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.

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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.

 

 

 

Gold metal mesh costume is done!

Behind the scenes I’ve been working on the gold metal mesh costume. I just didn’t have the time to take pictures or write about it, on account of being to busy with end of the year recitals, family time, having camp fires in our back yard and playing real life scrabble with my husband as a Dutch version of date night. The scrabble thing is really confusing as the rules are completely different compared to Wordfeud. Now that I confessed that I am one of the three people in the world that still play Wordfeud, this post can’t possible get more embarrassing. Or, if you play Wordfeud too, want to prove that there are more than three people that still play this game and want to play with me, send an invite to Mekyria.

Back to the gold mesh costume! The last time I blogged, I had about one third of the belt covered with small gold mesh pieces. It took a bit of times as I have an impressive hip size, which comes in handy being a belly dancer. After I covered the whole belt with gold mesh, I added the closures and sewed a bit of elastic to the upper edge of the belt. It gives it a bit of extra body and prevents the belt from slipping down during shimmies.

The good news is that the costume is now wearable as it is, with the belt, bra and skirt fully finished. To celebrate, I decided to go out to a local park and take some pictures. They look good combined with wings. For the future, I’d like to add some upper arm bands in the same fabric and maybe add the left over mesh pieces to the slit of the skirt, to give it some weight. Edging the whole skirt with the mesh pieces might be a bit too much, as the mesh tends to get wrapped up in itself or get stuck on another piece of mesh. To keep it safe, I am storing the bra and belt in a separate bag with a zipper, where I can put both belt and bra in and keep them flat.

I was going through old pictures and I noticed how I had a habit of finishing a costume and then getting out of the door to get some nice pictures. And it occurred to me that I hadn’t done that in…. three to five year? I decided to dress up, head to the local park and get some really quick pictures with the tripod and the remote control. If you look closely, you’ll see how I’m still holding the remote in my hand in some of the pictures 🙂

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I got lucky with the light. It was cloudy, creating nice, even lighting. After playing around with the wings, I decided to take a couple of shots to show just the costume. I prefer wearing the belt asymmetrical, which can be seen well in this shot:

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And the costume is not too shabby looking from the front either:

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In all, I am very pleased with how this costume rehab turned out. All I need is an occasion to perform in it and see how it holds up to a fifteen minute routine. My initial plan was to shoot some video material as well, but the wind disagreed and kept blowing my hair in my face, and trying to get my wings. Maybe some other time.

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.

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.

 

Gold mesh costume part 5- the belt

I once read a blog about persistance versus perfection. The gist of the blog was that striving for perfection is setting yourself up for failure, while striving for persistance means focusing on continuing your effort in the lobg run.

So that’s what I am doing with the gold mesh costume: persistance! I decided to go with a hip wrap type of belt, as it makes the costume wearae with different skirt and sleeve variations. The second reason is that a hip wrap type belt is very accomodating when my measurements change which means less time spent on moving hooks and eyes the days before a performance.


I divided the belt in three and started adding the gold mesh in the middle. The general idea is that finishing a section is motivating me to continue with the next section. 

Note that my hips are quite wide so this might take a while! Having a focus helps, I try to add five pieces of mesh every day. Once I sit down to sew, I usually get more work done so that is good. At this rate, the belt will be done somewehere at the end of May.


It is exciting to look forward to the moment I can wear the costume for a performance!

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!

Black multi color costume part 6: beading the belt

Pinning the fringe to the belt

The belt is in this case the most intensive part of the costume project. Due to the size and the amount of decoration, hours needed to compete this part of the project will probably be over 15 hours. Not time to waste, so let’s get started! The previous belt was unlined, worn down and had damage to the pearls, acrylic jewels and the beaded fringe. Since there was so much damage to the original material, I needed to replace some of the materials and remake the costume. In this blogpost I wrote about the belt base so I am not starting from scratch 🙂  I started with rope beading the edges in gold seed beads. The original nelt didn’t have beading on the lower edge, but I quite like to see the shape of the belt and the rope beading brings a bit of attention to taht area of the costume. To make sure that the fringe was transfered to the right place, I put the base next to the vintage belt and marked the fringe placement with pins. After marking I removed the original acrylic jewels and placed them on the new belt.

Here;s a shot to give you an idea of what my workspace looks like.  It is kind of chaotic because I like to have everything within an arms reach. The folded white tablecloth underneath the project is added so I could take pictures with a neat background during the proces. The belt however, is too big to be photographed against the white cloth so I resorted to taking pictures by laying it down on the floor. I can recommend working on a space with a background that contrasts with your costume to help you focus and concentrate on the project. Also, eye fatigue is a real thing and a good background that calms the eyes is helping to stay fresh.

 

Vintage belt and the new belt form side by side
Vintage belt and the new belt form side by side

I did both front and back of the belt in this manner. On the new belt I added more stones because I wanted more bling. At this point I was waiting for the mailman for the plastic 6mm pearls I ordered online a couple of nights ago.

 

New belts with acrylic jewels
New belts with acrylic jewels

While I was finishing up the belts, my husband came in with the mail and it included the pearls. Huzzah!  I ordered from the Dutch website ‘Kralen.com’ and I recommend them, speady delivery and nice pricing. I ordered two packages of 250 pearls each and I was wondering if this would be enough. They didn’t have more of this type in the webshop so I decided to use this frst before ordering more.

White pearls from kralen.com
White pearls from kralen.com

With the pearls, I edged the jewels one by one. The hardest part was to even out the pearls to create a neat frame for the jewel. I succeeded at most places and have a bit of an issue with a couple jewels where the pearls are not cooperating. You can see what I mean in the picture below. After edging all the jewels I started harvesting the beaded fringe from the vintage belt and pinning it to the new belt.

Pinning the fringe to the belt
Pinning the fringe to the belt

This type of fringe is made in Egypt and consists of beaded frigne ties to a cord. the cord is easy to sew down, cut or rearrange on costumes. Working with this type of fringes is a huge advantage over handbeaded fringe, as handbeading fringe takes a lot of time. The fringe is not cheap (about 25 euro or 30 usd for a meter/yard) but totally worth it. Stitch the fringe to the costume by hand by going through the cord with needle and thread.

Sewing beaded fringe to the belt
Sewing beaded fringe to the belt

Make sure to securely attatch the ends of the cord to the belt, as the fringe on the end might fall of when the cord starts to unravel. With a couple of extra stitches this is easily prevented. The good news was that all the short fringe from the belt as in excellent shape. The bad news was that the long fringe sewn to the bottom of the belt was in terrible condition in the back. I didn’t see it in it’s complete glory until I started to remove it from the vintage belt. The damage includes strands that have vanished, remnants of threads, half tied of strands and a bit of a jagged look where the fringe has thinned out. I had to double the fringe in a couple of places to create a fuller, healthy look.

Damaged beaded fringe
Damaged beaded fringe

I came up short on the long fringes and decided to remove some of the fringe from the bra and put it on th ebelt instead. Yes, the bra that I completely beaded and lined a couple of weeks ago. Needless to say I wasn’t to happy about the prospect of demolishing my own work but it had to be done. With the extra fringe from the bra, I completed the belt. I’ll deal with the fringe shortage on the bra some other day. The belt turned out well, the black sequined base really helps to make the pearls and colored gems pop out.

 

New multi color belt front and back
New multi color belt front and back

Next week in part 7: lining the belt (I am so close to finishing this set, I can almost taste it!)

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!

Project: Black multi-color costume

This costume was gifted to me by a dancer close to my heart. She made this costume roughly twenty years ago and wore it during many performances. She started dancing in the time that there were a lot of performance opportunities for bellydancers in The Netherlands and wore this costume a lot. She gave this costume to me, saying:’You might have to put another bra in to make it fit and it is really worn down.’.

This is all true.

In this post, I’ll show you the original costume inside and out and in the next posts I’ll discuss the techniques that I used to get it ready for another twenty years of bellydance. Let’s start with the bra. The bra is build on a regular light blue underwire bra, reinforced with buckram and with different reinforced shoulder straps. the side straps are from the original bra, covered in black glitterdot.

The color scheme is stunning, with bright acrylic jewels lined with white pearls. Backed by black sequins and beads, and with 8″/20 cm black fringe, this costume looks good from a distance and up close. Well, it would look good up close if the pearls were replaced by new ones. I also have another problem: I am a 70C and I estimate the bra to be a 85E. There is not enough stuffing to make this fit me so I have to rework the bra.

Outside of vintage multicolor bra
Outside of vintage multicolor bra
Inside of vintage multicolor bra
Inside of vintage multicolor bra

The belt is a two piece belt in a V-shape, with fringe placed on the diagonal. The upper edge is accented with gold tone seed beads and is slightly wavy. I think I’ll exagerrate this by adding more of a sculpted edge to the new belt. The belt is made of several layers of fabric sewn together and covered in black glitterdot fabric. The spaces that are not hidden from view by the fringe have black cupped sequins with seed beads sewn in place.

Inside of vintage multicolor belt
Inside of vintage multicolor belt

The plan

The fringe is really good quality and is in good shape, considering it’s age. I might have to do some reknotting and rebeading here and there. I will reuse most of the acrylic jewels and seed beads, but I have to replace all the pearls. I am also thinking of covering the whole costume with black sequins instead of glitterdot material. Some ambitious plans, and I also have a couple of dance projects lined up so it will probably take a c ouple of weeks. In the mean time, if you have questions, drop me a line on facebook and I’ll see if I can give you a useful answer. To finish this post, here are some close-ups of the beading to show you that it is really neccesary to redo the beading with different beads.

Original damaged beading on vintage bra
Original damaged beading on vintage bra