Welsh dance costume

Welsh dance groups have made a great effort to reproduce traditional Welsh costume, based on the old components (hat, shawl, gown or bedgown and check apron). The fabrics are unlikely to be quite as heavy as the originals (to make them easier to dance in, and wash); and the colours are often plainer and brighter. Stockings, which are now sometimes prominent, were not normally visible under earlier, longer skirts. Clogs with wooden soles and leather uppers sometimes form part of ensemble.

Blake, Lois, Welsh Folk Dance (1948)
Mrs Lois Blake was the first president of the Welsh Folk Dance Society. The booklet includes a section on team dress, European National dress and a very brief paragraph on Welsh dress (p. 18) The second edition, entitled Welsh Folk Dance and Costume, published in 1954, included a chapter on [Welsh] Folk Costume and refers to Lady Llanover’s postcard prints. (Another edition: Llangollen, The Gwynn Pub. Co. 1965). This may well have been written to provide a much needed background for those hoping to compete in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod which was first held in 1947.

Huw Robert’s book, Pais a Becon, Gŵn stwff a Het silc, Traditional Welsh costume in nineteenth-century Anglesey. (2007) was the result of research for the making authentic costumes for dance groups including Ffidl Ffadl and Dawnswyr Bro Cefni.

The Llangollen dancers wear a variety of local costumes, some with a ‘becwn fawr’ and some with a cotton ‘becwn bach’. One of their members, Sheila Archer Jones, has carried out some useful research in the district and her findings are in our Newsletter 1955. Their leader, Mrs. Pierce, made the hats herself, by skinning men’s old top hats and using the silk or beaver pelt to cover a fresh frame of cork sheeting. [found on a  web site, no longer current.]