Minty fresh costume in action

I started blogging about the Minty Fresh costume in January 2014. An updated drawing of the design was added in April 2015. I sort of finished the costume and wore it for a performance in August 2015 when I was halfway through my pregnancy and it has been quiet ever since. But that doesn’t mean nothing happened!

This year I am really big on drum solo’s, probably because I’m working on a lot of dance technique things and drum solo’s are great for using and practising isolations. The end of the year recital from Roos Belinfante came up and I wanted to wear something nice and summery. Then I remembered the minty fresh costume, that luckily has elastic side straps on the bra and an elastic waist band. It saves a lot of time as it needs less adjusting.

In the Original design, I planned on adding beading all around the skirt. Well, that didn’t happen. I’m adding it to my to-do list for this summer, it would be nice to completely finish this costume before moving on to the next project. For extra movement I added beaded swags by buying two long necklaces and pinning them to the skirt. Yes, it is that easy.

Look at my swagger!


 The drum solo went over well I think. It’s a an improvisation based on a choreography so some things are planned and some things are not. Overall I liked how relaxed the afternoon was and I immensly enjoyed all the performances by both students and my dance friends. Here’s the video of the drum solo so you can see the costume in action. Have a great summer and see you soon!

 https://youtu.be/d83I1iZTnPo

I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. If you enjoyed this post and 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.

 

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Gold mesh costume – 3: the bra is done

The metal mesh material is easy to work with and covering the bra was quick compared to painstakingly beading a bra with beads and sequins. Due to lack of time it took me a while to cover the whole bra none the less. It does look glorious now and reminds me of a mix between Red Sonja’s chainmail bikini and something from a Mad Max movie.
The inside of the cup is marked with the bra size by the seller of the bra base. The Western alphabet is completely different from Arabic script and that’s probably why the c is written backwards 😄.
For me a costume isn’t finished without lining. I had a couple of gold satin scraps in my stash from a group costuming project in 2014. Despite my continuing efforts of reducing my fabric stash new stuff gets added because I hate throwing out leftover fabric pieces. In this case I was lucky that the scraps were big enough to line the bra. 
All it needs is a hook on the shoulder strap and the bra is ready for wear. Huzzah! My next step is deconstructing the skirt. I’m not sure yet if I want to tackle the skirt first or the belt. Creating a seperate belt seemed like a good idea but I can’t setttle on a desig n yet. The gold mesh is unsuitable for overlapping belt pieces so a traditional non stretch belt base is out of the question. However, a stretch belt base wouldn’t look as well in the original shape of the costume.
Setting a deadline really helps me to focus and finish projects and I am setting the deadline for this costume on a bellydance party in May. My agenda is pretty full the next couple of months with performances and hafla’s and my maternity leave is almost over. I look forward to teaching bellydance again in a couple of weeks and see what life is like without the company of my newborn 24/7.

Gold mesh costume – part 2

This is where I get to take everything apart! In order to reuse the mesh, I am deconstructing the bra and removing the beads and pieces of mesh. If the hook and eye closures are in good shape, I will reuse those too. The bra base doesn’t work for me so that one will be thrown out. The bra is edges in gold seed beads that are in good shape so I’ll reuse those too.

This is what I got to work with for the bra.

gold mesh bra 01

I’ve covered the Dina bra base with fabric. For the construction I chose to add side straps that are non-stretch so I can add mesh to the sides too. In addition to the non-stretch part, I’m adding elastic covered in fabric to the ends of the straps so the finished bra will be a bit more comfortable to wear and easy to resize while I get back into shape. I used the gold beads to edge the bra with a bit of beading, adding an extra bit of sparkle.

gold mesh bra 04

I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. I’ve been sewing and crafting stuff for over twenty years, for theaters, dance costumes, historic costumes and regular clothes.. If you enjoyed this post and like to kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydanceon Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

 

 

Gold Mesh costume refurbishment – part 1

Back in the days when Facebook wasn’t as popular as it is now, bellydancers would gather on online forums to talk about the latest bellydance cd, what the dancers in Cairo were up to nowadays en to buy and sell costumes. My favorite hang-out was Bhuz. I bought a worn out Eman Zaki costume back in 2010 from a fellow dancer with the intention of refurbishing it. I was fascinated by the use of gold mesh cut into tiny squares and sewn to a lycra skirt and bra. The skirt has a really pretty jagged hemline that flares out nicely when dancing.

I found a picture or Randa Kamel wearing this style of costume. Judging by the cup size of my costume, my fixer upper was never worn by her.

Randa Kamel wearing a gold Eman Zaki costume
Randa Kamel wearing the exact same design costume
There are several  reason why it needed to be refurbished. The main reason being ‘fabric rot’, the holographic gold print of the base fabric started wearing off. The costume can still be worn but it doesn’t look as sparkly and pretty as it should. Another issue was that the mesh was directly sewn to the skirt: I’d prefer to turn it into a seperate belt and skirt so it would be more versatile. Probably not a v-shapef belt, I was thinking more of a lycra belr with jagged edges.

gold mesh skirt before

Whenthe costume arrived, I noticed that the bra is on the small side and looks a bit out of proportion for ribcage. This wad new for me as my ribcage is on the small side. I might as well use a bigger bra base to fix it. The bra was kind of dingy, to be expected of a well worn costume. I prefer replacing the lining completely in second hand costumes when they are heavily used, because the sweat is hard to get out of a heavily beaded costume.

In this case I’ll create a new bra, belt and skirt so it will be a brand new costume when it’s finished.gold mesh bra before

That’s when I put it into my stash and worked on other things, like organizing a bellydance event, creating the pink Turkish costume and making the pink modern Egyptian costume. 2010 was a very productive year.

In 2013, I bought a Dina bra base and searched for suitable fabric online but came up empty handed. I was wrapped up getting better at my day job, dating my future husband (hi sweety!), buying a house and moving. 2013 was also a very productive year.

In the summer of 2015, I found a nice holographic print gold lycra on the local fabric market and I used it for making fast hipscarves for a student recital.  I did of course buy way more of the lycra, thinking I could use it for tops, skirts, or other projects.

Student group in circle skirts and tie tops
Student group in circle skirts and tie tops. The hipscarves are triangle pieces of lycra.
Fast forward to november 2015, with me watching my due date come and go and looking for something to keep me busy. I dug up the costume, the bra base and the lycra and plan on working on it in the next couple of months. You can expect to see the (probably slow) progress of this costume in the next blog post 🙂

I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. I’ve been sewing and crafting stuff for over twenty years, for theaters, dance costumes, historic costumes and regular clothes. My most recent succesful diy project is our daughter, born in November 2015. If you enjoyed this post and 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 and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Moon Goddess part 3: First outing of the costume

Bellydance Moon goddess performance

Completing the Moon Goddess costume was on my list, I had everything planned, but somehow the time space continuum warped and I ended up finishing the costume the night before the scheduled performance. Pressed for time, I took a couple of short cuts. I didn’t make the intended arm decoration, wearing crystal bracelets instead. I knew that the backdrop was black and with my dark hair and no crown I clipped a white flower in my hair. The matching white half circle veil was also made the day before the performance.

In total, I used the following materials for this costume:

  • 10 meters of white chiffon – 20 euro
  • one Dina bra form – 15 euro
  • 2 yards of crystal rhinestone trim – 32 euro
  • 1 yard of 20 cm/8″ long beaded fringe – 25 euro
  • 5 teardrop crystal flatback rhinestones – 5 euro
  • 0.5 yard of white felt – 3 euro
  • white thread – 2 euro
  • hook and eye closure – from stash (I bought a gross a couple of years ago)

All this for the grand total of 102 euro/ 110 usd.

I worked app. 35 hours on the costume, if I paid myself 10 bucks per hour the total cost for this costume is 400 euro/460 USD.

My friend Roos rented a small stage in a cultural center for her recital, with extra lights and sound equipment hired for the day. It was a warm day, but so much fun to meet up with her students and all my dance friends. The moon goddess performance is part of a story about mermaids living under the sea. Though they enjoy their tales, the moonlight draws them out of the water where they discover what it’s like to have legs. The moon in the background was placed there to support the story.

Bellydance Moon goddess performance
Bellydance Moon goddess performance
Bellydance Moon Goddess performance, back view
Bellydance Moon Goddess performance, back view

I’ll have to do some more work on this costume to finish it. For starters the arm decoration, lining the bra and belt with satin in a different color (white smudges too easily). The drape that is intended to fall over the shoulder is flapping forward. Not the effect I intended, but it works. During this performance I am four months pregnant (18 weeks).

I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. I enjoy blogging and am expecting my first baby in November 2015. If you enjoyed this post and like to 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 and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Moon Goddess part 2: the bra

Moon goddess bra close-up

For the Minty Fresh costume I used a Dina bra base and as I usually order in bulk I still had a couple of bra bases lying around. They are made of a molded foam that is sturdy, yet easy to work with as I can sew right through it with my machine or by hand. These bases were bought on eBay, from seller ‘Egypttradediscount‘. I recommend this seller, and the bra bases. Be careful with custom made costumes though, some of the images on his listing look like they are made by Russian dancers. The bra base comes covered in white tricot, the same material white t-shirts are made off. It has elastic straps to the side and two non-stretch straps tacked on as shoulder straps. as I was in a hurry and my costume is white, I didn’t add extra fabric to cover the bra. I washed the bra in the washing machine before decorating as it had a bit of a funky smell.  At a 40 degree celcius cycle, it came out perfect.

Dina belllydance bra base
Dina belllydance bra base

 

The ruching of chiffon on the bra was harder than the ruching on the bra. The cups are domed shape and I was going for a sort of curved effect with the ruching creating ore curved lines. I wanted it to turn out neater. This will do though. Due to my pregnancy I have a bigger cup size. I used to ba a 70C, am currently a 75D and I expect that Mother Nature has some more surprises for me in the next months. It is amazing that I am able to fill a bra cup without adding lots of padding. I used a cup size D for this costume and I have a bit of room to grow. Not much room though, so I’d say the D cup is close to EU size 75D or 80D.

I added the prebeaded rhinestone trim to the bottom of the bra and decided to leave one strap bare. A left over scrap became the drape that covers one of the shoulder straps, then cascades down in folds. I left the side straps uncovered, thinking that I might have to make adjustments to the costume in the next couple of months due to size changes. Because of the elastic, the bra is very accomodating of changes in ribcage size and it is very comfortable. Unfortunately elastic has a limited life span and I will need to check the costume every time before wear to make sure it still has enough life left to stay put. In my experience, this type of bra strap has a life span between 3-6 years.

 

Moon Goddess bra finished
Moon Goddess bra finished

 

I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. With my dog and husband I live in the suburbs. When I am not dancing or working on something to do with bellydance I am probably sleeping.  If you enjoyed this post and like to 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 and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

 

 

Moon Goddess part 1: the skirt and belt

Moongoddess belt with fringe

The Moon Goddess costume is finished and had it’s first on stage outing! I’ve been busy with teaching the last class before the Summer holiday, the student recital of my own students (who did an awesome job) and the student recital of my dance friend roos Belinfante. So much to do, so little time!

The skirt

You might have seen the Moon Goddess skirt  in passing when I posted about circle skirts. I used close-ups of the side seams for my post about finishing straight seams. And I ended up edging the hem with fishing wire, so it’s very  swooshy. But I didn’t post a picture of the finished skirt yet, so here you go.

Circle skirt with finished hem
Moon Goddess skirt! Swoosh!

While working on this skirt it occured to me that if you never worked with chiffon before, it might be handy to know:

  1. Chiffon is semi-transparant. Either make a two layer skirt to decrease the amount of exposure, layer the skirt on top of another skirt/pants or wear leggings underneath;
  2. It is a slippery fabric. Make sure to pin well with sharp pins;
  3. Because blunt pins might cause a thread to be pulled, creating pulls in your skirt. And that would be a shame after all the hard work you’re putting in.

The skirt took up a couple of hours but I always wanted a white circle skirt. It’s so dreamy, I can imagine so many different combinations I could make with my dance wardrobe.

The belt

I think I left off with the sketch in my post outlining the project. After the black and multi-color costume I still had some felt left over and I used it to create the belt base. I made the belt base into two pieces and I choose to add a bit of extra length on both pieces. During pregnancy it is considered normal and a woman is expected to gain 24-36 pounds. Since I am halfway there, being slightly over four months, I am already seeing the changes in my body. Making this costume bigger seemed like a smart plan, as I have performances planned up until half September when I’m seven months along.

The belt base was covered by scraps of chiffon. I first pinned the folds down, then stitched it into place with small stitches. I am not completley satisfied with the effect but it’s not bad for the first time of me trying this technique. Wedding dress makers have to practice a long time to get ruching and pleating down to an art (and it shows). I like to look at weddingdresses for inspiration on pleating and ruching as it is very inspiring to see the beautiful things the weddingdress industry makes.

This is the first time that I used pre-beaded rhinestone trim and I am positive about the experience. Easy to cut and stitch to the fabric, though I spend some extra time on finishing the edges of the trim.

moon goddess belt with rhinestones
Moon goddess belt with rhinestones

To make sure that the belt would fit, I pinned the two parts together and try it on. It fit! WIth a bit of extra overlap to spare, phew. I took out the prebeaded fringe and cut a couple of larger pieces for the lower part of the belt (8 cm wide/ 3″wide). There was some loss of strands but since it was such great quality, it held up well. I then continued cutting smaller pieces to add as accents inbetween the bigger pieces. I ended up with this arrangement.

Moongoddess belt with fringe
Moongoddess belt with fringe

To hide the attachement of the fringe to the belt, I sewed a big teardropped rhinestone on top. They were left over from adding rhinestones to my vintage gold Bella. I felt pretty good about the progress I was making and to my suprise, the one piece of fringe was enough for the whole costume. I’ll keep the other pieces for new projects, I have a c ouple of things in mind that would work. Next time, more about the bra 🙂

I am  a bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. I enjoy blogging and I have big plans for the future with regards to writing and publishing books and such. I am currently four and a half months pregnant with my first child, which is very exciting. I plan on dancing through most of my pregnancy, we’ll see how that works out.  If you enjoyed this post and like to 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 and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Minty fresh costume part 2: the skirt

Costume sketch for blue/green costume

A couple of months ago I started working on a blue/green costume. I covered a Dina bra base, rope beaded the edges and covered the strap. Then life happened: I was the producer/teacher/stage manager/sound engineer for the ‘Arabian Nights’ shows in December, that certainly was a lot of fun. During Christmas I had a personal matter that asked for all of my attention and after New Year I needed to work on promotimg and teaching my weekly classes.

All very valid reasons why I didn’t continue working on the minty fresh costume. What also didn’t help is that I cut into one of the backpanels of the skirt by accident and I don’t have more of the blue fabric. The skirt design needed to be completely redone to make up for that mistake.

Below is the drawing of my original design plu

Costume sketch for blue/green costume
Costume sketch for the minty fresh costume. A close up of the bra is in the upper left corner

s the updated design. As you can see, there’s a bit of an hourglass line going on in the skirt that should work wonders.

I find it hard to continue and finish costume projects that are put on hold for some time. A good example is the green velvet costume that I started in 2007 and finished in 2011. An even better example is my to-do box that contains costumes that I will probably never finish. But! Finishing a project is very important for my state of mind. Unfinished projects are like skelletons in my closet, they are in the back of my head taking up space that I rather use for new projects.

with that in mind, I cut the new patter pieces and made the matching skirt. Sure, it isn’t a complete costume yet, but all it needs is some chunky beading and a bit of fringe to take it to the next level. And with that in mind, I am putting it back into the to-do box.

I dare you to post about one of your unfinnished products on your blog or facebook. Tag me and we can act as an ‘unfinished project support team’ for each other.

 

Black multi-color costume part 1: new belt base

Covering the belt base with fabric

As I examined the original vintage costume it soon was clear to me that I needed a new bra and belt base. Sometimes a costume can be rebuild on the original base but the fabric was already falling apart. A good piece of advice; if you are repairing or fixing a vintage costume, always make sure that the original material is in good shape. No use in rebeading fringe on  a bra that is already disintegrating. However, I didn’t have the time to create a bra and belt base completely by hand. Instead I opted for using my sewing machine for most of the work.

Only attempt such a feat after going through this checklist. Do you…

  1. have a lot of experience with manouvring and sewing thick layers with your machine;
  2. don’t mind breaking a couple of needles during the process (some sewing machines can’t handle breaking needles and need to be recallibrated, and then you’ll have no choice but hand sew everything by hand for the next week or so);
  3. have the right material to work with (if your layers are inpenetrable, don’t even try. You will kill your sewing machine).

I made sure that I checked all three of the requirements and off I went. I bought fairly thick felt on the fabric market and used it to make a new belt base and two arm bands. Simply draw your design on top of the felt (this is why I used white felt) and cut. To even the design, I folded the base with the sides together and adjusted the shape by cutting away excess. I added a couple of scallops to the upper edge of the belt and imitated the scallops in the armbands. I kept an extra bit on one side of the front belt part to leave room for overlap with the closure.

Belt base made from felt
Belt base made from felt

I covered the belt base with black lycra that I had lying around. Why lycra? Because I can stretch it so it smoothly covers the scalloped edges without wrinkles in the fabric. I put my belt base on top of the lycra with the good side of the fabric facing down. I pinned a couple of pins smack in the middle to make sure that the fabric is not shifting when I am sewing the edges. Then, cutting around the belt base with roughly 1″/2,5 cm seam allowance, I cut the lycra. This is an easy step, always to remember to err on the cautious side and cut of more fabric when you have complicated shapes or angles to cover. The extra fabric might come in handy.

Belt base pinned to fabric
Belt base pinned to fabric

Once cut, I started tucking and pinning the lycra over the scallops. For the middle front pointed edge of the belt, I first folded the fabric upwards in a horizontal line, then folded the fabric from the sides inwards. I made small cuts when needed so the fabric was easier to smoothen over the edges.

Covering the belt base with fabric
Covering the belt base with fabric

The end result:

Finished belt base
Finished belt base

Stay tuned for part 2!