In the performing arts, dance and theatrical world, one of the first things audiences are drawn to is the costumes. Before the performance has even started, the crowd are already making their first impression based on the look alone. So, it is very importance to make that great first impression with an unforgettable costume. If you’re an Irish dancer, competitor, judge, teacher, dressmaker or dance Mum, you will know the significance of making a competition dress stand out. The dance is not only judged on the routine, but also the design of the Irish dance dress - the more eye catching the better. So bring on the sparkle!

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.

Why are Sew on stones essential for an Irish dance dress?

Adding sew on crystal shapes to a dress is a great way of bringing more sparkle to the stage, they are generally larger gems with multiple facets to catch the light. In the Zodiac sew on stones range there are many more colour and size choices than Preciosa or Swarovski, so you’re sure to find the perfect colour to suit the theme of the design. By embellishing with sew on crystals you will bring the dress to life, making unique patterns within the design. We’re going to take a look at how the talented team at Open Wings use Zodiac sew on crystals to create their fabulous dresses.

Zodiac AB Sew on Shapes – By far, the most popular colour in the Irish dance world is AB, also known as Aurora Borealis. This stunning iridescent stone reflects the light in a rainbow of colours, so looks fabulous under the stage lights. The AB rhinestones work well with any other colour and goes on any background too, so they are a must-have in your embellishing kit! Every sew on crystal shape is available in AB and it is the most commonly used for crystallizing Irish dance dresses and waistcoats.Zodiac Gold Sew on Shapes – Gold sew on stones are also a popular choice for stoning an Irish dance dress. They are perfect for adding sparkle to the flesh tone parts of the fabric and also add a sense of luxury to the overall look. Gold is a great colour to use for the male waistcoat too, giving a not overly feminine look and working well with black and silver. There are lots of different gold shades to choose from including Sunshine, Golden Shadow and Astral Pink, which is a hot pink colour that flashes with gold. Golden Shadow is available in all the sew on shapes including peardrops, emerald cut and square. In the example below, the team have paired the beautiful champagne gold with electric cobalt blue to make it really stand out.Zodiac Peardrops – When it comes to the different shapes on offer, the crystal peardrop, also known as teardrop or pearshape, is the most popular by far. The elegant shape is so classic for Irish dance and fits perfectly into the Celtic design. Many of the dress designers use the peardrop to decorate the swirl motifs or embellish the collar.

The Zodiac peardrops are available in a myriad of colours and coatings, perfectly matching the other shapes and flatback rhinestones. Here we can see how Sam at Open Wings uses contrasting colours to make her design really stand out:However in this striking design, Sam has used gold and all the different shades of green to create a gradient or ombre effect. This technique has really taken off recently, and now with more colours on offer from Zodiac than with Preciosa or Swarovski, you can really get creative with different themes and colour-ways.If you’re interested in the Zodiac sew on stone collection, you can purchase the sample chart here. Or the team at Crystal Parade are more than happy to offer advice on how to choose the right stones for your project.For more inspirational Irish dance tips and ideas, check out these handy guides:

Embellish Your Irish Dance Dress on a Budget

Choosing The Right Rhinestones for Your Irish Dance Dress

How To Rhinestone A Dance Costume

'Take a look at our handy guide to the best crystals for Irish dance.'

Irish dance