This is the second post in our Sewer Feature series, which aims to highlight great sewing being done in the Irish dance community and to inspire those who may be considering sewing Irish dance costumes for the first time. Watch our blog and social media for new interviews dropping periodically, and share your own experience in the link at the bottom of the page!
Name: Anna Hannum
Where do you live? Indianapolis, Indiana (US)
Tell us about your sewing experience. How long have you been sewing? How did you start? What do you usually sew? My grandma taught me how to do counted cross stitch when I was 5. She must have had the patience of a saint! And I learned to quilt from my mom. So I’ve pretty much been sewing my whole life! When I’m not working on Irish dance costumes I make quilts, pillows, doll clothes, and clothes for myself and my adult daughters.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever sewed? The peacock inspired quilt I made for our guest bed. (Photo below)
How did you/your family get involved with Irish dance?
My girls watched a video tape of Riverdance in 2nd grade and were hooked!
What pattern did you use for the dresses you’re sharing?
3rd Edition Solo Dress
What was your favorite part of the process?
My favorite part was the challenge. Even with a vast expanse of sewing knowledge and having altered many, many Irish dancing dresses, I can honestly say that making a solo dress from scratch is the hardest thing I’ve ever made.
What was the most challenging part for you?
For me the biggest challenge is figuring out how to get from a design on paper to a finished product that looks the way I want it to. This is extra challenging as I don’t have an embroidery machine and need to come up with clever work arounds. Also, I’m completely self taught when it comes to tailoring and dress construction, so sometimes I feel like I’m inventing processes as I go along.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I enjoy researching historic Celtic costumes and dress. I also talk with the client to see what they want. I take their personality as well as body size and proportions into consideration. And I watch what is being produced by the major solo dress design houses to see what is on trend.
What would you tell sewers thinking of making a costume for the first time?
Do your research. This is not a project to be taken on lightly. Plan on investing a lot of blood, sweat, and tears! But the rewards are worth it!
You can see more of Anna’s work at Anna Hannum Creations on Instagram.
Interested in being featured? We’d love to hear from you whether you are a first-timer or a seasoned sewer! See details and submit your story in the form below. Chosen profiles will receive a 20% OFF coupon to use on our website.