Pink Turkish Costume part 12: covering the bra base + adding metal wire

In my last costume update, you’ve seen the bra base. In order to make those funky shaped cut-outs keep their shape, I needed to add metal wire to the bra cups. I prefer to cover the bra base first, and stitch the metal wire on later.
I started by covering the center piece of the bra with a remnant of the fashion fabric. It will be covered by a center piece medallion, but better safe then sorry! Then I continued to cover the bra cups by my regular method: start pinning the straight edge of the fabric along the top edge of the cup, then pin down the sides. Create a single fold by folding the fabric to the lower outer corner of the bra cup, lining the seam up with the point where the side strap connects to the bra cup. This part can’t be done by machine, so sit down, put on your favorite tv-show or a movie, and baste everything into place. You’ll end up with something looking like this:

To cover the cut-outs, make a cut in the center and pull/fold to the inside. Hand stitch into place. The shaped bra edge and cut-outs look like this from the inside:

Time for the wire! If you have never used metal wire in a costume, it might seem daunting but I assure you that it isn’t. Use heavy duty thread and a couple of tools to help you shape the metal wire. So here are my tools + the wire. I’m using wire used for gardening, as it is strong, bends without breaking and covered in a thin layer of plastic. If you wash your costume, the wire will not rust.

First, use the small tipped pliers to bend a neat little curl on the end of the wire. This will prevent the wire from poking through the fabric.

That’s all for today, tomorrow I’ll post the pictures on the beading and adding the paisley appliqué’s (the same one as the center medallion on the bra).

Pink Turkish Costume part 11: the bra base

When people commented on the pictures of the belt, one of the most often asked questions was: ‘will you do cut-out on the bra too?’. In this post I’ll show you how I converted a basic bra into a bra base and made a couple of cut-outs in the bra cup. My lack of posting the past couple of days is because I’ve been practicing my ass off for the show next Sunday. I can’t wear a pretty costume when my dancing is not up to par.

I always start with a regular foam cup bra, preferably a push-up one because the cup have the riht angle. I feel I should apo;ogize for cutting up the cutest bra I’ve ever seen. I bought it on a sale, but the straps never worked for me so I rarely wore it. And now it has a chance to be reincarnated as a pink belly dance bra!

Second step: making the side straps
Cut off all the straps and make new straps from denim fabric. I use unbleached cotton and I used one of my previous made belly dance bra’s as a template. I decided to go for lightly wider straps. Bella’s have quite narrow straps in the back, but those straps tend to dig into my back and cause unsightly blobs (yes, it happens to skinny people too!). So slightly wider and slightly longer then I needed, as I might have to resell this costume in the future or I might gain weight and need the extra couple of inches. Put the shapes on your fashion fabric…

and use the machine to stitch everything neatly into place:

Third step: attaching the side straps
I don’t have a lot of pictures of this step, as it basically comes down to pinning the straps to the bra cups and neatly sewing them to the under wire. Follow the seams on the bra cups so you won’t break your needle on the under wire. Once you’ve got the hang of it, attaching side straps will be a walk in the park.

fourth steps: the pattern on the bra cups
On to the bra cups! I decided I wanted two small cut-outs on one bra cup, to mirror the cut-outs in the belt. There are some awesome examples out there of belly dance bra’s that are held together by beading and net fabric alone. This bra will not be like that, though it would be fun to try it in the future. First I sketched a curly design for one bra cup, cut 2 layers from unbleached cotton and pin to the cup:

There are a couple of places where I need to cut parts of the original bra cup, but first I fiddled around with the placing. When I was certain, I stitched it onto the cup with the sewing machine. Also stitched the outlines of the cut-outs. Did I mention that I’m madly in love with my sewing machine and prefer to do as much as possible with my machine? And that it has a top feeder too, and a needle threader? I swear that it probably tastes like chocolate too, that’s how awesome my sewing machine is. Anyway, back to the bra cups and the stitching:

Fifth step: cut out excess foam
After thorough pinning and basting, you can cut the remaining foam out of the way. I decided to leave the lower curl closed, as it would be placed dangerously close to the nipple and I want to keep the audience attention on the dancing.

And on the inside:

Sixth step:adding padding to the back of the design

The last step is adding padding to the parts of the design that are not reinforced with the original bra cup. I used a bit of molton that I had lying around, but you can use anything you want: flanel, felt, or even hobby foam. Stitch to the outside and cut to fit the design:

That’s it for today, tomorrow I’ll post pictures of the process of covering the base with fashion fabric. In case your wondering: this costume needs to be finished for the weekend and my lj posts are behind ont he facts. So rest asure, this costume will be ready on time in all it’s shiny glory 🙂

Pink Turkish costume part 9: Fringe!

My hands have not been idle in the past weeks. I spent 20 hours on making the beaded fringe for the belt and after that I needed a couple of days to put the belt in my living room so I could stare at it in awe. It’s so pretty and sparkly! It also helps me to keep me motivated, as it will take a lot of hours to make/finish the matching bra. That’s what I’m going to work on the next couple of days, stay tuned for more costuming posts.

Front of the belt with jagged fringe:

Back of the belt, without the lining:


Pink Turkish Costume part 5: Rhinestones everywhere

I promised to give you guys a peek of the belt with the rhinestones, and here we go.

Let’s start by adding the rhinestone strands to the swirls first, since they are easy to maneuver. Rhinestone chain is sold, well, as a chain. And if you order 10 m, you have a big card with the rest of the rhinestones wrapped around it, that you’re trying to put somewhere close without tangling it with your sewing thread and other stuff. To make matter worse, I bought the cheap Chinese pronged rhinestone chain. I don’t regret it as it is sparkly and pretty for only 3,95 per m as opposed to the expensive kind that is 16,95 per m. But it iscold outside and I’m wearing wool. Wool and lots of prongs=epic fail. I did the swirl parts first:

I pinned all the belt parts together and added a couple of huge Swarovski AB crystals. Unfortunately, they don’t show up very well in the picture but once I get the gold beading done they will be more visible. I also added rhinestone chain to the middle back as it looked awfully empty without.

An update on the resources: the sequins arrived in Tuesday and the beads arrived today. Those hot pink beads? They are not matching the sequins and fabric. Lucky for me, the supposedly purple beads are a perfect match, so I’m going to use those. I also realized that I needed more gold bugle beads and purple bugle beads then I expected, if I want to make the fringe too. I ordered those today but expect that it will take another 5 days before they arrive.

Tomorrows post is all about the paisley front closure that isn’t pictured in the above update.

Pink Turkish Costume part 4: the covered belt form

I promised to show the first rhinestones today, but I have to put that on hold for tomorrow’s post. Today was filled with working on the preparations of our (meaning Arya and me) first belly dance theater show RonDom Buikdans. Yep, that’s the show I’m making this costume for!

Today I’ll show you guys the belt form completely covered in the holographic print lycra. Taking the pictures for these blog posts allow me to see my work from a different angle and when I laid my eyes on this picture, it made me think:’wow, this is going to be soooo pretty!’.

Here you go:

See you tomorrow!

Pink Turkish costume part 2: The belt pattern and base

I made a sketch for the belt, and turned it into four pattern pieces. Do not imagine anything fancy going on here, I used my basic belt pattern, modeled one after a Bella belt that I liked and used a pen to fill in the curls and stuff. The catch is that I wanted the belt to have a lot of cut-outs, creating peek a boo holes to the skirt worn underneath. This will allow the costume to be very versatile, depending on the skirt worn with the bra/belt.

The four pattern pieces laid out on the floor:

I could have integrated the swirls with the belt but choose not to for now. Figured it would be easier to handle the swirls underneath the machine if they weren’t integrated in the belt yet. I cut all pattern pieces from unbleached densely woven cotton, as I have a ton of that stuff in my fabric stash. Heavy felt would have been easier, but it would also have meant buying more supplies, something I try to avoid. I cut a third layer from molton to provide a bit of padding and body to the belt, then did some freehand sewing on the machine to baste all those layers together. This is the belt base after stitching everything together. All four parts are still separate, but it was more fun to show them layered to give you an impression of the end result.

Creating the pattern took me about 1 hour, creating the base about 2 hours. I’m trying to keep track of the time I spent on this costume. I estimated 40 hours when I started but it might be more like 50-60 hours in the end.

This is it for now, tomorrow I’ll blog about covering the belt base in fashion fabric.