3 Versatile and Beautiful Patterns for Worship Garments

Patterns for worship garments
Red overlay adapted from McCalls pattern 4490)

Several years ago a dance ministry leader encouraged me to raise my standards for dance garments, to seek to dress beautifully for God’s glory. My biggest objection was financial. I did not have a budget for a new wardrobe of worship garments.

She encouraged me to seek a seamstress for my team, so I started praying about that. I approached people whom I knew sewed and asked them to consider sewing for the team. Though both were willing, neither was enthusiastic.

Then, one day in worship team practice, a woman new to the team mentioned that she sewed and would love to create tunics for the team. She had a passion for worship dance and a desire to use her talent for sewing to bless the ministry.

I was moved by God’s answer to my prayer, and it confirmed that He was blessing the dance ministry He was calling me to. With this friend, I found several patterns that we used to create dance garments:

For the team, she used a simple tunic pattern that she adapted for each team member. She also used this pattern for the children, using it as a model and creating a simple pattern herself. (Pictured below on

pattern for worship dance tunic
Overlay adapted from Burda Pattern 7354.

the team.)

She created more intricate overlays for my solos, adapting costume overlays. My favorite came from a Medieval gown pattern. We adapted it in several ways, raising the neckline, shortened the length, so that I wouldn’t step on it, and omitting the sleeves. In addition, I had her leave the bottom half of the seams open so that the dress had flaps, which were very effective and made the dress easier to dance in. (Pictured top left.)

pattern for blue worship overlay
Overlay adapted from Simplicity Pattern EA989101.

The other pattern we used for an overlay was also a costume pattern. We also raised the neckline on this pattern.  (See blue and gold overlays.)

Lastly, I found this pattern online for circles skirts: You don’t even need to purchase a pattern, but can simply use the instructions to create the skirt.

Truly, having a skilled seamstress who wants to use her gifts to bless the dance ministry is a gift from God. All of these patterns have been wonderful but also needed to be tweaked to be appropriate for worship dance.

patterns for liturgical dance garments
Overlay adapted from Simplicity Pattern 2231.

What Dance Ministry Leaders Need to Learn from the School Dance Team

dance team lessonsWelcome to part three of this blog series inspired by my local dance team’s stand out performance last weekend. If you haven’t read the first two posts, check them out before diving into this one:
Ten Things Worship Dancers can Learn from the School Dance Team and What I Wish Every Dance Team Member Knew.

As praise dancers, we can learn from the excellence with which these dancers present. As dancers who know Jesus, we have an important message to speak to them. As dance ministry leaders, if we want to reach youth and keep them dancing for Jesus (instead of giving their gifts and their selves away to the world), here are five things we need to heed:

  1. Young people want to dance. There were 250 students in this performance. Clearly there is a need and a desire  for dance leaders and teachers. If you have ever wondered if you are called to reach the youth at your church, take time to pray and listen for that call. There are young people out there who want to dance and are looking for an avenue to develop their gift. Will you help them?
  2. We need to invest in our own training. There are skilled young dancers out there. If we want a voice in their lives, we need to take the art of dance seriously and invest in our own training. This does not  mean we can not speak to them until we can outperform them with our technique. But we need to be growing, learning, and gaining skill. It is our anointing that ultimately will enable us to have an impact on their lives, but having skill gives us credibility as well as something to offer them.
  3. What you are doing matters. These kids are going to use dance for good or for evil. If we have the chance to plant seeds for righteous dancing, it could change the trajectory of their lives as well as all the lives they will impact through dance.
  4. Get boys into the act.  Women bring beauty, passion, gentleness and refined strength to dance. Men bring strength, humor, power. We are, together, made in the image of God. Dance is more complete, more impactful when you have both men and women dancing. I’m speaking to myself before I’m speaking to anyone else. I’m in my comfort zone with women and young girls. They think like I do, and they dance like I do. It’s comfortable for me to reach them. But this year I’m going to make it my goal to learn to dance with men, to learn from them with the intent that I can bring boys into dance.
  5. Give your dancers something awesome to wear. The kids I saw dancing must have had a ball changing from costume to costume. Their costumes were fun, beautiful, playful, sassy, exciting, and sometimes provocative, depending on the dance. Now, our standards are not the world’s standards, and we are going to teach our dancers to cover up. I said more about this in my earlier post. Even so, these kids, especially girls, want to look beautiful and feel special. In my children’s dance curriculum, I have a whole lesson on teaching kids the difference between empty (vain) dancing and full (worshipful) dancing. So I’m not talking about catering to their vanity. I’m talking about meeting their God-given desire to be lovely (for girls). You can choose modest garments that are also fun and flattering. Don’t ask them to dress in something that looks like a potato sack. Lucie Poirier says, in her book Dancing for the Endtime Harvest that we are to dance for “beauty and for glory.” For an excellent resource on praise dance garments, I highly recommend Jocelyn Richard’s e-book Garments of Glory.

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