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 🙂

gold mesh 01

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:

gold mesh 3

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

gold mesh 04

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

Costume identified

In my last post I asked if anyone knew the year and model name of a Pharaonix belt. I posted on Bhuz and facebook and soon several people mentioned that I could ask Amira directly through facebook. That hadn’t occured to me at all, what a great tip! Sheryl tagged Amira in her facebook post and soon Amira joined the conversation to shed light on the situation. She said:

 

FB amira 04There you have it: it is still available in case you want your very own, in several versions. Amira designed it in early 2000 and it was called ‘Cocktail’. What a lushious name for a costume! Thank you all for chiming in on various platforms to help me and for the readers that are following this blog. If you want to receive a notice of new blogposts, you can follow this blog by clicking the grey button in the lower right of your screen. If you have a wordpress blog or account, you can add this blog to your wordpress reader by logging in and clicking the button in your WordPress menu on the top.

 

 

Pink Turkish costume – the gathering

Amulya asked about a post to gather all the costume entries for the Pink Turkish costume. It is also an excellent opportunity to show you pictures of the finished costume. I have worn this costume six times since I finished it and it is holding up great. I’m a little bit concerned about the holographic foil print turning silver over time, but so far, so good. I haven’t written about making the accessoiries: there is a matching upper arm band and a triangular hand decoration. They were fairly easy: I used a paisley medallion, added to a strip of fabric and edged in beads/sequins. The necklace is my multi-color butterfly necklace that also matches my Pharaonix butterfly. Come to think of it, it matches most of my costumes as it is multi-color. I highly recommend investing in a multi-color jewelry, as it creates an extra bit of visual interest. Rhinestone jewelry just didn’t cut it for this costume.

This is a picture of our duet. Hadyr is wearing the Bella I sold her earlier this year, which was the reason why I needed a costume to match it’s magnificent blingy-ness. Picture by Merijn van der Vliet:

And here’s a close-up from a later show in Bussum. Picture by Michael van Schijndel:

And here is a video of the costume in action:

The history:

1 – feb 20th: The materials
2 – feb 21th: belt pattern and base
3 – feb 22th: covering the belt base
4 – feb 24th: rhinestones everywhere
5 – feb 25th: paisley medallions
6 – feb 26th: Vanilla glitter
7 – mar 7th: a whole lot of bling
8 – mar 22th: Fringe!
9 – mar 24th: help me pick a skirt
10 – mar 29th: the bra base
11 – mar 31th: covering the bra
12 – april 7th: beading and fringe on the bra