How to make an Irish Dancing dress with princess seams and kick pleats.

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Picture of How to make an Irish Dancing dress with princess seams and kick pleats.

I've been performing in an Irish Dance troupe for a few years and wanted my own twirly dress with sparkles and pleats.  This is the solo dress I made for myself.  The designs are based on the Turoe Stone in County Galway, Ireland.  The dress can be seen in performance here:

This is one of the first garments I made so there are lots of fixed mistakes, but it's ok, you can't see them from the audience.  I dismantled a long skirt and a sheath dress for the body of the dress, keeping the neckline and zipper.  I used a pattern to get the seams right over the bust.  I wear this with a long sleeved shirt underneath.

I didn't make a dress diary, so instead I'm posting instructions and a model, which I hope will help you understand the construction. 

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Step 1: Make a mock-up.

Picture of Make a mock-up.
I started from a pattern and adjusted the width of the skirt, knowing that I wanted something that would swing out when I twirled.  I also shortened it.  You have to get the length right from the beginning.  It's too hard to fix once the lining and pleats are attached.  I learned the hard way that the side hem has to be curved because of the hip, though the front can be straight.   Making a mock up helps you see how to mesh the pattern with the existing dress and how high and wide the pleats should be.  The pleats start high to allow for big kicks.

Step 2: Appliques

Picture of Appliques
When you have the dress cut, layout the applique designs.  Draw them on parchment paper and label them with the right color.  Appliques sit better on fabric if they have the same grainline, so mark that on the template.  Perforate them using a large needle on the sewing machine.
awesome my friend will love this she loves irish dancing and u have to get the dresses custum made and they are so expensive cuz the dimonds on them great job! (:
dipity (author) 3 years ago
I wish I had done this with a video, so you could see the dress in action.