How to add a bra strap extension to a belly dance bra

With everything going on in my life, it took me seven months to get started with blogging in 2018. Wow! I totally didn’t see that one coming. The good news is that this post is about something we all need at some time in our live: a bra strap extension. For the days when you need a bit more room to breath. For that gorgeous second hand costume that you bought that you want to fit to your body. For pulling out a costume bra that you made twelve years ago and decided would be nice to wear for a duet.

The last reason is why I did the extension: I was dancing in a student recital of my friend Roos in July. I did a duet version of a pop choreography that we did in class a while back, where I explored some new combinations and techniques. We were all set to go except that I didn’t know what to wear. I currently am a bigger size so I needed to do some alterations.

Remember the red tribal fusion costume I made in 2006? I took the bra and decided to add some stuff for it and combine it with a chiffon skirt and top for a different look. All materials were already in my fabric stash and I scheduled a couple of nights to fix the bra.

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Gather all materials

Here’s the bra as I started out. The cups are big enough but I don’t have enough room in the ribcage strap. My plan was to add an extension of about 5″/12,5 cm and an extra kuchi drape to the bottom of the bra. The bra is covered in bright tomatoe red lycra. I didn’t have any scraps left but I did find another woven synthetic tpe of fabric that was a close match to the bra base.  Lastly I used a kuchi belt that was in my tribal costuming bag to add a drape.

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Remove the old hook and eye and velcro closure

The old closures weren’t going to work so they had to go! I went to work with my seam ripper. It’s important to take care during this stage, to prevent holes or damage to the underlying fabric. You can see where a hook was located right between the velcro and the other hook.

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Create an extension from cotton fabric

Using a woven unbleached cotton fabric I made he base for the extension. By folding the fabric over a couple of times, I created about the same thickness as the bra straps. Using a base is important to add strength to the strap. I added the extension piece by sewing it to the inside of the original strap. My intention was to make this a non reversible fix, making the extension as muh part of the costume as possible.

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This is what it looked like from the outside. Note how the base is slightly more narrow compared to the Original strap. This is to allow room for  the fabric that will cover the extension piece.img_8429

Adding the red fabric to the bra

I cut a piece of the fabric off and pinned it to the bra strap. Mking sure to overlap with the Original strap on the outside. After pinning it into place, I stitched all around the edges with a straight stitch. The bra strap woesn’t stretch as it is compeltely built up of woven cotton fabric as a base.

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This is what it looks like from the outside. I am rather pleased with myself for how neat it turned out and for finding fabric that matches the original bra.

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Adding a lining

Well, who knew that it would take me over a decade to finally line this baby? After fixing the strap I figured she deserved a nice lining to look all nice and finished. I added a lining while watching the lastest episodes of ‘The Hundred’ on Netflix. It made me think of new and creative ways to create post apocalyptic belly dance costumes 😉 You can see that the Original bra was made of pink foam.

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Adding the drape

By tacking the kuchi belt to the bra I basically added an extra belly drape. I decided to not take the belt apart as I could always remove it and reuse it for a different costume if I wanted to. I like how the big kuchi in the center adds extra emphasis to the center kuchi that was already there.

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I wish I could show you a picture of what we looked like during the show but I haven’t received them yet. The bra is realy comfortable though and I had a great time performing with my duet partner.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I’ve been doing that for almost two decades. 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. I you want to ask me something or comment,  use the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

 

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White and red cherry dress

This post is not about belly dance costumes. It is about other nice stuff I made and that I want to show you. This white and red cherry dress is the perfect example of how a nice basic pattern paired with a cute cotton print fabric can create stunning results. It also gave me an excuse to wear these gorgeous red heels that have been sitting on the shelf for a while. In my daily life I mostly wear comfortable sneakers and flats.

I made this dress in 2008, from a McCalls pattern. Whenever I buy fabric, I usually take a picture of the fabric plus the pattern. If I don’t have time I can always find what I was planning in my photostream. In this case I was so excited that I didn’t wait and started working on it right away.

DSC_0087I love this McCalls pattern as it is fairly easy and has a fantastic shape to it. The dress can be worn with a petticoat but it looks very nice without petticoat as well. The skirt is not a complete circle: I had some trouble in the past with full circle skirts that kept being blown upward by the wind. Marylin Monroe made it look cute but on me, I look more like a crazy lady trying to keep her skirt down. The length of the skirt is also perfect for me. I am tall and the skirt hits slightly over the knee. That’s a perfect length for me as it flatters me and it stays decent when I sit down. Most dress and skirt patterns that hit mid thigh don’t work for me because the skirt shortens another four inches when I sit down, making it rather uncomfortable for daily wear.

 

Once I finished the dress in 2008, I wore it on several occasions but I never got pictures of it. Last year I couldn’t wear it because I was pregnant, so this year I had my heart set on wearing some cute summer dresses. It was a bit tight but it still fits.

I went to a local playground and took some pictures with a tripod and remote control. In case you’re wondering, the black square thing in my right hand is the remote. I put my hair up for the occasion and added a couple of hair flowers. It made me feel all princess like:

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And to give you a good view of the back:

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As it was a playground, I also tried a couple of pictures on the swing. This is the one that came out best:

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I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! 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.

Red satin dresss

My dance friend is turning 55 on December 11th and we are doing a bellydance with boa dance. It has all been great fun as it is a choreography on an Egyptian popsong, thus giving it a distinctive bellydance flavor. The costume choice is a long red satin dress with half circle skirt. The upper edge could have red feathers along the edge and there will be a black insert in the slit. The hip area will get a ruched red satin part for a small hip accent.

I got the main outline for the dress from Marjan and yesterday I made the bodice (Halterstraps are my addition) and put it on my mannequin so the fabric can hang and I can hem the skirt in a week or so.

It looks rather long in the torso but that is because the weight of the skirt is dragging the bodice down, I have more boobs then my mannequin and also more neck. First time for cutting satin on the bias, and I tell you it is hell. It drapes very nicely though, bodice has no zipper or buttons but can be pulled on over the head. It has a slinky effect that makes it sort of cling to the body without being tight fitting and it is very unflattering due to being all red and shiny and not form fitting but we will look great together on stage.

Bag for bellydance canes (Assaya)

I have been busy with a lot of other things, but recently we started working on a raqs al assaya choreography with my beginners. The last two weeks I’ve been dragging the canes around wrapped in the plastic bags and tape that Mahmoud wrapped them in after my purchase. I do everything by public transportation or by riding my bicycle and juggling a bag with canes next to my BD bag with cd’s and workout clothes is not good for the other traffic users out there. This is what they looked like in the plastic:


I took some leftover fabric and freewheeled. basically it’s a long tube with a strap and a pocket on the outside. Now I can carry them on my back:

I made a small detail with my label on it, just in case I ever find myself in a dressing room and multiple people brought a bag with canes. Or maybe because it’s nice to see my label on the outside of an item instead of on the inside for a change.

Red fringe costume part 4- final result

IThese pictures were promised to you three weeks ago, but today I finally had the time to dress up, take a snapshot and post it.

I ended up redoing the top of the bra so the proportions would look right. In the end, you can’t really tell the difference between the undecorated basic bra and the end result, but the difference is app. an inch extra on the top of the cups. I already used this costume for a performance on the 29th of july, as youcan see in the third pic it has great fringe action.

Red fringe costume part 2- Belt back

Not much extra time off last week or this week, but I managed to bead the back piece of the belt almost completly. I made the back piece larger then the front on purpose. This is the stage that ‘m starting to loose some of my enthousiasm fo beading. I force myself to bead at least one row every day, so there will be some kind of progress. Here’s a photoshopped picture of what it would look like with the medallions added:

I want to add more square beaded medallions, inbetween the ones already there, maybe edge them with strass too and add pieces of silver beaded fringe to the bottom of the medallions. I’ll get back to that later, first I’ll add the fringe and continue on the front of the belt. Small adjustments are easier to make once the beading is done, at least it feels that way to me. Stuff that I watched while beading the belt: “Save the last dance’, several episodes of the X-men animated series and reruns of ATWT.Henry is kidnapped, Katie is going undercover to find him and tries to get close to creep BJ (who obviously is a psychopath). The plot thickens around Gwen’s baby that isn’t hers.

Red fringe costume part 1- Bra

I had some extra time to work on the red costume last week because I had to work this weekend. SOmehow I get more done on weekdays then in the weekend. Questions about fit and design are included Anyway,

My initial idea was to place rhinestones along the edge, then a second row of crystals underneath, then fringe. It would look something like this:

However, after beading one cup and pinning all the elements on, I decided I didn’t like the second row of crystals because it would lower the fringe and create the illusion of droopy boobs, as oposed to perky boobs, which was the original plan. I removed the row of crystals from the design and placed the fringe right underneath the rhinestones.

Question 1: would you have included the square crystals?

So here are some pictures of the nearly finished bra. Left without paddding, right with padding. BTW, the fringe on the sides will be shorter. You can see that I already started on shortening it on the side by removing beads and reknotting the thread.

Question 2: What do you like best: with or without padding?

After refitting the bra I decided that I would probably raise the edge of the bra cups by adding extra fbric. The centerpiece of the bra will be made of a sqaure ebaded medallion with a crystal in the middle. See picture below.

Question 3: do you think changing the bra like this would improve the design?

I think I’ll continue with the back of the belt next. Sofar I realise that this set lacks a distinctive ‘personal design’ trademark. I might as well buy one of those cheap egyptian sets and jazz it up with rhinestones and it would be the same look. However, I hate the Egyptian bra cups, I want more rhinestones and every dancer needs a red costume anyway (or two red costumes). While working on this costume I start to realise why I want a fringy red cabaret set. I’ll save the detaied story for when it’s finished. I’m thinking of a way to include the square rhinestones in the bra design by adding more beaded medallions on the bra.

Costume project: red fringe costume

I made a belt base insipred on the great loop-shape. However, I decided to exeggerate the shape because a) this is not a red loop copy and b) strong shapes work well on stage. I have to say that I started with a red loop in mind but changed the design as I went along. Things I kept is that the decoration is going to be in strass stones and red sequins and the general belt shape.

The belt looks a bit too large for my taste, but it’s going to look a lot smaller once its finished. There’s going to be a row of 8 inch beaded fringe app. 2 inches from the top, mimicking the beltline. I wanted to add more fringe to the bottom of the belt, but I’m not sure after arranging it in front of me wether it would be too much. We’ll see.

I also include some views of the belt base fitting. I’m rather pleased with the cupped butt shape.