Sunday, March 22, 2009

lace on irish dance dresses- part 2

For the next custom dress, I am working with a highly embroidered and sequined organza lace. The fabric itself is just gorgeous and has great potential. It can be used as it is for the cape or perhaps a few panels, or the border and the hearts can be cut out and used to be pieced together in a different pattern.

The dress I am making with this fabric has a green velvet as the base fabric in the same shade that is the green in the lace. Combined with a gold/beige thread for the embroidery, it will look like a perfect match.
Since the border is so wide and lovely, it is used as-is for the border on the sleeves. The border is cut from the fabric, backed and hand-sewn in place on the sleeve.

The skirt will be decorated with small 'panels' also made from the organza lace. The hearts were cut out in different ways to break up the pattern and add some interest to the shape. In the picture you can see the separate elements cut from the fabric, and how they look together. They were basted on top of eachother with a few hand stitches in beige thread. Nearly impossible to see already. The green lines of the edges will be re-embroidered and around the outline the matching green satin stitch will fill in the gap that exists at the sides of the heart-shape.

These appliques will be backed with some stiffener and a gold satin fabric and then embroidered/sewn onto the circular skirt piece.

Here is a picture of the panels ready to be stitched onto the dress:

to be continued...

Friday, March 20, 2009

For Sale

Dress 1:

This is a sweet and elegant little dress perfect for a beginning championship dancer. Would fit a tall, slim 9 to 11 years old. Classic three-panel dress made by Lowland Design from Holland in April 2007. Worn only for 4 feisannas. Dress has slightly dropped-waist. Bodice is made from iceblue spandex with sparkly dots of glitter material. Applique in pink satin and silver holo foil. Kickpleats are lined in bubblegum pink tornado foil jersey, underskirt in silver holographic foil. There is room to let out in the sideseams. Dress is in excellent condition. Two pants in matching colours are included.

Measurements (taken from the dress)
Chest: 25 inch
Natural waist of dancer: 22.5 inch
Dropped waist: 25 inch
Sleeves: 20 inch
Skirt length: 15 inch
Bodice length: 14.5 inch
Full length:29.5 inch
shoulder to shoulder across back: 12 inch.

Price €300 plus shipping from Germany.
Please email the seller  for more information.



Lovely Sue McMullan of London dress. Bodice of red velvet with elegant embroidery and applications in gold and red sequin. Sleeves made of white embroidered tulle underlay with white satin, lovely details on the sleeves. 4 panel skirt in red, white and gold, very nice embroidery on the panels, the small panels are made with white sewn on sequins, frill is made out of white cotton and red satin ribbon, underskirt in red/white polka dots. Dress comes complete with two different capes, a simple white one made out of the embroidered tulle and a flashy one made of red sequin tulle and red satin, matching knickers, padded hairband, lovely seperate white 2 layer tutu and a red long dress bag from Melaine Murphy. Dress was made in March 2008, DD wore it for 4 Feisannas, she did an enormous growth spurt, 15cm (6 inches) during a year, so we bought the tutu to elongate the skirt. Dress is in very good condition, one little mark on the cotton frill on the backside where her shoe upkicked dress, not noticeable only under really close inspection.

Measurements ( in inches )
Chest 26
Natural waist 23
Dropped waist ( at bodice/skirt seam ) 23.5
Bodice length from shoulder to waist seam 14.5
Skirt length from waist seam to hem 13
Sleeve length from shoulder to hem 21.5
Front full length-center neck to hem 27

Asking €600 plus shipping from Germany.
Please email the seller  for more information.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Lace fabric on ID dresses-part 1

Lace on irish dance dresses is used on all parts of the dress like the sleeves, the panels, the cape or a soft underskirt. Most of the time the lace is used as-is, or it is combined with a backing fabric as an overlay to create interesting patterns and sparkle. A trend that is currently rising is the use of lace appliques to replace the embroideries on the bodice or skirt or to combine patches of lace with embroidery work to create a nice pattern.
Some of the "readymade'" applique lace pieces out there made for beauty pageant-, ballet- or wedding dresses are very suitable for this purpose.

When you cannot find what you need however, you might want to look for fabrics with elegant embroideries in repeating patterns that you can cut out and create your own lace appliques.

The process used to shape and mould the fabric or cut lace pieces is a very well know technique in couture dresses. Many wedding dresses or evening gowns with stunning lace borders or allover designs are usually "pieced" together from a border or straight piece of lace fabric to suit the designers' needs. Patterns can be made by adding shapes together, overlapping them or shaping them to follow a border or neckline. You don't need much lace to spice up a dress. Half a yard of lace pieced together and appliqued on a bodice or skirt can already have a great effect on the look of a finished dress.

When choosing a fine lace to work with, like Alencon or Chantilly lace it is often overwhelming to choose from all the options available. To choose the right fabric for the job, you need to ask yourself how you want to use the lace. When applying it as an overlay you need to look at the allover effect the fabric is giving you. When using only parts of the lace, you need to check if the fabric provides you with nice shapes or patterns to be cut out and pieced onto the dress. Most-if not all- laces have repetitive patterns, but not all of them are suitable for Irish dance dresses. (Be careful not to make your irish dance dress look like an altered wedding dress). Try to imagine how certain patterns from the fabric would look on your dress and if that suits your taste. The scallops and patterns from the fabric need to match the rest of the design and the person who is wearing it. Designs that are too small will be lost and designs that are too large will overwhelm the dancer.

When choosing your fabric, examine the borders that are present on the lace. Borders are usually more elaborately embellished than the main fabric and will no doubt be used most frequently on your dress. Full and wide borders provide great opportunities to cover the cuffs of a sleeve, the waistline of a bodice or be shaped to follow the neckline. Sometimes choosing a lace galloon (a narrow border piece of lace) might prove to be a wiser choice than an allover lace fabric. When using a lace as a theme in a dress, it might be an option to consider matching laces together to benefit most from the embellishments on the fabric. If, for instance, you are using a white allover lace for the bodice or skirt, you might be able to match this with a lace galloon in the same style and color to provide you with more border "yardage". It might be difficult to match special colors, but it is worth looking for if it means not having to buy another yard or two of the allover fabric only to have more border fabric.

To try and make a good estimate on the yardage needed, it is wise to shop for the lace with a set of paper or muslin pattern pieces. With the pattern pieces put under the lace, you can precisely see how large certain patterns will be and where they could be placed.

After determining the place of the lace on your irish dance dress, you can cut out the pieces. When using individual motifs, you need to trim the net fabric close to your motif edges, but you need to leave a tiny amount of netting to keep the threads making up the motif in place. If you do cut through the cording or the chain stitching holding beads, sequins or pearls, try and secure these by hand sewing or with a tiny amount of tacky glue.

Lace can be used transparent or underlined with a second fabric to create nice contrast. If you want to preserve the transparent quality of the lace, but the fabric itself is quite delicate, then using organza in a matching color to stabilize the lace is a great option (the organza will make the lace slightly more opaque). You can also use different shades of organza to intensify a certain color. If you have an orange lace for example, it can be made more red, orange, white or yellow by trying out different colored backgrounds.

Hand stitching your lace will give you the best control and most invisible result. Even though very labour intensive, the piecing of lace by hand will disturb the lace the least and the tiny stitches will be almost invisible. When using corded lace you can follow the lines of the cording to attach your piece. Heavily embroidered laces with wide satin stitch lines are best machine stitched in place with a matching thread covering the original satin stitch.
Straight borders can be cut and re-stitched to follow curves. For sharp curves you need to cut deeper into the lace and either spread or overlap the lace to create the desired curve. Re-stitch the lace following the design either by hand or with the machine and cut away any excess from the bottom layer. When piecing shapes together make sure that the topmost piece has the more pleasing shape to follow. Remember that you can add small patches or shapes to motifs already present in the lace to make a shape more pleasing.