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 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 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!

How to cover straps with no visible seam

I am still working on the minty fresh costume, albeit slowely. I recently covered the shoulder straps for the bra. As I don’t want to add beading to the bra straps, I wanted no visible stitches on the outside of the straps. Usually I cover straps by wrapping them in the desired fabric, then stitching along the sides of the strap.

This time I used lycra, which made it easier. I first created a tube that fits perfectly around the original bra strap. Turn the tube inside out by using a big safetypin, push the pin through the center to flip it inside out.

IMG_2046[1]I then used the safetypin to pull the white strap through the blue casing. It took a bit of wiggling aorund to get this right but it worked.

IMG_2048[1]I then smoothed the outer casing until the seam was neatly on the inside of the strap and there were no more wrinkles. I then used a straight stitch to keep the casing in place: one time straight acros the bottom (with a piece of white still visible). On the top, I folded the top edge of the casing over the edge and stitched it in place. Left is an exmaple of the bottom that will be attached to the bra and hidden by the lining of the bra. On the right is the example of what the top of the strap looks like.


Haven’t had tme to actually attach these to the bra, but I will get there soon! A bit of a bummer was that I cut up one of my skirt pieces by accident to make the casing for the straps and I now have to rethink my skirt design. More about that later.

Minty fresh costume part 1: the bra

I posted a couple of pictures on buz and facebook but I felt nostalgic and want to write more about the proces on LJ. Hi, my name is Kyria and I’m a costuming addict. It’s been almost a year since my last costuming project. And the last projects didn’t count, as they were small repairs like lining a coin bra and fixing a beaded applique. I made a red satin dress for a bellydance-burlesque performance  in december 2013 but that wasn’t really bellydance.

Time for a new costume! I did a fabric swap with Bea a while back. She sent me the remnants of turquoize lycra that she used for beledi dresses. I sent her red lycra I think, can’t remember exactly. Bea included the leftover beads and I neatly put all of this away in my fabric stash. That must have been two years ago. about a year ago I bought two Dina style bra bases through facebook (can’t remember the seller) and once again, put it neatly in my stash. Now that I am rekindling my activity in the dance community I want to wear something new and I am starting with this.

First time working with this type of bra base. Observations: it holds it shape very well yet is easy to penetrate with a needle (something I worried about). I give it a thumbs up and intend to buy more bra bases. I took the bra straps off to cover the base. The straps are very basic. I’ll keep the neck straps but I’m not sure about the ribcage straps. They are made of covered elastic and after two years, they are probably losing elasticity. It would be a shame if the straps would not give sufficient support once I am finished.

The second epiphany was that Bea sent me large seed beads with large holes. This is awesome. I’ve worked with Gutermann seed beads before and even the larger beads have TINY holes, causing needles to get stuck and such. Big seed beads means that rope beading the edge takes less time, one more reason to break out a bottle of red wine and celebrate. The contrast fabric is printed lycra from my local fabric market. I got a lot of this with the idea that it could be used for troupe costuming which I totally should not do. For my december production, I bought 60 meters of a lighter turquoize chiffon with a subtle paillette and a lurex thread in the fabric. It is gorgeous and doesn’t match the lycra. Go figure.

Gold applique redo

I am continuing to go through my ‘small sewing chores’ pile. I bought a white costume in 2008 on bhuz which had two straps going across the belly. To keep everything in place, the previous owner added a gold beaded applique in the center. The applique was in bad shape when I bought the costume because it had no backing.

Removing the applique from the costume was easy as it was practically falling apart. I added white felt to the back and stitched the beads and sequins to the felt, then reattached to the costume. One more chore is done!

I am contemplating my next sewing chore and I feel like doing a full costume. Fromt he top of my head, my options are:

1. I have some lovely blue lycra that Bea send to me two years ago and a contrast lycra that looks fresh and vibrant together. It would be a modern Egyptian style assymetrical design

2.I have a black velvet and purple/lilac mesh pants costume that has been lying in my closet since 2004. It is close to completion but I wouldn’t have an occassion to wear it. It doesn’t have enough bling for performances and is too showy for regular classes. However, the design is nice and sleek, assymetrical lines and drapes, strass buckles and nice beading.

3. I bought a worn down gold Eman costume with gold metal mesh. I need to make a new skirt/bra base and transfer the metal mesh parts. I am not very excited about this one, as it is a refurbish instead of an original creation. But I can’t sell it as is, have worn it twice with a veil to cover up the part where the holographic print is worn away. Sell as is, or refurbish.

4.I bought a whole bunch of small round mirrors with the idea of making a mirror costume, probably on a teal holographic lycra background. You can guess how long the mirrors have been in my possession. This would be a great costume, a bit heavy and prone to damage, but the gluing of the mirrors shouldn’t be as time consuming as doing a full blown out beading.

What project would you love to see me do next?

Asymetrical Egyptian costume- update I

Since I screwed up on the dress I might as well do something fun with the leftovers. I designed a modern caïro costume from the leftovers and I think I can make it if I scrape everything together. This is the belt sofar:

I wanted an assymetrical beltshape, preferably seperate from the skirt because it’s more versatile. So I started of with a basic egyptian belt pattern, made it asymmetrical, covered it in black burned out velvet:

Then cut strips of the right size, gathered them at regular intervals, pinned top and sides to belt base and worked from there evening out the gathers. Pinned then hand baste into place:

Stitched rhinestone chain on the draped area’s for some bling. I’m considering adding chunky bella style draped fringe to black area’s, maybe some swags hanging from the bottom, and that’s it. After all, modern Caïro style is all about being minimalistic, isn’t it? I’ll scan the design sketch when I’m back from Barcelona next weekend.