Patterns for Irish Dance
My mother has always made my solo dresses for me and because theyre for me, Im usually the one who ends up browsing the net for patterns. So I decided to put my findings together so that, hopefully, others wont have to spend hours and hours doing the same.
When weve tried them, Ive put a kind of indicator behind them to show how hard they are to use. Obviously, commercial patterns for Riverdance style dresses are always simpler than completely modifying the FeisDress pattern to make a Elevation style dress. Also, all patterns are given stars for the dress the pattern was designed for. So the Irish Threads pattern for example is rated for a normal 3-panel, high-waisted dress, because thats the basic pattern. What you are able do to a pattern to modify it is not for me to judge of course. Please remember: the opinions given are MY AND MY MOTHERS OPINIONS ONLY!
You may find a pattern harder or easier to use, but it may give you some idea as to the suitability.
Right, lets go!
Solo dress patterns:
* = simple (does this term exist where solos are concerned?). Youll be able to use this pattern without needing too much sewing experience.
** = medium. This pattern may require some figuring out, but if you know how to sew, this pattern is fine.
*** = advanced. Dont try this pattern without prior sewing experience. All patterns are for home-use, so they are absolutely do-able, but know your limits
Riverdance style dresses:
* = simple. Anyone with basic sewing skills can do this. Pattern is suitable with minimum of adaptations (such as shortening the skirt)
** = medium. Fairly good pattern for its purpose. You may only be able to use part of it or youll have to modify it quite a bit.
Accessories and parts:
* = simple
** = medium
# = pattern not tried out by my mother or myself. Maybe others can give an indication?
Dance World *
-- Multi-size patterns, both for children (Dance World 1, ages 3-12) and teens/adults (Dance World 2, sizes 8-18). Very old-fashioned pattern, but super-easy to make. Great for childrens jumpers, beginner dresses and basic school dresses. Box-panel only. Dress has high waist and soft circle skirt with no seams. If you want a more modern dress, dont bother with this pattern. If youre not competing and you want something more than a Riverdance dress, but still want a soft and comfy dress, this is your pattern. www.irishdancewear.net
and go to accessories
Irish Threads **
-- One-size pattern. This used to be THE pattern, but its a bit behind. Pattern gives several options for the skirt and panels (3 and 4 panel skirt), as well as neck-lines. High-waisted dress, though. My mother found it hard to modify it to drop the waist and we left it after a few dresses. The pattern is easy to understand though, and it gives a good solid solo dress. If the latest and greatest doesnt mean too much to you, or you like a traditional look, you cannot go wrong with this pattern. Pat from Irish Threads is very kind to answer questions by email. www.irishthreads.com . . .
-- One-size pattern. Currently THE best DIY solo dress pattern on the market. The basic pattern is for a 3-panel and the waist is still fairly high, but my mother was able to drop the waist with this pattern and create a more up-to-date look for me. The construction of the skirt required higher education though, and the side pleat construction was a total mystery to us we decided to design a side pleat ourselves and discard the FeisDress option. Other than that, its a great pattern. Skirt can be adapted for multi-panel skirts, but Id suggest doing that only after first making a 3-panel mock-up to figure out the pattern. Susan from FeisDress is kind enough to help you with questions (she gave us tips about the side pleat, so the fact that we couldnt figure it out was not her fault). www.feisdress.com . . .
Custom Dance Wear #
-- One-size pattern. We havent tried it (we went from Irish Threads to FeisDress and have had no need to look further), but the drawing on the site shows a very old-fashioned dress. Price is about the same as Irish Threads and FeisDress. They do offer a custom pattern service which may be useful to dancers with odd measurements. www.customdancewear.com . . .
Simplicity 9654 #
-- Out-of-print Multi-size pattern. What Ive heard is that its basically a Halloween outfit that would require extensive modifications to make it even remotely acceptable for competition wear. Other than that, it looks a lot like the Dance World dresses, and the latter are perfectly fine and still available. Dont use it.
Burda 3274 *
-- ADULTS. Multi-size pattern. Our super favorite pattern. Waist is in the right place, skirt is wide enough to dance in (though not super wide), option of long or short sleeve. The only thing we do is shorten the skirt by 3-5 inches. Because it has a princess line, you can make the middle section a different colour which always works well. No waist seam, which is flattering but makes lining the skirt difficult, unless you line the whole dress.
Burda 2464 #
ADULTS. Multi-size pattern. We havent tried this one, but from the looks of it Id say its Burda 3274 in a Halloween edition. Here the length is good, but the neck-line is perhaps too deep.
Butterick 4377 **
-- ADULTS. Multi-size pattern. Yes, its a pattern for a medieval dress, but its very flattering and the fit is sublime. You will have to shorten the skirt (side seams are natural waist, measure down to ± 18 or whatever length you want to skirt to be (dont forget a seam allowance!) to start with, so you dont waste too much tracing paper) and the neckline is far too low. Use another pattern with a higher neck (such as Burda 3274) to make the neck line higher. The bodice comes down into a point and the skirt, with inserts, is more than a circle, but only flares out below the hips so it gives a lean look. Use a zipper in the back.
Custom Dance Wear #
One-size pattern. This company sells Princess line dresses and jumpers with a full flare or slight flare. A DM I know told me that the full-flare jumper version has a waist that sits too high on the body. www.customdancewear.com . . .
- Cheerleader patterns.
You can use top-and-skirt versions or dress-like options. Simplicity 3689, Simplicity 4040, McCalls 2849, McCalls 5727 etc. Just browse pattern sites.
- Ice skating patterns.
Lengthen the skirts. Jalie sell beautiful patterns, I particularly like Jalie 2791 and 2913, both very Jean Butler. Kwiksew sell ice skating patterns as well and Im sure other companies do too. Stretch fabrics only! Because they have to be made with lycra fabrics, they may be dangerous for not-stick-skinny dancers ...
ACCESSORIES AND PARTS
Im just giving a few options, you can get patterns for circle skirts anywhere, almost every brand has them.
Custom Dance Wear #
Looks good, sizes XS XL, I think this is TEENS/ADULTS. www.customdancewear.com . . .
Burda 2518 *
-- ADULTS. Rock n Roll. Comes with petticoat. Very simple, with waist band (not elasticated).
Burda 2809 *
-- CHILDREN. Same as 2518, but now for children.
Simplicity 5401 *
-- CHILDREN. Rock n Roll skirt, with waist band. No petticoat. Skirt needs shortening.
Simplicity 5403 *
ADULTS. Rock n Roll skirt, with waist band. No petticoat. Skirt needs shortening.
Simplicity 3836 *
(skirt) -- CHILDREN. Complete 1950s costume, with short-sleeve blouse, petticoat etc. Skirt has a short version as well. I havent tried it, but the skirt is still easy. For the blouse Id say **. Good beginner / first Feis outfit!
Simplicity 3847 *
(skirt) -- ADULTS. Complete 1950s costume, with short-sleeve blouse, petticoat etc. Skirt has a short version as well. I havent tried it, but the skirt is still easy. For the blouse Id say **. Good beginner / first Feis outfit!
McCalls 5681 *
-- ADULTS. Rock n Roll skirt, with waist band. No petticoat. Skirt needs shortening a lot.
Ive only included blouses that are designed for Irish Dance. If a normal shirt-blouse or peter pan collared blouse is needed, these patterns are sold through all the major brands like Simplicity and McCalls etc.
Dance World 1 **
-- CHILDREN, ages 3-12. Pattern for solodresses include pattern for jumper with blouse to go with the jumper. Mandarin collar, blouse buttons in the back. Option of slightly flared sleeves or gathered at the wrist. www.irishdancewear.net
and go to accessories
Custom Dance Wear #
They sell patterns for blouses with mandarin collars, either with basic, slightly flared sleeves or puffed sleeve with elastic wrist. Optional attached bloomers which seem practical to me. www.customdancewear.com . . .
Bloomers/spankies/lollies/whatever you call the cover-up-your-undies-and-protect-your-modesty-thingies you wear under your solo!
Any cheerleader pattern that includes bloomers will work. Also, pajama bottoms are suitable.
Boys accessories Waistcoats etc.
Burda 2622 *
CHILDREN. Waistcoat, cummerbund, tie, bow tie. The waistcoat seems to be a good length
Simplicity 4762 #
-- CHILDREN & ADULTS. Waistcoat (single and double breasted) and tie.
Kwiksew 3662 #
Boys accessories Pants
Jalie 2325 #
ADULTS. Ice skate pants, slim fit, no waist band, with belt loops. This might just be a good pair of pants for Irish Dance!
Jalie 2803 #
CHILDREN & ADULTS. Ice skate pants, slim fit, no waist band, with belt loops. This might just be a good pair of pants for Irish Dance!
PATTERNS FOR ADAPTING OTHER PATTERNS
These are two patterns Ive found being suggested to make the super dropped waist bodices for modern solo dresses. Youll need other patterns as well, these are just tools to help you adjust existing Irish Dance solo dress patterns!
CHILDREN. Dropped, pointed waist. You may want to drop the waist even more, but this pattern will help you on your way
ADULTS. Waist looks dropped enough for a puffball. If my mother makes me a new dress before Ive saved up enough for an Elevation, we will definitely try this one.