Forum: Irish / Irish - Dressmakers & Costumers

Irish - Dressmakers & Costumers
Making a solo dress?!!
By Heart7026 Comments: 18, member since Fri Dec 11, 2015
On Sun Apr 23, 2017 02:53 PM

Hi everyone,
I was just wondering if anyone could guide me in what it takes to become a dressmaker and designer in the Irish dance world, I have read lots of forums on here but unfortunately some are a little out of date and not completely relevant anymore.
I would appreciate any advice especially to do with materials, designing, pattern making etc. as it is something I'd really like to look into.
Thank you!!
☺️☺️

12 Replies to Making a solo dress?!!

re: Making a solo dress?!!
By rosalinde Comments: 1973, member since Fri Jun 19, 2009
On Mon Apr 24, 2017 07:37 AM
It's a tough business to start in, let alone become successful.

Have you made solo dresses before? For instance for yourself? There isn't a standard pattern and even the patterns I suggest in my post (in the stickies) are by now either out of print or totally outdated. So unless you can draft patterns you'll need to collect some stock patterns and find out what works for you.

Nowadays commercial solo dresses are embroidered all over (instead of appliqueed like in the past) and for that you'll need a pretty darn good machine that's very very expensive.

If you can't get an internship or job with an established dress maker, you'll need to find out yourself. Maybe you can start by making some dresses for dance friends, perhaps some show dresses, just to get experience.
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By Heart7026 Comments: 18, member since Fri Dec 11, 2015
On Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:17 AM
Thank you!
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By thehepples Comments: 2, member since Wed Apr 05, 2017
On Tue May 16, 2017 07:44 AM
Guna rince now produce a pattern for a modern dropped waist dress. 5+ skirt options. Options for shawl, collar etc. You need to be experienced with paper patterns www.gunarince.com . . .
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By CinderEmma Comments: 135, member since Mon Sep 05, 2016
On Tue May 16, 2017 09:09 AM
Learn the art of EMBROIDERY!. Look at any fancy Irish Dance solo dress or costume, and you will notice tons and tons of embroidery. You can find many simple, and inexpensive booklets at your nearest fabric shop or Hobby Lobby that will introduce you to the art of embroidery at a beginner's level.
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By peggyjca Comments: 3, member since Wed May 17, 2017
On Wed May 17, 2017 10:43 AM
I am currently working on my 4th dress for my granddaughter. The Guna Rince pattern seems decent and a good place for you to start. I bulk buy commercial sewing patterns, and create the patterns I use from them, only because it's easier than drafting them from scratch. I have a fashion design degree so it is easier for me to ad lib so to speak. There is also a group on Yahoo Irish Dance Dressmaking that has lots of tips and tricks. It is a fashion industry, concentrate on your sewing and fitting skills but there is all of the embellishment side of it such as the embroidery and stoning of the dresses. Feel free to contact me.
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By Heart7026 Comments: 18, member since Fri Dec 11, 2015
On Tue Jun 06, 2017 12:44 AM
Thank you! The Gunarince patterns look exactly like what I need, on the bottom of the page there are photos of dresses that have been made from the patterns and I noticed that some looked more 'home made' than others. Are there any ways I can avoid mine looking too 'home made'?
Also when it comes to embroidery I know that I'd probably need a good embroidery machine, do you have any recommendations?
Your help is much appreciated!!! :)
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By peggyjca Comments: 3, member since Wed May 17, 2017
On Tue Jun 06, 2017 06:04 AM
I like the Guna Rince pattern, I have is that I have recommended it to a number of people over the past few months. The one irk I have is the fact that there is now another skirt and the vendor expects you to pay full pop for another full pattern after purchasing it when that skirt was obviously in development. She has drafting instructions on her site for it so that will be my go to. While a time frame for purchasing and upgrades should be established say 3-6 months, this should be offered to the people who purchased in good faith.

In any garment to avoid the 'homemade' concentrate on good even and straight seams and good pressing. I cannot express proper measurement enough to get the proper fit and look to the finished garment. Invest if you can in a very good steam iron and a dress form if you can. They alone will save you countless hours.

I have 7 machines with 100 years between the oldest and newest. I did a lot of research last year between the Brother and Singer machines when searching for an embroidery machine. There are better makes, but for starting off look at these. The Brother is limited with the hoop sizes and anything I read on the after market add ons was very negative. I finally settled on the Singer Futura 420XL, pay the bit extra for it over the 400. It comes with the two standard hoops plus the continuous hoop. It is a quilter also with a large bed which can be removed for a free arm. There is a learning curve, but patience pays off and worth the $700US on sale as a good starter. I use my older machine from the 70's to do the heavy duty work on the dresses. I also invested in the after market foot collection and the Singer serger foot for mine before actually investing in a serger. There is a Futura group on FB that is fabulous. There is also a group on Yahoo IDDressmaking . Both of these groups will also really help you out.
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By Heart7026 Comments: 18, member since Fri Dec 11, 2015
On Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:16 AM
Edited by Heart7026 (276031) on 2017-06-06 11:23:34
Thank you! What sort of materials are the best to use, I don't want to choose one that doesn't take the embroidery well, also which stiffeners would you recommend to use in the skirt?
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By Claramel Comments: 35, member since Tue Oct 13, 2015
On Wed Jun 07, 2017 04:43 PM
Peggyjca you don't have to pay for a whole new pattern if you have the the older gunarince pattern. There's an upgrade listed on the site that is much less in cost than buying the whole thing again!
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By thehepples Comments: 2, member since Wed Apr 05, 2017
On Thu Jun 15, 2017 10:41 AM
Edited by thehepples (282330) on 2017-06-15 10:47:21 additions
New Doire Codie range has no embroidery at all. Simple dress and just crystals. Here's one my dd wore this weekend, made by me. It's one way of concentrating on the construction and not just the artwork. BTW it needs a shedload more crystals, that's what I had handy
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By peggyjca Comments: 3, member since Wed May 17, 2017
On Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:16 AM
I love it,
re: Making a solo dress?!!
By Heart7026 Comments: 18, member since Fri Dec 11, 2015
On Thu Jun 15, 2017 02:58 PM
It's beautifully done! What material and stiffeners etc did you use?

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