With everything going on in my life, it took me seven months to get started with blogging in 2018. Wow! I totally didn’t see that one coming. The good news is that this post is about something we all need at some time in our live: a bra strap extension. For the days when you need a bit more room to breath. For that gorgeous second hand costume that you bought that you want to fit to your body. For pulling out a costume bra that you made twelve years ago and decided would be nice to wear for a duet.
The last reason is why I did the extension: I was dancing in a student recital of my friend Roos in July. I did a duet version of a pop choreography that we did in class a while back, where I explored some new combinations and techniques. We were all set to go except that I didn’t know what to wear. I currently am a bigger size so I needed to do some alterations.
Remember the red tribal fusion costume I made in 2006? I took the bra and decided to add some stuff for it and combine it with a chiffon skirt and top for a different look. All materials were already in my fabric stash and I scheduled a couple of nights to fix the bra.
Gather all materials
Here’s the bra as I started out. The cups are big enough but I don’t have enough room in the ribcage strap. My plan was to add an extension of about 5″/12,5 cm and an extra kuchi drape to the bottom of the bra. The bra is covered in bright tomatoe red lycra. I didn’t have any scraps left but I did find another woven synthetic tpe of fabric that was a close match to the bra base. Lastly I used a kuchi belt that was in my tribal costuming bag to add a drape.
Remove the old hook and eye and velcro closure
The old closures weren’t going to work so they had to go! I went to work with my seam ripper. It’s important to take care during this stage, to prevent holes or damage to the underlying fabric. You can see where a hook was located right between the velcro and the other hook.
Create an extension from cotton fabric
Using a woven unbleached cotton fabric I made he base for the extension. By folding the fabric over a couple of times, I created about the same thickness as the bra straps. Using a base is important to add strength to the strap. I added the extension piece by sewing it to the inside of the original strap. My intention was to make this a non reversible fix, making the extension as muh part of the costume as possible.
This is what it looked like from the outside. Note how the base is slightly more narrow compared to the Original strap. This is to allow room for the fabric that will cover the extension piece.
Adding the red fabric to the bra
I cut a piece of the fabric off and pinned it to the bra strap. Mking sure to overlap with the Original strap on the outside. After pinning it into place, I stitched all around the edges with a straight stitch. The bra strap woesn’t stretch as it is compeltely built up of woven cotton fabric as a base.
This is what it looks like from the outside. I am rather pleased with myself for how neat it turned out and for finding fabric that matches the original bra.
Adding a lining
Well, who knew that it would take me over a decade to finally line this baby? After fixing the strap I figured she deserved a nice lining to look all nice and finished. I added a lining while watching the lastest episodes of ‘The Hundred’ on Netflix. It made me think of new and creative ways to create post apocalyptic belly dance costumes 😉 You can see that the Original bra was made of pink foam.
Adding the drape
By tacking the kuchi belt to the bra I basically added an extra belly drape. I decided to not take the belt apart as I could always remove it and reuse it for a different costume if I wanted to. I like how the big kuchi in the center adds extra emphasis to the center kuchi that was already there.
I wish I could show you a picture of what we looked like during the show but I haven’t received them yet. The bra is realy comfortable though and I had a great time performing with my duet partner.
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 or follow me on Twitter. I you want to ask me something or comment, use the box below, or let me know through Facebook.