Black velvet dress with multi color godets

The back and multi color costume was a refurbish project in 2015. Multi color means that there are a lot of skirt options and I wore this costume with purple, yellow or pink circle skirt. But it would look really awesome with a matching black and multi color skirt! Off I went to the online fabric store, ordering black stretch velvet and chiffon in four bright colors. The fabric arrived, I put it in my closet and waited two years to give the fabric time to mature. I’m kidding, I have more ideas and plans than I have time so that’s why it took me so long to get started.

The pattern

Pattern straight skirt with godets

I choose the easiest way: by starting with a rectangle as a basic skirt and adding slashes for the godets. That worked like a charm! I originally intended to make eight slashes but I ended up with seven. The side where the skirt closes functions as the seventh slash.

My idea was to use two types of fabric for each godet, allowing the skirt to show different colors while dancing. I got that idea from watching a dancer in a Bella costume that had multi colored godets. After cutting quarter circles out of chiffon, I picked the color combinations (green with pink and blue with yellow) and attached the matching quarter circles together.

The job of adding the inserts was faster and easier than I expected. I put the insert on the fabric with the outside parts of the fabric together and start sewing from the top of the slash, down to the bottom. Repeat for the other side, always staring at the top of the slash and sewing towards the hem. Why? because some pieces turned out longer and some shorter. The last godet was added by putting the sides of the skirt together and closing the seam, turning it into a large tube with chiffon inserts.

The top and the bottom

While I was planning on making a skirt, I knew that wanted to cover my belly for this costume. Instead of measuring the skirt from my hips down to the floor, I measured from below the bust line down to the floor so it would go all the way up to my bra. To perfect the fit, I put it on inside out and used pins to indicate where the skirt would need to be tighter (around the waist) or wider (around the hips. I then took the skirt off and sewed along the pins.

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The skirt/dress laid out on the floor

The top has a tunnel of 2 cm wide elastic, plus I added a loop of black elastic that starts from the side below the bust, goes around the neck and then down to the other side. Snaps were sewn on the edge in six places to attach to the bra.

Hemming this skirt was done by putting the skirt on a clothing dry rack, measuring the appropriate length and cutting it while hanging. I added fishing line to the hem afterwards so I knew that it didn’t have to be very exact. Look at that pretty fluffy hemline!

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All the ruffles!

The finished look

This skirt needs to be spinning to see it’s full effect and this is the best shot I have so far. It’s very comfortable and I am happy with the result. My plan is to make a matching top as well, in case I want to go for a more covered look but I am putting those plans on the back burner right now. Maybe wait another two years before I get started on the top 😉

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Spinning around in the studio

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

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Snow queen: the finished costume

Our theatre show in April was absolutely amazing! A lot of love went into creating the performances and it was great to be part of this. We even had our favorite photographer Leoniek who took beautiful pictures of the show.

And then I forgot to write the final blog post to show you what the Snow Queen costume looked like all put together! The past months were a bit busy with me finding my dream job. It took a while to find my way in my new job but it is getting easier. I feel like blogging again. So here we go!

All pictures were taken by Leoniek van der Vliet 🙂

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TLC for your fingercymbals

I have a confession to make. The zills that I bought since 2007 have never been polished before! The elastic has been replaced a couple of times but copper polishing never happened.

Not having weekly classes during the summer it was a good moment to get all my zills out and do a bit of upkeep. I love to hear tops and tricks about how you take care of your finger cymbals as well!

Let’s line ‘m up

Despite putting all my zills out on the table, I still can’t find my Saroyan Grecians. And they are my favorite zills ever. I’ll have to search a bit deeper in the rest of the house 🙁I have a collection of student zills, tourist zills and professional grade zills. You can see a selection in the image below. Missing are my Saroyans two tone and Grecians. The Fat Chance Belly Dance zills in the upper right are also very nice: light, nice sound, good size.

Some zill geekery

If you don’t own zills but you are in the market, I highly recommend Saroyan student zills if you want your zills to be an instrument. If you are not sure if you are into zills, go for a higher priced set of student zills with two slots for inserting elastic. The two slots will make it easier to play your zills compared to one slot zills.

Want to know more about zills? I recommend the BDBA talk about zills on October 10th. Join the BDBA facebook group to attend this meeting with my favorite zill loving people!

If you want to read more about zills, Princess farhana has a nice article on her website. A comprehensive guide for dancers written bij Dawn Davina Brown is available as an eBook through her etsy shop.

Polish

Back to work! I used Brasso copper polish, an old tea towel for polishing and piece of soft fabric to wipe away the residue and make them shine. This took more time and effort than I anticipated but seeing the shiny copper reappear is addictive.

Before polishing, I cut off the elastic. The elastic needed to be replaced anyway. You can also polish zills with the elastic still attached though. Here’s a close up of a zill that is halfway through the process.

The process

  1. Cover the item in polish
  2. Wait ten minutes and let the chemical smelling stuff do its job.
  3. Use elbow grease and rub away the oxidation.
  4. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe the surface and they are back to being shiny again.

Some of the cymbals have extra oxidized spots that I couldn’t clean up completely. My husband came up with the idea to use a powertool for the ones that were very corroded, by attaching a piece of felt. That helped to polish away the last spots.

Elastic

Previouse I used small elastic, about 5-7 mm wide. This time I went with 10-12 mm elastic as I used that width on my Saroyans and I am happy with the added grip and control. The white elastic shows stains from make up and grime, that’s why I chose black elastic this time.

I got the 8-10 mm wide elastic from my local sewing supply shop in the center of Utrecht. They had the regular black elastic and a wide selection of colorful and sparkly elastic on display as well. I couldn’t resist and got the tan sparkle elastic too.

Slid the elastic through both slots, and insert your thumb or middle finger. Measure how tight the elastic should be.

I then tie of the elastic while the zill is still on my hand. While wrestling with the knot the elastic could loosen or tighten. By keeping my finger in place I make sure the tension on the elastic stays the same.

The only thing is that wide elastic makes for wide and bulky knots. I knot with a figure eight knot, as demonstrated here.

Here’s a gratuitous ‘thumbs up’ picture with the tan glitter elastic 😊 Ready for a new seaon of dancing and zilling!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

Free online course: Playlist essentials for belly dancers

Summer is the perfect time to relax, go outside, enjoy the sun… and update my Belly Dance Business Academy classes! In my last post I mentioned my online curse ‘How to find belly dance music online’. But I also have a course on how to create playlists. All the music you need to get you dancing in a heartbeat!

This free course helps you structure and create playlists. Playlists that you can carry with you and use whenever you have a spare moment to practice. Or for an impromptu performance. It contains:

  • The building blocks of a belly dance playlist
  • Music suggestion for each building block
  • Sample of my own basic playlist

When I made this course in 2017 I just started out creating online courses. In the past couple of years I learned a lot. Taking online courses and trying out different learning platforms. I felt it was time to update the course to reflect what I have learned.

Part of the update was creating a new image for the course. Featured here is the floor of my dance studio, one of my favorite hip scarves and my phone and headphones 😉 If you are already subscribed to this course, go take a look and see if you can spot the differences! And if you are not yet familiar with the BDBA, take a look. Enrolling in the BDBA is free and we offer a lot of free courses as well.

What is the Belly Dance Business Academy?

The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a lot of free classes.  Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment required). Choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning. The classes are online and you can start and continue when it suits your schedule. I have a  bio page that tells you more about me as a teacher right here.

What if I don’t like the course?

If you are signed up for the course, you can ask questions about the material that we cover with the comment option. I will answer ASAP. You get lifetime access and you can always go back and review material you already worked through. All the future updates to this course are included as well!

If you want to know more about the course, let me know with a comment or contact me through social media.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

New BDBA course: How to find belly dance music online

Finding belly dance music sounds easy. That’s what google is for, right? But looking for new music, belly dancers need specific songs or styles of music. Plus there are so many platforms that it is easy to get overwhelmed.

During my search for new music, I realized that I am probably not the only one! Finding fresh songs to dance to is something I often discuss with my dance friends. In order to help you find what you are looking for, I put together an online course at the Belly Dance Business Academy.

This course covers:

  • Various streaming resources like Spotify, Youtube and others
  • Apps and websites that offer various types of Middle-Eastern music
  • Tips on where to look and who to follow
  • Playlist suggestions to listen to
  • Album recommendations (with a playlist that you can listen to right away)

If you want to know more, check out the full course description and curriculum here.

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What is the Belly Dance Business Academy?

The Belly Dance Business Academy is an online learning platform that helps dancers all around the world to get better at running their business. Classes and workshops are available in every price range, including a lot of free classes.  Joining the BDBA is easy: go to the website and create an account (no payment required). Choose a class from the many classes and workshops that are available and start learning. The classes are online and you can start and continue when it suits your schedule. I have a  bio page that tells you more about me as a teacher right here.

What if I don’t like the course?

This course comes with a 30 days money back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you get  a refund. No questions asked!

If you are signed up for the course, you can ask questions about the material that we cover with the comment option. I will answer ASAP. You get lifetime access and you can always go back and review material you already worked through. All the future updates to this course are included as well!

If you want to know more about the course, let me know with a comment or contact me through social media.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

Gold bra and belt fixer upper

The amount of performances that I do has dropped dramatically but my love for costumes s still going strong. When I noticed that this bra and belt set was for sale, I couldn’t resist and bought it as a restoration project. With a little bit of love I could turn this costume into something gorgeous.

About this set

This is an Egyptian made set with a belt made of two separate parts plus a bra. The whole set is covered in gold sequins and seed beads and there is some luscious beaded fringe with sequins on both the bra and the belt. This is what it looked like when it arrived. It had a couple of sad looking black sequined appliqués tacked on. plus some strategically placed ‘nipple fringe’ on the bra.

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Deconstructing

The bra and belt base are good quality so I used my seam ripper and removed the black appliqués. They came off quite easy. The fringe was attached to the appliqué with hot glue, much to my dismay. Why? Because hot glue creates a hot mess! It is hard to remove and when it cools it turns into a solid blob. Hard to sew through and hard to remove. I was hoping to reuse the fringe in a different part of the costume. I ended up forcefully pulling the fringe from the appliqué and it worked! The residual glue I can deal with.

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Here they are, I am saving them for now just in case.

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On with the adjustments! I removed all the hooks and eyes as they were a bit rusty and replaced them with new ones. I then added a bit of extra width to the belt by removing an overlap. The beaded fringe was in one long piece so I removed it and restitched it the belt. I came up a couple of inches short, I used beaded fringe from the bra to fill in the gap. It is shorter than the original fringe on the bra but good enough. I might rebead this fringe to match the length in the future.

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And that’s when I I realized that I didn’t have a plan for decorating this set yet! I played around with my beading stash, trying some options. Like adding the appliqués I made with the Sparkly Belly kit. But it didn’t feel quite right and I didn’t have enough to decorate the belt as well.

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I also realized that the bra is probably not as supportive as it should be, due to the foam padding in the bra decaying and turning brittle. I have to open up the bra to have a peek and see if I can fix it. Another option I contemplated was adding bright colored acrylic jewels for a bit of color. I really like this color scheme.

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In short, I am a bit stuck right now with this project. I’m going to put it away and work on other things and get back to this when I have a brainwave on how to decorate this set. It would be fun to create flowers or floral appliqués or something. To be continued!

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

General update

I am an inconsistent blogger at best. Bouts of blogs  appear when I create new costumes and this blog going quiet when I am not putting much time into dancing or costuming. You might have noticed an increase in posts on this recently because I am doing more stuff with dance and I like to share the joy 🙂

Here, there, everywhere

I am participating and reading a lot in Facebook groups about costuming and belly dance. Facebook is where I post pictures of what I am working on practically the moment I am working on something. This blog serves more as an archive, with posts organized around a costume and more lengthy descriptions about the process. It comes in handy when someone has a question about costuming techniques to refer to a blogpost. Every now and then a discussion or question pops up and I frantically search through my blog to find the matching post. Which would be easy, if I wrote all the blogs that I was planning to write and tagged them appropriately. Ahem. I made a couple of changes and updates to this blog to make it easier to find things.

Tutorials

I removed the tutorial pages. I thought about creating youtube videos but that would take up a significant amount of time and energy that I just don’t have. You can get excellent tips, tricks and how to’s on the Sparkly Belly website.

Costume gallery

If you are new or you want to know more about a costume, I have a costume gallery in the navigation bar. In the gallery, I created a separate post for every finished costume with links to the related blog posts. This should make it easier to follow a process from beginning to end.  I finished a lot more costumes than the ones shown in the gallery and I am going through my pictures and adding costumes when I have the time. A ‘new costume’ post can suddenly appear, even though the costume was finished three years ago. Recent additions are the Minty fresh costume and the gold mesh costume.

What is keeping me busy these days

My two girls are growing up so fast! The oldest is almost four and we’re preparing her for going to school in the Fall. The youngest one is ten months old and such a delight. She is in quite a hurry to grow up, trying to imitate her big sister. She’s not sleeping through the night (yet) so energy wise that is taking it’s toll.

I recently switched jobs. I worked in the public sector in Health Care and moved back toward higher education. I am a security officer at a cooperation that provides innovative IT products to education and research facilities.  It’s fun to work with other IT professionals and experts. In order to keep up, I have a whole line of IT related courses that I am working on. Never a dull moment!

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I am three months in on the Smartly EMBA. The first group project involved a lot of FaceTiming and online meeting with my fellow students and we aced it! I am on track and doing an okay average of around 85% on my exams and courses and I am learning a lot about how to run a business and the economy in general.

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Happy faces after a workshop with Iris

I let the cultural centre that I taught classes in for in the past nine years that I would not be coming back to teach belly dance classes. The commute is too much plus I can’t teach two night a week right now. We need the flexibility of me cancelling when one of the kids is ill or we have other activities during a weeknight. My weekly local belly dance classes have been on a summer break and we’re starting again. It’s nice to build a dedicated group of students. I am focusing on my local classes for now, integrating zills as a structured part of my classes. We’re doing fun activities with Sense of Bellydance, for example workshops with a local dancer with a very energetic style. It is inspiring to be in a real live class again.

See you around!

Review: Sparkly Belly Appliqué Kit

Ever wondered if the process of making a belly dance costume could be made faster and easier? Mao from Sparkly Belly had a brilliant idea: create kits that include everything to make beaded appliqués. A needle, thread, beads, rhinestones, the pattern outlined on a felt base and step by step instructions. I received a free kit for reviewing purposes and that is exactly what this post is about 😉

I received the kit in the mail in May. It fits inside a envelope and came all the way from Japan.

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After opening the envelope I found neat package with a color image of the finished product in a plastic bag. The bag contained enough material and instructions to make one large and two small appliqués. I got the paisley set in brown and gold.

The beads are labeled separate with corresponding steps in the instruction. I was all set and ready to go right after unpacking. All I needed was a bit of free time to get started. As you can see, the pattern on the felt is already added.

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Sewing these appliqués is super easy. The beads are high quality: they were all in perfect shape. No peeled paint or chipped rhinestones. I also like the choice of using larger beads for the outline as it speeds up the process. For my own appliqués I usually edge in seed beads, which takes more time. Working on the appliqués during the day when my 3 year old daughter was playing in the same room, the sparkly beads drew her attention. ‘Ohh, shiny!’ she proclaimed, ‘rabbit likes it!’

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I invited her rabbit to try sewing beads and she accepted. So here you go, a picture of a plush rabbit working on a belly dance costume. Costuming is better if it includes cuddly animals 😉

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Despite the meticulous instructions I goofed a bit on one of the appliqué because I just started sewing instead of reading the instructions. As you can see below, the outline of the smaller appliqué on the left looks a bit wonky compared to the one on the right. I also didn’t like the scattering of beads on the left one so I undid some of the beading to redo it. This is also very easy.  The instructions are perfect for complete beginners and if you follow them the finished item will look exactly as the  product image.

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After making the three appliqués I had a couple of beads leftover as you can see in the picture above. I haven’t found a purpose for using them in a costume yet, but they are very beautiful and look great with many different colors and types of costumes. For example I put them on this fixer upper bedlah for a visual and it instantly looks great.

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In conclusion

I loved working with this set. It was fast, easy and fun. Were there things that I would like to have changed? Yes, but they are mostly personal preferences. For example, I prefer a thicker felt base for my appliqués because I like the weight and feel. The felt included in the kit works perfectly and is more flexible due to being thinner.

For my level of expertise, I wouldn’t need all the beads labeled separately, and the instructions could have been less detailed. That’s why this is a great kit for inexperienced costume makers.

My last point is that when I was done with the appliqués and I thought about how to use them in a costume I didn’t have extra beads to make more or complimentary beading. However, the package contains detailed description of the type of beads and the size that were used. If I wanted to create a whole costume I could buy extra beads online.

 

I would highly recommend these kits as they make great gifts, are fun and easy and they come in various shapes and sizes.

Want to try? You can get your beaded appliqué kit here.

 

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram

 

 

Life long learning through online programs

I am addicted to learning. Learning how to dance and learning how to make costumes are among my favorite subjects. With an impressive amount of traditional education, working in Education for over a decade and being a teacher myself, learning is sort of my thing. Before the internet I loved learning belly dance through VHS and dvds. As my time is extremely limited these days, I like to learn in the most efficient way possible. That’s why I love learning online.

Learning belly dance online

With regards to belly dance, I have been all over the internet with regards to online classes. I can recommend the following:

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Check out Sparkly Belly’s costume catalogue for a full overview of available tutorials!

What I wanted to write about though, is that I wanted to learn more about running a business. About how companies work. About finance, accounting. Those are things that I am not good at. And being a belly dance entrepeneur, it sucks that I have so little knowledge of what makes my company tick. I decided to go large and get an MBA. extensive research made me realize that an MBA program at a local university is out of the question for me. With two small kids, a full-time job and a belly dance business, I don’t have enough free time to go back to school. Second, traditional MBA programs are expensive. A traditional MBA costs about as much as 50 custom made Bella costumes. That’s an amount of money that I simply don’t have.  Which brings me to online MBA’s.

Online MBA

26434e2256659f4b082729d1c8a2b3b8.pngAfter comparing several options, like  Harvard Business School — HBX CORe and the iMBA from the University of Illinois  I decided to apply for smart.ly. Due to my work experience I was a candidate for the Executive MBA. After applying I finished the recommended classes, filled out my full pofile, had an interview through Zoom and I got accepted! As this is the Executive program I am paying to follow this course. In return I get to follow classes online, tap into a netweork of Smart.ly alumni and students and there are a couple of neat extra courses for the executive students as well. It also has a strenuous schedule of classes that need to be completed every week. This is good, because I have to focus on finishing courses within the deadlines. I need to stay on track. The whole MBA takes about 1 year and I look forward to getting started!

The reason that I write about it on this blog, is because elearning is getting bigger and bigger. It is valuable to get first hand information about what it is like to follow a course or program in case you want to try it. I also expect that the MBA program will give me inspiration and ideas to improve my belly dance business.

Online learning for you?

I’m going to leave you with on a lighter note. If you haven’t tried elearning yet, here are two super fun places to start taking classes. Both options are comple

tely free!

The Belly Dance Business Academy

There are many, many online classes at the BDBA that you can follow. And a lot of them are free! So get yourself over there and sign up. To get you started, the free courses that I made are:

Playlist Essentials for bellydancers

Costuming during pregnancy

Copy of Kyria's vlog

Google digital learning environment

The nice people at Google headquarters made severl elarning modules that are available for free. Their digital workplace training is accredited and teaches you everything about marketing and promoting. Super handy if you run your own business.

I love to hear about your experiences with online learning. Feel free to reach out to me on facebook or comment in the box below 🙂

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook , follow me on Twitter or find me on Instagram