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Frequently Asked Questions

On this page we have listed some of our most Frequently Asked Questions...

If you have any questions that you would like answeared please feel free to email us and we'll do our best to add it to this page

Q. Can you give me some tips on how to keep my costume in good condition?
A. First, Don't have unreasonable expectations of your new costume.
Modern costumes are made from Silks, lycras, satins, metallic lames and particularly sequins, which are all luxury fabrics and were never intended to give years of hard wear. Irish dance costumes are no different than any other garment in so far as it will wear out, however the way in which it is treated will have a direct effect on it's life span. It is our experience that no fabric manufacturer will take responsibility for fading satins or dulling lames, so help protect your costume from such things as sunlight, hairspray, perfumes and the occasional mishap, by using carry bags that are as wide as the costume itself. Dancers should refrain from touching or playing with dresses whilst wearing them, nor sit except on a tripod type chair which will not crush the skirt. They should take it off immediately after dancing, and don't put it on until your comp is lining up. You should let your costume air out for a few minutes before carefully putting it back in it's dress bag. Your costume should be treated with the respect with which owning any expensive piece of clothing deserves. Do not wear accessories, which will pull threads and damage your embroidery.Hand wash satin pants in lukewarm water in mild soap flakes, do not use biological powders.
If you do have to dry clean your costume, it is advised that you do this as infrequently as possible as it leads to softening of the skirt and fading of the colours, and in some cases may even damage the fabrics. Point out to your dry cleaner the delicate fabrics and the value of your costume before they clean it.
Q. We have our own design already drawn up can you make our costume, also how much and how long would it take?

A. Yes, We can incorporate your new design within your new costume, and have a 2-3 month completion time on custom one off designs...Price would depend on complexity of design, fabrics used, and finished sizes. If you could let us see the design, with a description of your selection of fabrics to be used and your measurements we could give you a more precise price.

Please be aware that for our part we have no way of verifying that the design you intend to use has been used before. Your Design, like all others, will be created by our artists to your brief and made by us in good faith...

Q. Can I use one of your designs when making my new dance costume?

A. We would not allow you to copy/ use our designs Exactly, However we are happy for you to adapt any of our stock creations.

We can appreciate at times all costume makers/ artists use other designs as inspiration to create new designs, in fact this can be seen throughout all creative mediums and should be seen by the previous artist as the highest form of flattery. We have on some occasions seen Irish dance costumes which have clearly had our designs used as the inspiration to create a newer version. We take this as a compliment and would not attempt to take the matter further...however we can't speak for other artists.

Q. What cape styles can I have with my new PK Costume?
A. At this time the most popular cape styles are, The shoulder to shoulder, or Single strap cape. See below...However we can adapt any style you may wish to use.
Shoulder to shoulder style cape
Single strap sytle cape
Q. How do I order a Paul Keith Costume?
A. FIRST,
Have a look at our Web Site, this will help you get ideas on costume styles, colours, designs and prices. If you see a costume for sale that you are interested in, simply follow the links, or please feel free to contact us at info@paulkeith.co.uk or Telephone / Fax us on +44 (0) 1304 367257 we will be happy to help you further.
SECOND,
If you don't see what your looking for, you can have your own Paul Keith costume created, contact us and book your place in advance. Request an information / order pack which contains all you need to order your new costume, including designs, fabric samples and order / quotation form. Alternatively, make an appointment to come and see us, we can then help you in your selections and complete all paperwork.
THIRD,
Take your time and decide on the options you want in your costume, perhaps your teacher may wish to help give some impute. When you are ready, complete all relevant sections of the form including measurements (get a second opinion on this from a local tailor or someone at class) and return it to us (or call us for an appointment and we will be pleased to do it for you.
FOURTH,
We will give you an estimated cost, and delivery time (usually within 2 to 12 weeks from confirmation of order, depending on the choice of product) and set up an appointment if needed. We will require a deposit of half the total amount as confirmation of your order.
FIFTH,
We will notify you prior to completion of your new costume, at which stage we require the balance in full prior to despatch or upon collection.
Q. How do I measure correctly for my new costume?
A. Follow the guidelines below.

1. Chest / Bust: Measure around the fullest part of the chest / bust.
2. Waist: Measure around the narrowest point, normally just above belly-button level.
3. Back Neck Bone to Waist: The most difficult one to get right! Measure from the knobbly bone at the base of the neck (i.e. the point at which the zipper would stop) straight down along the spine to the waist. Make sure that the dancer does not bend forward, as this will give a long measurement. To identify the waistline, we strongly recommend you use a piece of elastic or string, which will find this point for you.
4. Shoulder Bone to Shoulder Bone across Back: This is similar to 4a, except the measurement is across the to top most point of the shoulder from shoulder bone to shoulder bone.

4a. Shoulder to Shoulder across Back: Measure across the shoulder blades approximately four inches down from the back neckbone, across to where you estimate the outside armhole seams will be.
5. Shoulder to Finished Cuff Length: Measure from the top edge of the shoulder where the sleeve meets the armhole, down the outer arm to the point on the back of the hand where you would like the sleeve to finish. Around 1/3 of the way down the back of the hand
6. Waist to Finished Skirt Length: Measure from the waist to the point above the knee you wish the skirt to finish. This can be upped 4" above the top of the kneecap, however 3" is the average. The skirt should not be so long that it touches the dancer's knee when she points. If you are unsure, err on the short side as hemlines are currently rising. A skirt that is too long is both unattractive to look at and a hinderance to the dancer.
7. Neck/ COLLAR: Measure around the point of the neck where the round neck of a T-shirt collar would lay, This should result in a slightly loose fit measurement & as a guide should be approx the same as your shoulder to shoulder measurement. DO NOT measure half way up the neck itself as this will result in the size being to tight.
8. Front curve: This measurement is normally taken for dancers with a bust/ fuller development. Taken from the side of the side of the neck in line with the shoulder side seam, over the bust development and finishing at the waistline.
9. Collar to Shoulder seam: Measure from the outside edge/ side of the collar to the point where the top of the sleeve would be finished.

Do's and Dont's
Do
1. Do measure over clothing the dancer would normally wear under her costume when dancing.
2. Do give actual body measurements only.
3. Do ensure the dancer is standing properly when you are measuring i.e. that she is relaxed, standing straight, not pulling in, looking down, slouching etc. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU USE A PIECE OF ELASTIC OR STRING TO TIE AROUND THE WAIST TO ACCURATELY MEASURE POINTS 3, 6, AND 8.

Don't

1. Don't measure over regular clothing.
2. Don't allow or add extra for ease or let downs/ outs. We will allow for this.

*** CORRECT MEASUREMENTS ARE OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE! ***
Measuring correctly for your new costume is one of the most important factors in ensuring the finished product has all been worth while. We advise that you have a second opinion when taking sizes.

Having fit numerous dancers over the years, we know when a particular measurement or combination of measurements doesn’t seem right. We will contact you to ask for a re-measure if necessary.

Our costumes and garments are constructed based on measurements YOU provide we are relying on your accuracy, Paul Keith is NOT responsible for incorrect fit if the measurements are not taken correctly! We will NOT refund any portion of the cost of your costume or garment if incorrect measurements are provided to us.
You are probably spending a lot money - we highly recommend having a professional seamstress, fitter, or alterationist take the measurements if necessary. In some cases, we may be able to alter or re-fit a costume or garment that were based on incorrect measurements - note that you will incur additional charges for this service. In other cases, alterations may not be possible, and will require that you purchase a new costume or garment to be constructed from new measurements!
Please use a measuring tape in inches for your measurements.

Our Bespoke range of costumes are one of a kind, and are made to individual customers sizes etc. As you can appreciate for this reason we are unwilling to offer refunds on these items.

Q. Will my new PK costume be a one of a kind?

A. Our Bespoke Costumes are the only dresses we guarantee to be one of a kind... If we offer a one of a kind costume for sale, it will be listed as such.

However, Costumes which incorporate our stock designs may from time to time be reproduced.

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