Most of my posts are about sewing, but I recently got a couple of questions about using glue for your costume items. When I started making bellydance costumes, glue was considered a neccesary evil that should be avoided at all cost. A bellydance costume was supposed to be used for years. It should be able to withstand the horrors of costume transportation, sweating, many restaurant sets and the dancer should be able to repair the costume to keep it in tip top shape. From that viewpoint, sewing is the smartest way to go. A sequin that falls off can be sewed on again, while a stone that has been glued leaves an unsightly spot of glue behind. Scraping it off and reglueing is difficult and tedious work. Also, most (craft) glue is not suitable for the abuse that a bellydance costume has to suffer through, resulting in a lot of frustration when you wake up in the morning after your performance and evaluate the amount of work needed for repairs.
How did glue come into fashion?
It appears that the fashion has changed: we have a lot more access to media. The lifespan of a costume is way shorter: after all, we don’t want to be filmed or photographed in the same costume too often. The style and fashion has changed as well. Belly dance costumes are more like ballroom costumes, and themethods of creating those costumes include glueing rhinestones to fabric.
Bellydance costuming is all about what works for you. Situations change from person to person, from era to era. Many dancers are used to rotating costumes every one or two years now. Durability is not as important as it used to be. Dancers that create their own costumes like to use glued on sequins, rhinestones and fabric because it is a fast way to create visually stunning costumes for stage performances. The downside of using glue, besides the already mentione problems when it comes to repair, is that up close an audience member might notice. Nothing destroys the magic of a glamourous bellydancer faster then a big glob of glue around your sparkly rhinestones. That being said, I just made my first belly dance costume where I glued the rhinestones on.
For accesoires like headbands, hair flowers and shoes, glue are the best way to go. I also highly recommend that if you are using glue in your costume, use the right type of glue for the project.
Hot glue gun
Don’t use a hot glue gun. Unless you are wearing soemthing only once and it is a quick craft project and you are in need of a halloween costume and the fairies stole your sewing equipment and even the stapler doesn’t work. Even then I’d rather try my luck with anything, anything else.
Hot glue dries up intoa hard blob hat you can’t sew through. It is also messy to apply and it dries up milky white. In short, people will see that you’ve used glue and it doesn’t look pretty or glamorous.
I had some beautiful results with E6000, a strong adhesive that is not available in stores in Europe. I buy it online: it can be used to glue fabric and stones and holds really well. The glue stays flexible after drying, allowing the costume to remain comfortable.
The big caveat: it’s highly toxic! In fact. the Dutch stores are not allowed to carry it in their inventory because it violates the safety guidelines of the EU. It can cause some very serious side effect and make you very ill. Here’s a page where you can read the personal story of a Burlesque costumer who found out the hard way.
Made to glue gems onto fabric and other surfaces, this glue is fabulous for glueing rhinestones on your costume. It’s not as strong as E6000 so gemstones might fall off your costume at some point. That’s where you have to do a bit of upkeep on your costume and add the stones that lost every now and then.
This comes in handy stuff if you want to keep fabric from fraying or have small bits of fabric you want to glue together. I use it for finishing edges when I can’t use a seam.
In conclusion, those are some options for using glue for a belly dance costume. My personal experience is that each has it merits and can be used. I find that glueing rhinestones on is faster compared to the hotfix method. I own a hotfix but it takes a couple of seconds per rhinestone to attach the stones. It is easier and faster to use a bit of glue and put the rhinestone on top.
Do you use glue for your costumes? What glue do you prefer and why?
I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! 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 or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.