Minty fresh costume, part 3: beading the bra

With the impending life events of our first child being born in November, I am in a rush to get as much costuming done as possible. My first reason is that I want a variety of costumes that I can wear in 2016, while I’m not sure what my size or shape will be. That means a lot of circle skirts and wrap tops, bra’s with elastic straps and larger cup size.

The second reason is that my fabric stash is getting out of control. I need to use what I have so I can create a bit of room in my sewing space. This is a common problem for everyone with a hobby. Thinking of a new project, I buy some fabric. Hey, the beads are on sale, I might as well buy a pound or so. That fixer up costume is such a steal, how could I not buy it?! And before I know it, I am squirreling away another box or three in the corner of my dance/sewing room.

The third reason is that I have a pile of unfinished projects that is stuck in limbo. As long as it’s unfinished, I can’t sell it or give it away. But sometimes my taste has changed, I found a suitable replacement for what I had in mind, or my current size don’t correspond with the size of the project. It’s not very motivating to work on a costume that I won’t wear, but I can’t throw it away because I already invested effort, time and money to get to this point.

As I get less mobile with every passing week (the little one is doing great!) I find myself more and more often on the couch, surrounded by my beads and projects, trying to finish costume projects. I decided to get back into the saddle with the minty fresh costume I started last year. I worked on the bra, covered it with lycra and put rope beading around the edges. I cut the skirt and soon found out I made an error and need to recut the skirt. And that’s where I dropped off the wagon. I hopped back on with the idea that I want a light costume for the Ava Fleming hafla in Leuven, at the start of August. The time pressure really helps to get myself moving, ahem, sewing.

I covered the shoulder straps and sewed them to the bra by hand. There are no visible stitches because I hid the stitches between the beading. I the used pins to mark the design area for the beading. Marking your design is a really personal matter: some people like to use fabric markers, others use a couple of loose stitches, there is carbon paper on the market for transferring your design and taylor’s chalk is always an option.

Marking the beaded area with pins
Marking the beaded area with pins

My husband remarked that it looks a bit like a seashell design from a distance. I bought blue and bright green crystals to add a bit of bling combined with Swarovski beads that I’ll use in the beading and in the fringe. I had to dig around in my stash where I found a box of mixed plastic beads in various green tones, and glass seed beads in a light green that matches the green in the fabric.

I first stitched on the bigger beads, to make sure they are sort of evenly spaced randomly throughout the beaded areas. The rest of the area will be filled with the smaller beads to create the effect of chunky clustered beading. This is as far as I got last night.

Bra with large crystals
Bra with large crystals

I plan on finishing the bra this weekend and get started on the skirt. The grand masterplan is that the skirt can be worn with or without beading as the printed fabric has a high impact anyway. For the record, the costume has a stretchy lycra skirt and elastic side straps on the bra. This makes it suitable for wear throughout my pregnancy, and afterwards when my body is still recovering.

I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My costume stash is concentrated in one room, where my husband said I could do whatever I please. He doesn’t know what he’s in for, he hasn’t lived with a costume-a-holic before! If you enjoyed this post and like to kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

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2 thoughts on “Minty fresh costume, part 3: beading the bra

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