Save money by embellishing your own Irish Dance dress

One of the most important aspects of the perfect Irish Dance dress is the sparkle that it brings to the dancefloor. In a competition, you are looking to stand out from the crowd; draw the attention of the judges and keep their eyes fixed upon you.

Embellishing your dress with flatback rhinestones and sew on stones is the best way to do this and the more sparkle the better! Non Hotfix crystals can also be added to wigs, tiaras, hair pieces and shoe buckles to tie in with the main design and bring ultimate shine to the stage.

There are many companies out there who charge high prices for making and stoning an Irish Dance dress. However, it is much more cost effective to purchase a second hand or low cost dress without any rhinestone embellishments, then add them yourself afterwards. Plus, it is a fun project where you can add your own personal touch and be proud to see it dazzle under the stage lights. By using simple methods and the right tools you can create your own masterpiece rather than pay somebody else to do it.

Affordable crystal choices

Choosing the perfect crystals for your dress can be difficult, especially if you’re working on a budget. We recommend using the Zodiac range of crystals which are a high quality Swarovski alternative stone, at a fraction of the price. In the Zodiac range, you will find a fantastic collection of Hotfix and Non Hotfix flatback rhinestones in over 60 different colours and effects. As well as a huge choice of sew on stones and pearls – all ideal for decorating an Irish Dance dress.

How to find the right colours for your design

For your colour scheme you could either use rhinestones that perfectly match the colour of the fabric, and use them to highlight the pattern of the dress. Or, you could choose rhinestones in contrasting colours to make them really stand out. Alternatively, you could decorate the dress in a particular theme such as warm flame colours, or cool ocean colours. We’ve seen designs that were inspired by popular colourways for example peacock, rainbow, animal print or an ombre style light – dark pattern. Here is an example of how Rising Star Designs have used specific colourways to accentuate the pattern in the dress, first in peacock style colours, then in bright rainbow neons:

Don’t worry if you have no idea where to start when it comes to choosing the perfect colour, here are a few useful tips and ideas to try:

  • Look at the Pantone Colour of the Year website – this will tell you which colours are on trend each season of the year and may give you a good starting point.
  • Check out what other people in your industry are doing on social media; fashion & costume designers, dressmakers and other dance disciplines often work with many different colours so take a look and see what inspires you.
  • Take inspiration from your surroundings and interests. Designers often use ideas from nature, the time of year, events in the calendar or travel to create themes and colourways in their work. Seasons are a popular starting point for many people – use pastel and neutral shades in the springtime, bright bold colours in summer, deep warm jewel-tones in Autumn and cool shades of blue, silver and white during the winter. By creating these colourways, you can tell a story or take a journey through your design.

If you want to find the best colour to pair with your Irish dance dress, you could order a colour chart from Crystal Parade and check out the available colours. Our team will be more than happy to offer advice and send you some samples. Or, feel free to send us a sample or picture of the fabric and we will match some colours for you.

Transforming a plain costume

To transform a plain, boring or undecorated dress we recommend using Gem Tac or E6000 glue, a Crystal Katana pick up tool and a selection of Zodiac Flatback Crystals and Zodiac Sew on Stones. Most dresses will have detailing around the waist, neckline and cuffs, or motifs sewn into the fabric to form a pattern. These features are a great place to start when crystallising, simply follow the outline or fill the gaps with rhinestones. Zodiac Pearshape and Zodiac Emerald Cut stones are usually the most popular shape as they are larger and offer a huge amount of sparkle.

Upgrading an old costume

If you buy a second-hand dress to embellish, or you want to bring an old dress back to life, it is easy to replace missing or damaged crystals. We can match crystals that are already on your dress if you want to stick to the same design. Or, you could peel off some of the old rhinestones and replace them with fresh new colours or shapes. Older or worn dresses may have a simpler design, if this is the case you could add a few extra smaller crystals in-between the existing ones, this will create a scatter effect pattern which offers more coverage and reflects multiple rays of light.

Using other types of embellishments, such as pearls, gives the dress a totally different feel. Recently we have seen Cream, Silver and White pearls being used to enhance the neckline, making the design seem more sophisticated.

Another way to jazz up an old dress is by adding little bespoke touches like matching accessories. Matching tiaras and buckles are a common feature of an Irish Dance ensemble, but why not make a crystal brooch using the same colours? Again, this will catch the eye of the judges. See how the wonderful team at Rising Star Designs have created this beautiful dragonfly brooch to compliment the colours of the dress.

Tips & tricks for saving money on your Irish Dance dress

  • Purchase a cost-effect crystal brand such as Zodiac, which offers amazing sparkle, rather than using a well-known brand like Swarovski.
  • Apply fewer crystals to the areas not seen as much for example the back of sleeves and sides of the waist.
  • When gluing rhinestones onto the garment, be sure to use a syringe and precision tip when applying the glue. You only need a small amount of glue for each stone so this method will stop any wastage and also keeps it neat.
  • Although you can stick the larger shapes onto the fabric with glue, it is best to sew them on. This will save on glue, plus you won’t need to worry about the stones falling off in the future.
  • If you decide to use different brands of crystals for budget reasons, apply the better quality stones to the front and top of the dress.
  • It is always cheaper overall to buy wholesale packets of crystals, rather than smaller quantities. If you have some left over, you can make matching accessories or keep the spares in case of replacements needed at a later date.
  • Decide on the correct colour and size before purchasing rhinestones – returning and re-ordering stones will be costly.
  • Purchase all of your embellishments from the same place to save on delivery costs.
Irish dance