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.

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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.

 

I performed ATS again after twelve years of Egyptian and Turkish bellydance

Summer is really kicking off here. My last class was at the end of June and yesterday my students and I performed at the student recital of my friend Roos Belinfante. This year was extra special because it was my first semester of teaching after my pregnancy leave. As an extra challenge, I dedicated ten of the intermediate classes to learning American Tribal Style (ATS).

I am super proud of my students doing a completely improvised ATS performance after only ten classes of basic ATS. It was also a good occassion for me to get my tribal costume items out of the closet. If you have never seen an ATS performance or tried a workshop or class, I highly recommend it. It is a different, very structured dance form that utilizes belly dance moves and puts the movement in a different (completely made up, based on various cultures) setting.

Here’s a picture of me in ATS gear, taken in 2007. I made the bra, choli, headband, skirt and tassel belt.


It’s been roughly twelve years since I was part of an ATS group that practiced weekly. Teaching the material was a blast of the past. Ah, how young I was, how inexperienced in belly dance and how much time I had for sewing! Linking ATS to that time in my life made it an extra intense experience for me. Here’s a group picture taken before our performance last Sunday. How adorable are we? Can you guess how many items are made by me?

   I used the same skirt from the previous picture plus two more 26 yard skirts I made in 2005. For this occassion I made five wide headbands covered in velvet. The night before the recital was spent sewing leaves and flowers to my own headband on account of our daughter having a cold and waking up every hour or so. If I am going to be awake I might as well do something useful. Plus big head stuff distracts from the under eye bags.

The silver coin bra still fits with some adjustments. I had to remove the padding and change the straps because breastfeeding turned my B cup into a D.

What belly dance costume item has been in your closet for years? 

Super quick belly dance bra

Our little one is almost five months old and we’re getting into a daily routine that works with both our day jobs, the kids day care, the dog day care, my weekly bellydance classes, my husbands weekly classes and rehearsals, bellydance events and keeping the household running. No wonder I feel a bit worn out!

Working on a costuming project or with my sewing machine is my way to unwind after a busy day. When the baby is asleep, the dog is dreaming underneath the coffee table and the laundry and dishes are done, I hop on the couch and chat with my husband or we watch a bit tv together while I sew. 

For a recent hafla I needed a purple dance bra but I didn’t have time to completely rework a badic bra, or buy supplies. Instead I bought a basic purple bra from an outlet I could visit duringg my lunch break. I kept all the straps and decided to add beads to make it more glamorous. I found a bit of leftover gold trim in my stash from one of the first costumes I made and stitched it to the top of the bra.

 
I unearthed a bag of gaudy plastic beads, left over from when I completely remade a Neckelman’s bra. I started adding beaded drapes to the bra, starting on the outside and slowly working towards the center of the bra. The whole thing took me about two hours, which meant it took me about three days to finish, right on time for the hafla.

  
It worked well on stage and it is very comfortable to wear. I wouldn’t recommend it for professional performances and such, but as a quick bra for a student troupe performance it worked like a charm. What are your favorite quick diy projects?

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 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!  

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!

 

 

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!

 

 

Black multi color costume part 4: lining the bra

Using a hemming stitch to attach lining

“Show me the inside of your costume and I will tell you who you are”  ~ Kyria

A costume can be worn without a lining but I personally like the satisfied feeling of hiding all the stitches and loose threads. There really is no reason why I shouldn’t put in the effort, after hours and hours on working on creating the costume and adding the beadwork. Besides covering up the stitches of your beading, it protects your bra from sweat and stains, it makes it more comfortable to wear and it gives you a place to put your label in.

I ordered my first set of labels in 2005 and am currently using a second set, in gold thread. Gold thread is not very practical and it is hard to photograph, however I couldn’t resist it. I really get a kick out of making a costume from scratch and putting my label in is a nice way to mark my work. In this case, I sewed the label to the lining of the side strap before hand stitching the lining into place.

Lining is easy and can be done with any size or shape of the bra. Bella lines her elaborate cut-out bra and belt sets and I did something similar with the pink Turkish costume that I made. It is a matter of pinning the lining fabric to your project with a couple of pins in the middle of the item. Then slowely working along the edge, carefully folding, tucking and pinning the fabric. I always pin from the outside to the inside as it prevents the pins from scratching my hands when sewing.

 

With a slipstitch, secure the lining into place. I prefer small stitches but if you are in a hurry, big stitches will also hold. When it comes to the order of lining, I usually choose:

  1. lining the side straps;
  2. lining the bra cup connector;
  3. lining the shoulder straps;
  4. lining the cups.

First, cut out enough fabric to line the part that you are working on (in this case, a side strap)

Pinning lining to a bra side strap
Pinning lining to a bra side strap

You’ll notice that I always pin from the outside and the sharp part of the pin faces inward. This deliberatly: it reduces the risk of scratching myself on pins and it is easier to pull the pins out while sewing. Continue tucking the lining fabric inward untill it is compeltely pinned down.

Completely pinned lining to a bra side strap
Completely pinned lining to a bra side strap

Small detail: I attached the hook and eye closure earlier in the proces and I am sewing the lining overthe points where the hook is attached. If I ever need to change the closure, most of the times tha hook stays put and it is the eye that has to be moved. I also like this method because it create a neater overall look of the costume. After pinning, I use a hemming stitch. I prefer small, tidy stitches (I start to think there’s a theme in here somewhere) but bigger stitches will also work. Sewing and costuming is all about what works. As long as it keeps the fabric in place, don’t worry about the size or neatness of your hand sewing.

Using a hemming stitch to attach lining
Using a hemming stitch to attach lining

 

I pull out the pins while I work and since a hemming stitch is really fast, I usually finish lining a bra strap in about fifteen minutes. I proceed with lining the bra cup connector and shoulder straps. For the bra cups I use a slightly different approach.I cut out a square piece of fabric and start pinning where the bra cup and connector meet.

Pinning lining a bra cup
Pinning lining a bra cup

 

I’m left with a flap of fabric, running from the apex of the cup to the side of the cup. I fold this inward (I rarely cut the fabric, as it isn’t bulky) and pin it down. I like to pin both sides before sewing it into place, to even out the seams a bit. As a check, I push my closed fist into the cup. The lining fabric should not be tense in any part. If you feel tension, remove the pins on the outside, give a bit more room and repin.

Lining pinned to a bra cup including the inside seam
Lining pinned to a bra cup including the inside seam

Afterwards I bask in the glow of a job well done and every time I wear one of my home made costumes, I am glad I took the time to add lining.