**Update!**  The Rounded Collar is now available as an add-on to the solo dress pattern.  Buy it here!   Here you’ll find drafting instructions for a mandarin color that works on a round neckline, rather than a pointed one, like what is included in the pattern.  This has become a bit of a fad lately, and I’ve had a couple people ask how to do it. You will need: Bodice mock-up (or real bodice pieces) #4 Collar pattern piece Paper (or sturdy fabric) A pen Tape   1.  Measure the neckline of the front bodice from center-front to the shoulder seam.  For the size I amRead More →

Here are two ways of putting the collar on.   The first method is from the Second Edition pattern instructions.  It is the easiest way, especially if you are shortening or shaping the collar (like I have below with the scalloped edge).  The downside to this method is that you do get some seam allowance tickling the dancers’ neck, but if you are planning to put a lining in your dress, it’s no big deal.   The second method is from the First Edition pattern instructions.  I replaced it because it is a bit more complicated.  However, it creates a nice clean seam by pushingRead More →

Many people have asked recently how to modify the solo dress pattern to make a single-panel skirt.  [Edit:  The second edition pattern includes a single-panel skirt, so no adaptation is needed.  This post is for customers using the first edition.]  This style of skirt is becoming increasingly popular, perhaps because of it’s sleek silhouette or because of the opportunity to design large sections of skirt embroidery without having to break it up into different panels.   Pattern Modification: 1.  Find your Skirt Block pieces.  These pieces represent the shape of the skirt without the pleats and gathers of the Skirt Views I-VII, so they areRead More →

I mention briefly in the intro to the pattern instructions about adding a lining and here’s how to do it.  You can use any thin material; I like cotton because of its breathability.  If you did a mock-up of your dress (and you should), you can even use the same pieces, providing you did not have to alter them beyond use. I usually do the neck and sleeves after the bodice is built, as they are a bit easier before the skirt and zipper are added, but you can also put the whole thing in at the end. 1.  Preparing your pieces To start, check that yourRead More →

A lot of people ask what kind of dress stiffener they should use when making a solo dress and it’s a fair question when there are so many products on the market.  There used to be a nice vilene product out there made specifically for Irish dance, but I can’t find anyone who still sells it.  I’ve been trying many others in the meantime and here are my reviews of several different stiffeners.  They are listed in order of stiffness, starting with the least stiff.   Pellon 926 Price: $4.29/yard Width: 20 inches Thickness: 1 mm Distributor: Joann Fabrics (US) (and most fabric/craft stores) This is the softest stabilizer,Read More →