About Your Jingle Dress Pattern
The Jingle Dress came into popularity during the 1920's among the Ojibwa Nation of the Great Lakes are, in both the U.S. and Canada. It's popularity continued until the 1950's when it fell out of use for approximately 30 years, although a few women continued to wear the dress despite the fact that it was somewhat "out of style"during this time. Since 1980 it has grown in popularity and has now spread across the continent. It can be seen at powwows from Canada To Oklahoma and from Washington to Florida, being popular among many different tribes today.
Our pattern presents a contemporary style Jingle Dress alont with several ideas for variations in construction and trim, as no two jingle dresses are ever made alike. Along with this great increase in popularity, the style of the dress and placement of the jingles as well as the style of dancing, has changed. Now, the fancy steps and body movements similar to those of the Fancy Shawl dancer have come into vogue among Jingle Dress dancers. These jingles produce a distinct and pleasant ringing sound as they strike each other with the movement of the dancer.
The outfit is accented with beaded leggings and moccasins, a belt (beaded, concho, or tack), a choker, and/or a scarf with a scarf slide, a bag or purse, a feather wing or tail fan, braid or hair ties, and occasionally a small pair of cuffs.
The dance style is described quite accurately in the powwow program from Red Earth 89: "This is an example of a very old dance which held a very spiritual meaning, through that meaning is somewhat clouded by time. The jingle dress is not only very colorful but provides much of the musical accompaniment for the dance. Few dances can match the sheer brilliance of costume and sound of the jingle dress dance. Dance steps and body movements which are not in time to the music are eaily detected because of the music of the dress itself. Pride and grace is demanded in the attitude of the dancer, a certain reverence should be exhibited.
Notions & Tools
Needles, thread, hooks & eyes, snaps, ribbon, rick-rack, chainette fringe, bias tape for attaching the jingles (1/2" wide double fold), seam binding, lining material if a light weight fabric is used for the dress, felt or ribbon work appliques, beaded appliques, beaded rosettes, etc. NOTE: We used twelve 3-yard packages of bias tape for tying 288 jingles plus strips for the jingle rows.
NOTE: The length of the finished dress will depend on the height of the person wearing it. Sizes indicated here are for and average height of 5' to 5'4". A taller person may require slightly more fabric, so check your pattern before purchasing your fabric.
Basic Dress Material: A polyester cotton broadcloth blend in a light to medium weight is the type of material most often used for the Jingle Dress. Occasionally a satin taffeta material is used and some other fabrics are occasionally seen, such as velvet. If the fabric is lightweight, a lining should be used so that it is sturdy enough to hold the jingles.
Solid colors are the most popular but a small overall print or a jacquard fabric (design of same color woven into the fabric, such as red on red) is sometimes used. A combination of colors can be used if they complement or accent one another. The dress is almost alwas accented with ribbon, rick-rack, sequins, and/or other trimmings. Sometimes felt ribbonwork appliques are added for extra fancy decoration.
Jingles: The primary decoration on the dress is, of course, the large tin jingles made from snuff can lids, with anywhere from 250 to 500 being required. This number depends on the size and design style of each individual dress.