sewing machine.

The biggest problem when trying to do a nice satin stitch in this kind of thread is the breakage. It just seems to want to break *all* the time....
Metallic threads are thinner and less sturdy. Therefore, any snag or tension problem in the thread will cause it to break easily. The inherent problem is that metallic tread has a slight stiffness and twist that make it very easy for the thread to supertwist
(twist upon itself) and cause problems between the tension discs or thread guides on the sewing machine. Unlike normal thread, it insists upon going it's own way and needs a slight tension from the spool to the machine and the tensions discs to be guided properly and behave itself. If it is rolling off the spool too loosely, it will start curling wildly around every loop and hook. Complex super-twisted knots will form in seconds, your needle stalls or pulls up all the bobbin threads like a birds nest and then the machine comes to a halt. If you are lucky the threads snap and you can just pull out your work and clean it up. If unlucky, your needle might break and you have to open up the bobbin house to clean up the tangled mess.
Sounds familiar?

The key to working under these circumstances is tension and twist control. If the spool is put horizontally when unravelling the thread, supertwisting in much less likely to occur. Some sewing machines already have a horizontal spool holder, but they can only carry small spools. For those of us that use the bigger spools or do not have the horizontal holder, you will have to find an alternative way of feeding the thread.
Many sewists lay the spool down in a box and just let it roll in there. This is usually a very good way of dealing with the problem and works for small and medium sized spools.
I use a very big spool myself, and putting it in a box like that causes too much friction when the spool turns to unravel. Thus the tension in the thread becomes too high and I start pulling up the bobbin again. Also, because the rolling occurs in little "shocks" instead of a steady roll, the tension becomes too uneven and this causes problems in the stitching as well, like gaps and missed stitches -not to mention the dreaded supertwisting.

I heard some people hang their spools in all sorts of contraptions to get the desired tension-effect and eliminate the supertwisting. Some even have the thread span from across half their sewing room before it is fed into the machine :-). Some people also make a board with horizontal pins that can function as spool holders.

To solve my problem I hung mine on a cotton thread above my machine. The spool unravelled perfectly with very few twisting problems. The only thing I needed to be careful of was to hang it in a slight angle from the sewing machine. Otherwise the thread would work itself off the spool and would get tangled on the cotton thread. I guess a simple spacer or disc added at the top of the spool would take care of that easily, but this worked as well. Elegant is perhaps not the correct term for it, but if it works!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

How to make pleats on an irish dance dress

I have many people emailing me with questions on irish dance dress construction. I try to explain as much as I can, to help to eradicate the myth that these dresses are somehow 'easy' or quick to make... :-) Sometimes I get a question that keeps coming up again and again and from now on I will try to answer these through my blog.

So, many people ask me about the pleated fringe on the hemlines of the 'swoop' or wrap dresses.

Question #1: "where can I buy pleated fabric or fringe to attach to my dress? "

Answer - Only a few specialized fabric stores will carry pre-pleated fabric. It is expensive, almost never can be found in the right fabric/color/width and did I mention it was expensive?

Question#2: "Ok, so I cannot find/buy pre-pleated fabric. / It is too expensive for my budget. / It is not the right size/shape/fabric........ What do all those dressmakers do?

Answer - They pleat it themselves - You have several options for this :

1. Some specialists in drycleaning might also offer a pleating service. In this case you find this specialist, give them the fabric and have it pleated.

2. (Buy a pleater board and) pleat your own fabric

3. Make your own pleater board and pleat your own fabric.

Question#3: "I think I want to make my own pleated do I do this?"

Answer - Either you buy the perfect pleater from Clothilde and follow the instructions, or you download this pdf explaining roughly how to make your own board.
Of course, you can always just pleat the fabric "freehand", going one pleat at a time, pressing each time you make a fold.

Run out of fabric? Just pleat a second piece and join the fabric in the inner folds of the pleat. It will be invisible from the right side of the dress.

Was this post helpful? Please let me know by leaving a comment!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

FOR SALE -Red performance dress

This dress is currently being finished and is BRAND NEW.


Red velour and white lace with golden accents. Lining is white satin, cape is white satin. The dress has a soft skirt that is embroidered all around the hemline. See picture below for a better impression of the deep red color and the sleeve material.

This is a perfect dress for irish dance performances, beginner dancers, or showdancers!

Actual dress measurements:

Bust: 94 cm -- 37"
Waist (natural): 76 cm -- 30"
Lowered waist: 92 cm -- 36"
shoulder to natural waist: 42 cm -- 16.5"
shoulder to lowered waist: 48 cm -- 18.5"
skirtlength: 36 cm -- 14"
Overall length (shoulder to hem): 84 cm -- 33"

If you are 2.5cm or 1 inch smaller in bust and waist this dress will fit you perfectly!


Asking 225 euro plus shipping from the Netherlands.
Please email me for more details, or leave a comment below.

Red color without flash with sleeve material:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Purple, copper and cream solo for sale

Elegant solo, suitable for primary/intermediate. One-off design by Lowland Design, made in 2006. The base fabric is a unique purple polyshantung, that changes colour from reddish to blueish purple, depending on the light.
Applique is done in cream embroidered organza with silver dots, orange metallic silk and white bridal satin. Lining of the skirt is satin, same colour as the organza. Bodice is fully lined with cotton. Dress comes with tiara backing, puffy headband and Antonio Pacelli dress bag. No bloomers, since it was worn with tights.
Dress was taking in due to weight loss and can easily be taken out again: approx. 1.5-2" around chest and lowered waist, 3" around natural waist.

Chest: 38.50 inch (97.79 cm)
Waist: 32.50 inch (82.55 cm)
Skirt Length: 19.00 inch (48.26 cm)
Sleeve Length: 25.00 inch (63.50 cm)
Neck (top of zipper) to waist: 16.00 inch (40.64 cm)
Shoulder to shoulder (across back): 16.00 inch (40.64 cm)
Overall Length of Dress: 32.50 inch (82.55 cm)

Condition: Very Good
Price: €750.00 EUR plus shipping
Location: Netherlands
Includes: Dress Cover
Includes: Tiara/Crown

This picture conveys the true dress colors best:

Picture from 2006, before it was taken in:

Please email with any questions or leave a comment below.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Janna and Magdalena, congratulations on your great 3rd & 4th placement!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tulip solo for sale!

Elegant 4 panel, 2-piece dress with tulip design. The base is made of lilac taft with a stitched texture. Applique is silver sewn sequin and turquoise lame. The sleeves and cape are a white taft with silver stitched sequin pattern. Lining is silver holographic lame and the pleat panels have silver holographic "cracked glass" squares.
Dress was made in 2006 by Lowland Design and has been worn 8 times.
Comes with extra base, applique and skirt lining fabric pieces. comes with a tiara liner/crown. I have no bloomers, but these can be made with the extra lining fabric provided.
There is some light wear on one of the applique flowers in the back pleats of the skirt. This is not noticable from stage (or closer) as this part is hidden in the skirt pleat.

To fit a dancer with sizes:

sleeve: 23
collarbone to natural waist: 15

Asking 380 euro plus shipping from the Netherlands. I'm open to offers. This dress can be seen and tried on at the Munich Feis (Germany) this weekend!

Please email me or leave a comment for more pictures or info on this dress.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sabrina & Magdalena

Finally have some time to post on the blog! Truth is I have been quite busy with school skirts, alterations and 2 dress orders to be finished this saturday. The red and pink dress is for Sabrina and the orange for Magdalena. They were already ordered some time ago and got picked up today by one of the two dancers. I was so busy finishing off the details I nearly forgot to take a picture! Unfortunately, I have no picture of the orange one completely finished. The sleeves are just pinned on in the picture below, and I have no pic of the backside, sorry! Every time I do these I forget to take pictures...luckily, this time I was reminded by the dancers themselves they would really like to see what they were going to get before the pickup :-)

Next one up is a blue one :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

multipanel pattern drafting

There have been a lot of requests on the boards lately on how to draw a multipanel skirt pattern. I have taken the liberty of showing the basic recipe that I use to draw my panels. It is available as a pdf-document for the price of $1 US (payable through paypal). This is not a ready-to-use pattern - It is a method I use to draw my own patterns. In the example I show a 4-panel being drawn, but this concept can apply to any number of panels!

If you are interested in the pdf, please send me an email and I will contact you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

For Nadine

To be ready for the WIDA championships in March...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Danielle's dress is ready!

Here is just a quick picture taken of the finished dress right before it was shipped off to the USA.
A little info:
The base fabrics is a black swirl fabric is a mesh overlay with gold sequins. Underneath the black overlay is a standard black satin.
The purple brocade is used for the panels and back skirt. The lining of the dress is holographic gold shimmer lame. All these were bought in England, from as is the sequined lace for the sleeves.The gold foil with dots for the applique came from a local dutch fabric market.
The inside of the sleeves was lined with a cream satin to give some support to the sleeves and balance the color of the yellow/gold lace.
The panels are done in a car-wash-hem style.