Straight Dance Suit & Ribbonwork Pattern details the layout, cutting and sewing of the broadcloth leggings, aprons and trailer worn by the Oklahoma Straight Dancer. Also included in the pattern are detailed, illustrated instructions for doing the ribbonwork for this outfit, along with 6 full-size Osage ribbonwork patterns in traditional color combinations.
About Your Straight Dance Suit Pattern
Straight Dancing is a unique style which is easily distinguished from other styles seen at American Indian pow-wows. However, unlike pow-wow styles which derive from a social setting, the originating context of the Straight Dance is the “formal war dance” ceremonials which are still held today. As care has been taken to maintain the traditions, so too has the dance style remained little-changed.
The Straight Dancer moves with the war dance song in a graceful and dignified manner, weaving his way along as he rounds the drum in the center of the arena or dance arbor. This is a conservative dance, without the spins, fancy footwork, flamboyant movements, and acrobatics of the Fancy Dancer. While the Straight Dancer may appear to simply weave and bob gently in time with the music, these conservative movements are somewhat difficult to achieve, as they must be carefully coordinated, remaining in strict time with the song and drum. This graceful style and smooth, fluid motion often gives the impression that the dancer is floating effortlessly, just inches above the dance floor. This is the Straight Dance.
The Straight Dance Suit, or Ribbon Suit, is the foundation of this regalia, consisting of a pair of aprons, a pair of leggings, and a dance trailer. These articles are all decorated with multiple layers of different colored ribbons which are cut, folded and sewn into beautiful geometric designs. This pattern will show you how to cut and fit the suit and make the ribbonwork to complete it. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and will help you create a beautiful and authentic Straight Dance outfit that you will be proud to wear.
Notions & Tools
Sewing thread, tailors chalk, brass or silver sequins, metallic fringe, cloth or ribbon for binding the edges of the leggings. White seed beads in size 11/0 for edgebeading the ribbonwork.
RIBBON: The lengths and widths required will vary based on the number of ribbons used in the pattern, and this can range from 4 to 13. We suggest choosing a ribbonwork pattern and colors before purchasing ribbon. A normal suit will require approximately 4.5 yards of ribbon for each strip used in the design, plus 4 yards extra for binding the bottom of the leggings and the sides of the dance trailer. We suggest buying a little extra for practice and just in case a mistake is made
The Straight Dance Suit should be constructed of a good quality wool broadcloth, or tradecloth. Ideally this has a rainbow (multicolored) selvedge edge ranging from three bands of color to as many as seven. For the ribbonwork, rayon taffeta material or ribbon is preferred because it will hold a crease when folded to create the designs.