A belt emphasize your hipmovement and is a basic part of a professional dance costume. For an elegant basic costume, wear a stretch-velvet evening gown with a belt on top. You can also make a
matching bra, to create a full costume.
Pattern paper or newspapers for making a pattern
About 0.5 m/two feet of fabric for your base (buckram, denim, heavy cotton)
0.5 m/two feet of fabric for covering the belt
Help of a friend
Take your measurements
Measure your hip size (at the broadest point of your hips), add two cm and cut out a strip of paper thats app. 20 broad and as long as your hip size with two extra cm. Wrap it around your hips and close it with tape at the point you want the closure to be (preferable front or back). If you want a side closure, make a pattern with a closure at the middle front or back and adjust it later.
Creating the pattern
Have your accomplice walk around you and make folds in the paper, so it will fit smoothly to your body. Start with a fold on the sides of your body, followed by folds in the back and front. Finish by making folds in between these four, but make sure you make it symmetrical (well, sort of. We all now that women seldom are symmetrical). Make sure the folds stay in place by taping them.
Now take it off again and spread it out on a smooth surface. It should look something like the image below. Adjust the folds a little bit to even out the folds.
Draw the outline of your belt on your pattern. I prefer to divide my belt pattern in a narrow front part and a wider part that goes around the back.The best way to get it right is putting the pattern on again and let a friend draw your belt pattern on. Cut out along the pattern edges. Tape down all the fold so the paper pattern follows the curves of your bodyPut it around your hips again and judge your work. Make some adjustments (or let your friend make them) until your satisfied. it should fit smoothly over your hips. I highly recommend saving this pattern as a ‘belt base’ that you can pull out anytime you need a new belt. Always check that the pattern still fits before reusing it.
Cut the fabric
Cut this pattern out of sturdy fabric without seam allowances and out of the fashion fabric with extra seam allowance. Don’t forget some extra seam allowance at the closure. Hand stitch together while keeping it slightly bend in the direction it should when you are wearing it. Use a basket or your leg to keep the belt curved while sewing. Once stitched together, try it on and pin were the closure should be. I like to double stitch along the curved edges to make sure the fabric stays in place.
Adorn your belt. Add fringe, beads, applications, rhinestones, whatever. After fully adorning it, add the closure by hand and finish it of by lining the belt with fabric in the same colour as the outside. Just cut out the belt pattern, lay it on the belt, fold the edges under and hand stitch into place. Below are a couple of pictures from a belt made in one piece where you can see the progress from the basic belt to the finished belt.
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