How to add a bra strap extension to a belly dance bra

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.img_8429

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Review of 2017

At the end of the year I like to look back on all the things that happened. By looking back I am reminded of all the wonderful dancers who read and commented on this blog. Thank you! If you are doing a ‘Look back on 2017’ post on your blog or website, let me know in the comments or on Facebook and I will add a link to your post. It’s nice to have a collective idea of all the things that happened in the belly dance community world wide.

33 blog posts were published on this blog in 2017

Not as many as I wanted. I aim for once a week, so I am 19 blog posts short. Considering all the other things that happened in 2017 I still feel accomplished. There’s a total of 133 blog posts in this blog, including this post and that’s a pretty good score. Next year I want to get back into regular blogging because I love writing and it is fun to write about my costuming adventures

I started as a teacher at the BDBA and I published three courses

This was a steep learning curve, but also a very good one to learn how to make e-classes and create my own. I am proud to be a member of the Belly Dance Business Academy and to create classes for belly dancers that go beyond teaching belly dance. In case you’re wondering, my classes are:

Playlist Essentials for Bellydancers (this one is free!)

Sources of music inspiration

Belly Dance Practice Dice

Kyria playlist essentials

Video and vlogging

In 2017 I came up with new ways to teach and reach other dancers. I overcame my cold feet and started working with video. First by doing a couple of short vlogs (they’re in Dutch so they didn’t make it on this blog). And I made a video to promote my playlist essentials course. You can see what I look like and hear me talk! Scary and exciting stuff! I have so many ideas for other short video’s but the time it takes to create a good video and edit it is more than I have right now. To be continued…

We opened a studio this year

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In September 2016 our old garage was demolished and rebuild into a small dance studio. In order to keep regular life going, we lived with my mother in law for a month. A great opportunity to get to know her better and for our daughter to spend time with her Nonna. We lived in the dance studio for a month while the builders were working on our livingroom. And after that… we moved back into our beautiful house and the dance studio was open for business. So many of my ‘first’ experience this year are related to the studio.

First time of hiring another teacher to work for me

First time of coaching students who want to become professional dancers

First time of organizing summer workshops

First time of starting belly dance classes in De Meern

First time of promoting the studio at  local events

It’s been a crazy ride! What I love most about the studio is that I have my own practice space right outside my back door. I can record a class, work on choreography or work-out whenever I want. I want to do that more often in 2018.

The group photoshoot with Sense of Bellydance

For the first time in our ten years of dancing together we booked a photoshoot with the fabulous Leoniek van Vliet, dressed up in our best and had our picture taken. I am blessed to be a part of our dance troupe for so many years. We share the good times and the bad times. We also asked a local percussionist to teach us how to drum and we’re diligently working on playing the darbuka and zills. On March the 24th we’ll throw our 10 year anniversary hafla and with the percussionists help we’ll rock the stage and play our very first drum solo.

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I switched my day job

My former job had a long commute and in March I switched to a new job closer to home. A different sector, new coworkers, so many new things to learn! At times I felt lonely and I missed my old job but I also met my current coworkers and found new friendship and exciting challenges.

My family is healthy and happy

Our little girl celebrated her second birthday this year adn despite colds and other illnesses, we are all in good  health. Our daughter likes to ‘help’ around the house and likes to put pins into fabric when I’m working on a  costume. The dog is also more relaxed now that the dust has settled and she has her own living room where she can curl up and sleep. My husband has more time for his hobbies now that the remoddeling is done and he is enjoying his time outdoors.

Costumes I finished this year

 

I had to dig through old posts to see the stuff that I did this year. I used Mao’s Swirly belt course to create the purple and gold belly dance dress. Here’s the image of the photoshoot of this dress. I liked learning this technique and creating a new costume. Looking back I also noticed that I did a lot of repair work, but not much costume making. That’s something I like to create more costumes in 2018.

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Looking back I am happy and grateful for everything that happened in 2017. Through all this, there were many happy moments and laughs with my husband. I am grateful that this funny, musical, sweet and loving guy wants to spend his life with me. I am writing it at the end of this blogpost on purpose, because he reads my blogs from front to back. Thank you honey!

I wish you all a very happy 2018, filled with love, laughter and dance. See you next year!

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.

 

Glue: a costumers nightmare or favorite item?

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.

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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.

E6000

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.

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Gemtac

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.

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Fray check

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.

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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.

 

Purple and gold dress, part 2

This blog is about creating the gold belt and appliquées that spice up the purple velvet dress I made in the previous costuming post.  If you want to know more about the techniques that I used, check out this blog where I review the Swirly Belt Course from Sparkly Belly. All the information about how to make this type of belt is in the course.

This blog is mostly about the process of how I made my belt and appliquées. Let’s get started! For the record, I write this blog after I finished the costume and did the photoshoot. No worries, I got it done in time!

Making a plan

When I start on a costume I usually make a lot of sketches and research fabric options but this was a bit on the fly. Instead I bought the course including the pattern book from Sparkly Belly. Any time that I could save would be most welcome. After printing the pattern book , I adjusted the belt design to make it more unique and add a bit to the sides or center so it would fit around my hips.

The holographic gold print lycra was already in my stash. I used it three years ago to cut hipscarfs for my beginners recital. Quick tip if you want to dress up your troupe or your students (or yourself) on a budget: get metallic printed lycra and cut out triangles to use as hip scarves. Works great on stage!

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In addition to the fabric, I needed decoration. I found left over rhinestone chain in my stash from the Pink Turkish costume I made five years ago. Now seemed a good time to use it. I was a bit worried that I wouldn’t have enough but the project was done before I reached the end of the rhinestone chain.

I wanted an accent color to create a contrast against the gold blackground and sparkly AB rhinestones.  I bought glue-on rhinestones in Topaz, a bit of a brownish gold color. Having contrast is very important to create more depth and intricacy in the decoration. I bough 5 gross (5×144) of SS6 rhinestones and 1 gross of the bigger SS20 rhinestones. That wasn’t enough.  I like my costumes to be heavily beaded so I purchased an extra gross of each to finish the job.

 

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Close-up off beading on the Pink Turkish costume

 

I had a couple of smaller teardrop shaped rhinestone sew on stones in my stash and ordered some more. The big teardrop stones were also in my stash. I wanted to use them for the pink Turkish costume but never did. My recurring themes are planning on doing things and then not doing them, and buying too many rhinestones for my own good. Things could be worse.

The E600 glue was still in my sewing stash. I bought the glue for other craft projects *cough* making a mirror costume *cough* that didn’t happen…yet. Despite my hesitation to use glue on a belly dance costume I decided to go for it and see how it works. After all, it seems to work great for several big name designers and all those Russian dancers who make and sell costumes. It’s worth giving a try.

Cutting out the design

Admittedly I was in a time crunch that was really, really tight. I only had a couple of nights to finish this! It took more time than I anticipated but I still got it finished in the end. The first step was attaching the gold lycra to the belt base. That part went smoothly. Cutting the design out of the base material was a bit more daunting. The most important lesson that I learned is that scalpel knives are really sharp. It took me four hours to get to the point in the picture below. I also cut myself twice and had to stop because the cuts needed to heal.

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Adding the rhinestones

I was teaching a class the next night so I started with slightly healed fingers and the knowledge that I ddn’t have to cut out things with a scalpel knife for a while. Let the decorating begin! I started by sewing the rhinestone chain along the ouside of the curls. This would give the pattern some more definition.

Here’s a close up of the belt. You can see the stitches where I attached the rhinestones . The Topaz stones are glued on with E6000. As you can see, I did a botch job if you look close to the edges of the fabric. I cleaned it up a bit by cutting away excess fabric for a cleaner look. Suprisingly for the overall look of the costume this doesn’t matter. It looked stunning before I fixed the rough edges and stunning after.

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I spent about five hours on adding the Topaz rhinestones to the belt by hand. It was a great time to ponder over some questions in my head. I also noticed that the fumes of the glue were unpleasant. Some googling revealed that E6000 fumes are highly  toxic and should not be messed with. Read about the effects on a Burlesque costume maker on this page.

I am glad that I was costuming at night when our daughter was asleep. It would have been way worse if she had been in the room while I was using the glue. A note of caution for all costumers out there: E6000 works great for glueing rhinestones, but please, please take care of your health first. Wear protective gear while working with it, or choose an alternative that doesn’t contain tetrachloroethylene.

This is my work station. The small cup is there to hold the rhinestons. I covered the table with news papers to protect the surface. I used a sharp wooden stick to get the glue from the tube onto the costume in small dots. The glue isn’t runny, it’s sticky and almost gum like while it dries. I used the cotton tip to pick up a single rhinestone and put it on top of the blob of glue. Rinse, repeat. You can see the sparkle of the AB stones very well in all images.

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In the image below you can also see one of the smaller swirls that I made to decorate the bra. When I took this picture I was still adding rhinestones to the design, so the end result contains even more rhinestones.img_7662-1

And then I was done! It was a bit of an anit- climax as I didn’t have time to line so I considered it done when I glued the last stone on and sewed the hook and eyes in place so I could wear the belt. It turned out very pretty. I laid the loose swirls out on the bra and stitched them in place. For a sumptious Rococo look  I let a couple of curls go over the edge of the bra to create a playful design. Here’s a close up of the bra with the swirls sewn on. As you can see, I ran out of rhinestones so the swirls on the bra are slightly less decorated. I’ll fix it once the next shipment of rhinestones comes in.

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And this is what the costume looks like on the day of the photoshoot. This is a behind the scenes image taken with my cell phone. Excuse the poor quality, better images will follow once the photographer has time to process all the images from the shoot. I made matching opera gloves as accesoires to go with the dress. The tutorial for the gloves are on this page. The purple rhinestone necklace and clip on earrings were a souvenir from my visit to Miami in 2009.

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It is comfortable, pretty and suits our theme of wearing purple and gold. Yay! I still have to work on this some more. I want to add extra rhinestones to the top and I have to line the belt and some of the appliquées. Maybe adding some ruffles to the lower part of the dress, as it could use a bit of drama on the bottom. Or maybe some sequins for extra sparkle. I am not sure yet. I happen to have a roll of holographic gold sequins in my stash that could work though.

What do you think?  More ruffles? Leave it as it is? or do you have other ideas to make the dress even prettier? Let me know!

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.

Swirly belt course review

This is one of the first reviews on this blog and we’re starting with one that I’m very excited about. The Swirly Belt Course from Sparkly Belly! To be clear, I purchased this premium course full price in February 2017. I have worked with Mao Murakami, the owner of Sparkly Belly, during the Belly Dance Affirmation Cards in 2016. I have not received payment to write this review and was not requested to do so. If you haven’t heard of this course, Mao made an introduction video to show you.

Why didn’t I try it sooner?

Due to remodelling and other perils I didn’t make much costumes in 2017. It took all my efforts to keep my ‘regular’ life going and costuming is something that is pushed to the fringes when I’m in a tight spot. With our dance group ‘Sense of Bellydance’ we booked a photoshoot and as a group we decided that we should all wear purple with gold accents. Despite a closet full of costumes, that wasn’t something I had  lying around! Also, due to life, having a baby and gaining some pounds I didn’t feel comfortable in wearing a bra- belt combination. It was time to create a dress. What better way to dress up the dress than a swirly belt and matching appliqués? It was half november and I needed to get started soon.

After buying the course

After making the payment, the course was digitally deliverded to me in the Sparkly Belly Learning environment. By logging into Sparkly Belly, I can find all my courses and go through the content. The course is split up into several parts. All the instructions are available in the form of a movie and in written text. It is clearly laid out and easy to acccess.

Resources

While I was working on the purple dress I started searching for the supplies Mao recommends. The resources are mentioned on a seperate page, and are split into resources needed for each belt design. It took me some time and effort to find all of the materials as I am in the EU and we use different words and translations for some items.  Looking back, I spent a fair amount on tools. In the course, we cut out the design with a scalpel knife and I bought a knife and self healing cutting mat to make that part easier.

The course is very clear in what materials are needed to create the belt. A lot of people have asked me what type of material is used. I will not disclose this in this blog post as it is all clearly stated in the course. The basic course is 39 usd and I got the premium package of 49 USD. The premium package includes a pattern book.

Working with the course

It was easy to follow the instructions and create my own belt and appliqués. I was suprised how simple some steps were, and how incredible photogeneric the end result is. Seriously, it is ridiculous. Let me show you a close up of the bra I decorated. That’s a visually stunning costume! As this was the first try, I have a couple of learning points for myself.

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I should read and follow instructions more carefully

She warned me in the course to check the printing settings, but I was in a hurry and I didn’t check it. I ended up printing the workbook  slightly smaller (about 10%). As a result, the whole design shrunk a tiny bit and I had to compensate by adding extra swirls. I like the way it came out and I like to customize the belt a bit, but it would have been easier if I read more careful and printed it in the right size.

Scalpel knifes are really, really sharp

I cut myself a couple of times during the first try, but I got wiser and a bit more cautious and it didn’t happen again.

This projects is about crafting, not about sewing

Good news for everyone who has never sewn before: you don’t have to sew for this course! You could get make this with cutting and gluing and a couple of stitches. No sewing machine or specific sewing skills required. As a costume maker, I prefer sewing because I want my costumes to stand up to wear and tear.

 

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Cutting out the belt

 

There’s no fringe

Obviously, the course doesn’t include beaded fringe so there isn’t any beaded fringe on this type of costume. I also don’t see how I could add beaded fringe, as the weight of the fringe would possibly damage the belt if I attached it. I love beaded fringe! I also love the look of the swirly belt and the applicquées. I have to live with the knowledge that I can have one or the other, and not both at the same time.

It’s a delicate belt design

The swirly shapes are lovely, so delicate and feminine. At some points, the design is connected by only narrow bits of material to keep it all together. It makes me a bit worried about the durability of the belt. The multiple layers offer some extra support and that’s a good thing, but when I travel my costumes are folded, sometimes crushed or piled on top of each other. I’m not sure how the belt will hold up.

It comes out gorgeous

With this technique, the design will look gorgeous. even if you absolutely have no skills in costuming, I dare to state that your swirly belt will look amazing. Make a mistake with cutting? No worries. A bit clumsy with glue? It dries up clear! Don’t know how to do the lining? You can adjust while adding!

It’s one of the best courses for belly dancers as you can create a beautiful belt with very little skills. This is definitly a lot of bang for your bucks.

Overall

It’s a comprehensive course, suitable for anyone who wants to create a beautiful belt. It requires no previous experience.  In fact, I think you’re better off not having sewing experience as I sometimes missed sewing things.

It might be good to know that it isn’t necesarily a very fast way of making a belt. Each step needs a couple of hours to complete. I think it took me about 14 hours to create a belt and the appliquées. That is still fast compared to making a belt using the more established costuming techniques.

The course has a clear set up, the video and text explain things very well and I loved having the workbook so I had a design to start with. I’d give it a 5 start rating on a scale of one to five.

If you want to try it for yourself, you can read the description of the course and sign up on Sparkly Belly.

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.

 

 

 

Purple and gold dress – Part 1

Adding gussets to create a wider skirt

My last official photoshoot is over three years ago. It’s about time to get some new promo pictures! Our Sense of Bellydance group booked a shoot next Saturday and we decided to go with individual costumes, all of us in purple with gold accents.

Of the many costumes I own, I am lacking a purple costume! With only a couple of weeks to go, I headed out to the Utrecht fabric market and bought a lovely midnight purple stretch velvet. As I have enough stuff lying around in my stash, this project would be a great opportunity to do some stash busting.

In February this year I purchased the Sparkly Belly Swirly Belt tutorial. This would be perfect for trying out some new techniques! With the swirly belt tutorial I would make gold appliqués and a belt to add some bling. Today I’m writing about creating the dress and I’ll write another blog post about making the belt and swirls.

How to make a belly dance dress: start with a bra base

I got a couple of questions when I posted pictures on Facebook about how I made a belly dance dress with integrated bra. I took a commercial pattern for a dress (I prefer a princess seam dress, like this). Add some extra fabric to the top of the front pattern pieces so there’s enough fabric to work with. I drafted a similar pattern a couple of years ago so I took it out of my pattern storage. I had a Dina bra base in my stash as well. The Dina bra base is made of compressed foam. They are light weight, sturdy and are available in cup sizes B-C-D. As the cups are connected in the middle, the bra band size is a bit limited. They are easy to sew through by hand or machine and you can find them on eBay for about 13 USD.

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Dina bra base

How did I do it?

I’m a trial and error kind of person and the process went a bit like this:

  1. Put on dina bra base
  2. Put on dress, hike it up untill the desired height, covering the bra. Pin fabric of dress to bra base
  3. Take dress and bra off, use pins to get the fabric evenly over the bra base. Pin with again, then hand baste into place. I decided to baste the top and sides of the bra but I could have just basted the upper edge of the bra and leave it at that.

 

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The dress with the bra base pinned to it

 

I got a zipper for the middle back of the bra, but I didn’t like how it was visible in the back so I am taking it out. In order to get the fabric over the bra base I took of the flimsy straps that came with the bra. I made new straps by covering waistband elastic in the same fabric as the dress. By adding new straps covered in fabric, I tried the dress on and tweaked a bit with the princess seams to adjust the fit. The bra was hand stichted to the dress.

Picture of bra pinned to dress

 

Adding gussets to create a wider skirt
Adding gussets to create a wider skirt

The pattern of the dress promised a flared, mermaid like skirt. My idea of a flared skirt was a little bit more dramatic compared to the ‘everyday wear’ pattern. I kept the bottom part of the seams open and added gussets, triangular shaped pieces of fabric. In the center back I added a quarter circle to get a bit of a draped effect.

Time management

As I was a bit short on time, I had to sew during the day as well. Our daughter found the whole process quite fasinating and wanted to help, so I let her ‘pin’ the fabric.img_7644

This was a family effort. My mum helped me with pinning the hem for me. I got up on the dining table and she pinned along the edge.

 

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Thanks mom!

I cut off excess fabric and added a seam. After a week of late night sewing, the dress was done! For reference, It took me about 10 hours to make this dress. I saved time because I didn’t need to draft a pattern. I used a Dina bra base so no time spent on converting a regular bra to a belly dance bra, and there is no decoration on the dress. I didn’t take a picture of the dress while wearing it, so you’ll have to wait for the next blog post for a full body shot.

Next week I’ll write about the swirly belt tutorial and creating appliqués. See you there!

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.

 

 

Goodbye, dressform!

I am a big fan of my dressmakers mannequin. It really helps to put a costume on the mannequin to see how it fits. But it is time to say goodbye. I can’t believe I wrote that.

In the past year, I made some costumes but honestly my productivity is dwindling. Being a mom is amazing in many ways, and it also means I have less time to sew and a different body to boot. And that different body doesn’t fit into the size range of my dressmakers mannequin!

It appears that the two of us will have to part. But before I do, I’m writing a blog post in honor of my mannequin who helped me so many times with making gorgeous costumes.

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One of my first belly dance costumes on my dressmakers mannequin

 

What to look for in a dressmakers mannequin?

  1. The option of changing the size of the mannequin independently is very useful. Most women don’t fit the ‘standard’ sizing: hips are wider or narrower, the back is longer or shorter. Having a mannequin that can be changed to your size makes it easier to see if clothes work with your body type, and to adjust patterns to your own sizes.
  2. Make sure you can put pins in it. For example, there are inflatable mannequins for sale, meant for displaying clothes. Another form is the plastif dressform also used for displaying clothes. While these are great for display purpose, the sizes are probably not similar to your size and you can’t pin clothes or items on the mannequin. A dressmakers mannequin is covered in fabrci so you can pin and tuck to your hearts Delight.
  3. It should be able to carry  a heavy garment. There is no maximum load described for my mannequin, but belly dance costumes can be very heavy. With layaers of fabric or beaded fringe, the mannequin has to hold all that weight! When you are on the lookout to buy one, keep this in mind. In my experience the cheaper ones have a harder time with heavier items.

Making your own

If you want to make your own ‘body double’dressform, there are many ways to do so. Read this article for 9 ways of makingyour own true to form dressform.

I am a little bit sad to let mymannequin go because she represents all the pretty costumes and clothes that I made with her help. I still have the memories though 🙂 Plus, she’s going to a very talented and creative friend of a friend who will make many more beautiful clothes.

In the mean time, I’ll go back to making items without a dressmakers doll. It’s the end of an era, not the end of the world. and if I get my mojo back and starts sewing for myself, I’ll have an excuse to go mannequin shopping for a new one!

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.

 

 

Online course: Playlist Essentials for Belly Dancers

In a previous post I mentioned that I am a teacher at the Belly Dance Business Academy (BDBA). Last month I published my first course! It’s a free online course called Playlist Essentials for Bellydancers and this is what we do in the course:

What goes on behind the scenes of publishing an e-course

It’s been a steep learning curve in the last months, creating an online course and learning how to talk on video. I have so many exciting classes and courses that I want to share with you! In order to become a better teacher online I had to overcome my fear of talking on video. Turns out that sitting in front of a camera on a tripod is not my cup of tea and I embraced the selfiestick instead.

Creating the course meant breaking the material down in smaller steps and learning how to use the e-learning platform. The platform is easy to use but the switch from teaching face to face towards online teaching is challenging. For now, the course material is written text and pictures but I like to do more with video in the future. All things in due time.

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Lots of behind the scene preperation at home

 

About the course

The course is for anyone who wants to learn more about digital music management. By creating playlists of your music, you’ll have all the music you need in one place! We start by going through the basics like what type of music management apps there are, so you’ll be ready to get started onthe device of your choice. In this course’I’ll walk you through the various activities of bellydancers. Students, teachers and performers all have different needs, so your playlist wil lbe unique! We’re matching it top types of songs that you can include in your playlist. I will give suggestions and I’ll share my own Playlist Essentials with you.

Join me!

I invite you to join me on this course.It is free, and you can enroll by creating an account at the BDBA and click on the course.  As this is the first course that I’ve created, I love to get feedback! You can comment on the course, send me a PM on Facebook or comment below this blogpost. I hope to see you there!

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 contact me through Facebook!

Buy or sell your costumes on Facebook

Q: How many costumes does a bellydancer need?

A: Always one more!

Despite a closet full of belly dance costumes, I am always looking for a new costume. After wearing a costume for a couple of performances it’s time to rotate! As I am not making a six figure salary as a bellydancer (if you do, please let me know how you do it!)a new costume means selling a current costume. And where do we belly dancers go to sell our beloved creations of chiffon and rhinestones?

You can try selling costumes on eBay and Etsy but those site work on commission which means less money going into your pocket.  Wouldn’t it be much easier to reach out to other belly dancers and offer them your costumes? They probably have a bunch of questions about sizing and the current state of the costume that you can easily answer. And that’s how many of the ‘costume for sale’ Facebook groups came into existence.

 

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One of my recent finds: a second hand cost less costume

 

For buyers
First of all, buyer beware: it is very easy to create fake profiles or scam someone on social media. But it is also easy to build a real profile and connect it to your business website, and show that you really are an honest seller/buyer. Ask as many questions as you need to get a good idea of what you’re buying: what is the size (in cm or inches), is there damage on the costume, can it be cleaned/washed, has it been worn much? Does the costume have a strong odeur (smoke, incense, perfume, sweat, pets)?

Contact the seller through PM to discuss the price and exchange address. Preferable keep payment information off Facebook, and choose a payment method that you’re comfortable with. And all you have to do after that, is wait next to the mailbox!

For sellers

Take pictures of your item: close up , as a whole, when worn and laid out flat. Take as many measurements as you can, including cup size, size of bra band, waist band, widest point at the hips, skirt length. Create an album with all the images and information and get ready to share that album.

 

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Like this costume? It’s for sale!

 

Go to the various groups where you can sell your costume and follow the guidelines of the group for posting a costume for sale. Make sure you mention your prefered contact method (if you never check your PM’s, ask potential buyers to email you). Now wait and be patient for people to ask you questions about your costumes. If you receive no response, wait at least 24 hours before bumping your listing. You can bump your post to the top by responding to your own message: it will show up at the top of the Facebook group again when someone replies.

Where can I find these Facebook groups?

I am so glad you asked! Here’s a list of groups.

New &used belly dance costumes for sale – NO SPAM

**the Facebook bellydance swap meet**

Belly dance costume SWAP

Costume belly dance (new & used)

Belly dance costume bazar (new and used)

Belly dance SALE group

Now go forth and find yourself a new costume!

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.