MY OUTLOOK: Jennifer Blackerby Irish Dance Dress Designer

How long have you been making Irish dance costumes?

I started making them for myself ten years ago and started selling them not long after.

Jennifer Blackerby, Irish Dance Dress DesignerHow long does it typically take to make a dress?

The whole consultation, design and production process takes about three to six weeks. Actual production is usually around a week.

How many dresses do you think you have made?

I think around 200. About 50 of those were made in 2015.

What makes them unique?

A “solo dress” is worn by an Irish dancer who has earned the right to wear it by achieving a high level in competition. Each solo dress is different, there isn’t another dancer in the world with the exact same costume!

What must go into an Irish dance costume?

Each dress is customized with a unique set of designs, garment patterns, embroidery designs, fabrics and colors.

Are there any meanings behind the patterns on the dresses?

Often yes! We sometimes incorporate designs that are special to each dancer. Last fall we made one that was based off the dancer’s grandfather’s tattoo, it had Celtic knots inside flames. 

Do you make any dresses for yourself?

Yes, I typically make myself a