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Irish - Dressmakers & Costumers
Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics (karma: 14)
By Jitchiwahmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2897, member since Tue Sep 03, 2002
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 09:42 AM
Made sticky by imadanseur (79325) on 2005-09-13 15:19:20

Yet another legs-up-peas-on-knees boredom induced post for y'all -

A Glossary of ID Fabrics
not complete or definitive, but certainly a good start ;)

Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/silk.jpg'
Silk, Silk Dupion, Silk Shantung - Silk is made from the threads spun into cocoons by silk worms. The cocoons are unwound and the very fine filament wound onto a spool. Several of these filaments are combined to make one thread which is then used to weave silk fabrics. Dupion is made from irregular threads and as such often has a slightly bumpy or "slubbed" texture. It has a lovely shine and is available in many bright vibrant colours, as well as two-tone "shot" colours. It is very popular to use as the base of dresses, as well as linings, due to the vast number of rich colours you can get it in.

To be used as a base it should be interfaced first with a woven cotton interacing such as those manufactured by HTC and Freudenberg (brand names pellon and vilene). Silk can be prone to wear especially on corners and edges and if it is rubbed against abrasive fabrics (such as sequins). As always you should try and buy the best quality fabric you can as the better the quality the less likely it is to wear. Interfacing as previously mentioned will also help to strengthen the silk.
(image courtesy Equilter)

Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/metsilk.jpg'
Metallic Silk - Metallic Silk is made by combining a metallic warp with a silk weft. The finished effect is a very shiny smooth metallic fabric. It is very popular as a base fabric as it gives a lovely shine on stage, without too much glitz, and is generally easy to work with. It is wise to preshrink the fabric with a steam iron before use. The fabric is available in a wide range of colours from silver and gold, through pastels and into rich jewel tones. Two tone/shot metallic silks are also available where the metallic is a different colour or shade to the silk.
(image courtesy White Lodge)

Velvet - The fabric of choice in the past, Velvet can be heavy and hot, but the colours are rich. Cotton velvet used to be used for costumes, however silk and synthetic velvets are available which are much lighter and some dancers are now using these for their dress. Glittery varieties can also be bought.

Gaberdine, Traveira - A popular choice for school dresses and also used in solos. Available in a wide range of colours including white, black, dark colours (burgundy, dark greens) and neons. The fabric is dull with no shine, and the weave produces a texture of diagonal lines. It wears well hence it's being popular for school dresses.

Satin - A soft, drapey fabric with a shine. The most commonly available (and the most reasonably priced) are synthetic. Some of the readily available satins can be cheap quality - very flimsy with little body. Purchasing a better quality slightly thicker satin is worthwhile. Some satins - particularly Duchess satin (often used in Bridal wear) can be heavy. Also be wary of Acetate satin, it can pull apart where it has been satin stitched. Good for applique and linings.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/gb.jpg'
Glitterball, Glitterdot, Confetti Dot, Sequinned American Knit - This fabric is made from a base of jersey lurex (aka "American Knit"). This is then covered with evenly spaced sequin type dots (either 6mm or 3mm). It is available in normal metallic, two tone, and holographic effects. It is widely used as applique as it gives a lovely sparkle effect on stage, and is cost effective. It is also being used as a base fabric for dresses in the higher levels, although it can be prone to wear along edges and anywhere the fabric rubs (eg, around the sleeves).

As the base jersey is often quite sheer it shows through the colour of the fabric behind, so it is best to back the fabric with a poly-cotton, satin or similar of the same colour, even if only using it for applique. When buying this fabric ensure you get a good quality one, as the cheaper versions are far more likely to shed the dots. Mod Podge can be used to help prevent dots from falling off.

Holographic Squares, Square Glitterball, Square Sequin Knit - The base of this fabric is the same "American Knit" jersey lurex as for normal glitterdot. However it is then covered with closely spaced squares. The most widely used version of this is Holographic, although it is possible to get plain metallic squares. As with Glitterball it is wise to get a good quality version of this fabric, even if it means mail ordering or paying a little more. Some of the Holographic Square fabics available are very prone to shedding, while the better quality fabrics will keep the sequins longer. Mod Podge can be used to help prevent the squares from coming off.

The fabric is widely used for applique due to the lovely sparkle it has under lights. It is also being used as a base fabric, although as such it can be prone to wear on edges, and anywhere the fabric rubs against itself (ie where the sleeves touch the sides).

Diamond Knit, Diamond Glitterball - Again this fabric has a base of "American Knit" metallic jersey, which is covered in diamond shaped sequins. It is available in plain metallic and holographic versions, with some two tone effects available. It is popular for applique, but can be (and is) used as a base fabric (although it would be prone to wear along edges and where the fabric rubs). As always you should try and get the best quality you can in in order to get a fabric which is less likely to shed it's diamonds, although it is possible to treat the fabric with Mod Podge to help prevent this.

Velour Glitterball - The base of this fabric is Velour, a velvet like synthetic material. The most commonly available colours are white, black, and neon yellow, pink green and orange, but you can also get darker tones such as purple and red. The velour base is covered with small silver holographic sequin-like dots. Although the darker colours are available, the silver dots make the overall appearance on stage much lighter. It is also possible to get this fabric with self coloured plain metallic dots (eg black on black, navy on navy) or two tone (red on black, blue on black) although they are not as readily available.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/sequins.jpg'
Sewn Sequins - A plain stretch lycra type base with sequins sewn on. The sequins on this fabric sit next to each other, but with no spaces, giving a solid holographic effect, with plenty of sparkle. Widely available in Silver, Gold, Red, Blue, Purple/Magenta, Black and Turquoise Holographic and White Pearl. Now also available in Neon Holographic Pink, Orange, Yellow and Green. Other colours may also be found from some suppliers. Most commonly used for applique, but in the top levels dancers also have dresses with this fabric as the base. Drawbacks include the cost (around GB£50/m upwards), the weight, and the fact that the sequins can shed.
(image courtesy Online Fabrics)

Fishscale Sequins - A stretch base with sequins sewn on so that they overlap each other (like a fish's scales). Typically available in similar colours as Sewn Sequins. Also a Plain Black can be found. Uses and drawbacks as for Sewn Sequins. This version of the sequin fabric is heavier as there are more sequins.

Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/chiffonsequin.jpg'
Sequinned Chiffon - A chiffon (sheer, floaty fabric) base which has sequins sewn on. In some cases the sequins may be closely spaced with small gaps, all over the fabric. Other chiffons may have the sequins randomly spaced, or combined with fine, delicate embroidery in scroll or floral type designs. This fabric is lovely for sleeves, but may also be used for a full costume and/or applique if it is first backed with another fabric. The all over version of this fabric in particular is inclined to catch on itself and lose sequins.
(Image courtesy White Lodge)

Lame, Paper Lame, Tissue Lame - This is a very fine and delicate metallic fabric which frays very easily. It is best suited to applique but still needs to be backed with a cotton interfacing in order to give it a bit more stabilty for embroidering. Mod Podge can also be used to prevent splitting and fraying along the lines of stitching. The fabric is not the best choice for a base fabric, but if backed with a good quality fusible interfacing such as French Fuse, the lame become far stronger and easier to work with (Thanks to Susan Gowin for tip). Also good for linings.

Rocky Lame - Rocky Lame is a slightly more durable metallic fabric. Like Paper Lame it is very prone to fraying but is slightly thicker so stronger. The "rocky" comes from the texture of the fabric, which is slightly bumpy, giving it a lovely twinkle. It is best suited to applique though it can also be used for the base of a dress providing it is well interfaced and overlocked/serged to prevent fraying. It should be noted though that it can be prone to bubbly when being fused to interacing so care needs to be taken.

Liquid Lame - A shiny metallic fabric best suited to applique. It is made from a polyester jersey base which is then covered with tiny dots of metallic paint. It is available in metallic, metallic two tone (ie. blue base, green metallic) and holographic effects in many colours. It should be noted that this fabric is not really suitable for linings or for making a full dress from as the paint wears off very easily over time, leaving just the base colour.

Lamine - This is a fabric made by Rosebrand. It has a similar appearance to Tissue Lame but is thicker and stronger. It's is less likely to split so would be a better choice. Can be used as the base of a dress providing it has been interfaced.

Holographic Shimmer, Holographic Lame - This fabric is similar to a paper lame but much drapier, less fragile and it is holographic. As the actual threads of the fabric are holographic rather than it being painted on, you can rest assured the holographic effect will not wear away as it would on a Liquid Lame. It is often used for applique, but if backed with a cotton interfacing it can also be used for linings or as the base fabric of a dress.

Lycra - A thick and very stretchy jersey fabric which is very popular for use in costumes for other forms of dance. It is available in many plain colours, ranging from the basics through to vibrant neons. Many varieties of holographic and patterned lycras are also available, and are becoming very popular for applique. They can also be used as a base for a dress, or for lining, but they can be quite heavy (this can lead to "sagging" if used for a lining). As the fabric is very stretchy it must be stabilised.

Pearl Organza - Highly popular, this fabric is sheer and has a pearlised effect. It is most readily available in white, pink, lilac and blue, although various suppliers also have it in Orange and other shades. To be used as the base of a dress it must be overlayed onto a fabric such as satin, preferably by fusing with Bondaweb or similar. Also suitable for linings, and lovely as an applique.


Image hotlink - 'http://www.jessknight.co.uk/ddn/glitter.jpg'
Glitter Organza - Various organza's are available with glitter effects. One of the most popular is available in pastel colours as well as red and black has spaced out patches of holographic glitter and small silver beads. This gives a lovely subtle twinkle on stage. Others simply have small dots of glitter spaced out acrosds the fabric. White Lodge sell a great glitter organza called Falling Rain. As with the pearl organzas, these need to be backed with a satin or other fabric base. In the case of the glitter & bead patch organza, you need to be careful with the heat as it can melt the shine off the silver beads.

Other Organzas - Many other organzas are available. Twinkle or Crystal Organza is commonly used in Bridal and Evening wear and has a subtle shimmer (it is not glittery). This is due to the fibres being textured to reflect light. Others are available with flocked & glittery designs, embroidery, and even sequins and diamantes. As with all other organzas they require backing in a matching satin or similar due to their being see through.

image with no credit are my own.

28 Replies to Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics

re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 09:51 AM
So what's crystal falling rain? Where does that fit in?

Louise
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By Jitchiwahmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2897, member since Tue Sep 03, 2002
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:11 AM
it's a glittery organza. If you read, it says "White Lodge sell a great glitter organza called Falling Rain"

satin falling rain is the same, but on satin, not organza ;)
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics (karma: 1)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 10:51 AM
*Sends self to corner avec fetching white triangular cap*

Louise
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By IndyMaid Comments: 60, member since Mon Aug 16, 2004
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 02:18 PM
Thank you so much for doing this glossary, it's very helpful for those of us who don't know a thing about dress making.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By JenDancesIrishmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 983, member since Thu Feb 03, 2005
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 02:36 PM
...and also very helpful information for anyone who's looking to buy a dress, so they have a better idea of what they might be getting themselves into as far as caring for the dress.

Excellent post!
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By hummingbird Comments: 10414, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Tue Sep 13, 2005 03:10 PM
This is a great informative post that I am going to print out and put with my order pack, if that is alright Jess, you have put it all so much better than I ever could, with all my rambling.
Please could this be made a sticky?
Please please pleeeeeeeze?
sooo gooood
By Irishmoose Comments: 23, member since Thu Mar 10, 2005
On Mon Sep 19, 2005 05:29 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you, now I know what other people are talking about. And I also now know that both of my dds dresses are made of Dupon Silk, sorta had an idea, but well...
Great post. Going to tell a few friends about it.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By ilovechelseamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1247, member since Fri May 25, 2007
On Sun Jun 17, 2007 03:43 PM
You really should have included pictures for every fabric. It wouls have helpes alot.
♥Chelsea♥
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By two_lassies Comments: 43, member since Sun May 20, 2007
On Tue Jun 19, 2007 08:10 PM
Is there a trick to using the "American knits" as an applique? While i have not yet sewn a dress, my thought is that with a normal fusing, they would pucker (obviously this is not the case, as I know that it is used frequently in this capacity). What would be the proper way to use one of these as an applique?

Thanks for your insight.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By elliebelliemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1990, member since Mon Nov 22, 2004
On Wed Jun 20, 2007 12:53 AM
re: the puckering of certain fabrics, to conquer that some dressmakers use that stuff you iron on the face of the fabric you're not using to give it abit more strength so it's easier to machine over...

Well that's what I was taught...

elliebellie
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By isaiah52seven Comments: 106, member since Tue Jul 10, 2007
On Sat Jul 14, 2007 09:14 PM
If you are using a stretch fabric as an applique, it needs to be bonded to a non-stretch fabric. When you are appliquing it onto the main fabric, I find that it is really helpful to do the applique "through" a layer of thin plastic, like thick dry cleaner bag, or a dissolvable machine applique film. It seems to keep the machine from "picking up tension" with the applique fabric and dragging it under, which makes it pucker. Give it a try on some scraps to test it out.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By angelfeet06Premium member Comments: 208, member since Sun Oct 01, 2006
On Thu Mar 13, 2008 04:45 PM
wow, what a fantastic peice of information. So glad to see that there is people out there willing to give advice. A lot of dress-makers are reluctant to give out any info. This is a great help to all dance moms who wish to save a few pennies and try it for themselves.
Good for you. A*******
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By irishdance_lmp Comments: 31, member since Mon Jul 07, 2008
On Tue Jul 22, 2008 01:41 PM
Wow great post! i love the info in here! so what exactly are hologram squares??
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By loricg Comments: 11, member since Mon Sep 08, 2008
On Mon Sep 08, 2008 11:13 AM
Thanks this helped me alot.
Great post!
re: Silk Dupion fabrics
By fabrics Comments: 2, member since Thu Nov 06, 2008
On Thu Nov 06, 2008 02:19 PM
Silk Dupion, slub silk, with irregular slub in the fabric handwoven and hand dyed, 85 colours available on line free fabric samples www.fabricuk.com


re: Silk Dupion fabrics
By fabrics Comments: 2, member since Thu Nov 06, 2008
On Thu Nov 06, 2008 02:21 PM
Silk Dupion, slub silk, with irregular slub in the fabric handwoven and hand dyed, 85 colours available on line free fabric samples www.fabricuk.com

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re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 900, member since Sun Feb 07, 2010
On Mon Jul 05, 2010 09:25 AM
for most any applique I use this stuff
www.joann.com . . .
at2092&PRODID=prd2982
its amazing :) its iron on stuff that's on paper, so you can draw the design on the paper, cut out out, iron onto back of fabric, peel paper off, and iron the applique onto base fabric!
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By DinoDancer Comments: 41, member since Sat Sep 25, 2010
On Thu Nov 25, 2010 06:36 PM
Do you know what fabric is usually used to make cupcake skirts?
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By JenBlackerbymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 900, member since Sun Feb 07, 2010
On Thu Nov 25, 2010 06:42 PM
most of the ones I've seen are organza or satin. Organza for a more curly look, satin for a more ruffly look.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By aprilrose Comments: 2, member since Mon Jun 27, 2011
On Mon Jun 27, 2011 03:27 PM
Hello I have a question.You mentioned under holographic square material that mod podge could be used to slow down the falling off process. I went and used mod podge gloss on my outfit and I called a rep from mod podge cause I had a question. And she told me that once the mod podge "cures" in 3 to 4 weeks most likely all of my holographic squares will fall off! Please please tell me this is not true :( She said that the only reason why they haven't fallen off yet is because of the moisture that is locked in the fabric. I used a very thin coat but did I did do 2 coats. I can't see how this can happen. Could you tell me if you think this might happen and if so is there anything I can do to prevent it? I paid so much money for this dress. Thanks for your time.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By aprilrose Comments: 2, member since Mon Jun 27, 2011
On Tue Jun 28, 2011 08:27 PM
Hello I have a question.You mentioned under holographic square material that mod podge could be used to slow down the falling off process. I went and used mod podge gloss on my outfit and I called a rep from mod podge cause I had a question. And she told me that once the mod podge "cures" in 3 to 4 weeks most likely all of my holographic squares will fall off! Please please tell me this is not true She said that the only reason why they haven't fallen off yet is because of the moisture that is locked in the fabric. I used a very thin coat but did I did do 2 coats. I can't see how this can happen. Could you tell me if you think this might happen and if so is there anything I can do to prevent it? I paid so much money for this dress. Thanks for your time
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By Irishdancerfly Comments: 29, member since Mon Jun 06, 2011
On Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:37 PM
This is a bit late, but if you're still wondering I have a little help!
My dress has holographic square material as the main fabric, and is about 7 years old. The holographic squares are mostly still in place, except where the arms rub, etc.
I'm not sure what they did to the fabric, but the sequins are for the most part fine! It would probably be a similar situation for your dress. =)

Also, if they do start to peel around the edges, I found that a tiny dab of fabric glue (from any craft store) helps keep it in place.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By dancemomma2 Comments: 8, member since Fri Jun 12, 2009
On Sat Jun 30, 2012 04:40 AM
The sequin style is making a bit of a comeback. Has anyone had a problem with them coming off like before? We noticed many threads would fray.
re: Glossary of Irish Dancing Fabrics
By mandie_sue0 Comments: 11, member since Wed Aug 27, 2014
On Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:59 AM
i have a white organza-like overlay (i think) and another white fabric under it. the lower layer is very bright but the overlay is sort of faded. is there any way to make it bright again? i want it to really pop onstage (which unfortunately it does not right now.)
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