Hooked on Needles

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irish Step Dancing Dress Embroidery: How-to Package

The Irish Step Dancing group that my daughter danced with is Anne O'Connell Boucher's Irish American Step Dancers who practice regularly at St. Leo's Parish auditorium in Leominster, Massachusetts. Anne's dancers do not compete, so their dresses are not what you will find at an Irish Feis or Competition or at a Celtic Dance Shop. They dance for the love of dancing, to share the Irish tradition, and to entertain all the different groups of people for whom they perform every year. The dresses that Anne's dancers wear are all handmade by moms or grandmas or aunts or friends and the embroidery is mostly done by hand by the same dedicated people.

This technique that I developed for myself over the many years that I embroidered dresses is something that many of the moms have asked me about. That is why I decided to put it together here for anyone to use. Hopefully it will be helpful to you in achieving the same results with your embroidery.

Now that I have posted information on all the stages of my method of embroidering an Irish Step Dancing dress, I can wrap it all up into a neat package so that anyone else who is interested in creating such a dress can see how it's done. Here are the steps:

Tracing the design and preparing the fabric for embroidery is covered HERE.

Preparing the stranded embroidery floss for stitching is shown in THIS VIDEO. This is a very important step and should not be skipped if you want your stitches to turn out looking their best.

Threading the needle is shown HERE. Of course if all else fails, HERE's a great tool you can use!

How to embroider the chain stitch is shown HERE.

If you would like to see some of the results of using this method to embroider on velvet, here are a few links showing finished dresses and details of the designs:

Brooke's dress
Bridget's dress
Elizabeth's dress
Katie L's dress
Katie K's dress

If you have any questions about any step in this process, or anything else you find on this site, please feel free to leave a comment for me. Comments are moderated so I see them before they get posted to the site. If you do not want your comment posted, just let me know and it will remain private.

Or you can email me at HookedOnNeedles (at) gmail (dot) com.

Happy Stitching!

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  • Just went back and looked at all the dresses....WOW! They are all stunning!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 19, 2014 at 9:47 AM  

  • Do you know anyone who is making the basic dress for this program? The woman I used in the past is in semi retirement.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At February 14, 2014 at 7:47 PM  

  • Hello Anonymous! I do not know who the other moms are getting to make their dresses if they do not sew. You might try asking other moms or some of the older girls to see if they can recommend someone. I no longer hire out my sewing services, but I would imagine there must be someone who does since not all the moms sew. Good luck finding someone!


    By Blogger Mary Grace McNamara, At February 14, 2014 at 9:12 PM  

  • Hi Mary,
    I just stumbled across your blog when looking for instruction on embroidering velvet and I cant see the pictures! :(
    The written instructions are still largely understandable but I would love to see some of your embroidery if you're planning to re-host the images?
    All the best,

    By Blogger ChrisDownBelow, At September 8, 2018 at 6:03 PM  

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