The bra is also a well know costume part for bellydancers. It’s the only thing standing between you and your audience, so make it sturdy and reinforce the closures to prevent embarrasing accidents. Always ‘test drive’ your bra, by wearing it to class or practice in it for half an hour to make sure that the fit is right and it will stay put while dancing. If you’re uncertain, wear a choli or a top underneath.
A push up bra, one cup size bigger than your usual size
Fabric for covering: some leftover scraps or 0.5 m. fabric
Matching sturdy thread
Eextra hook and eye closures
If you want to reinforce your bra: 0.5 m. sturdy fabric like buckram or denim
Start with a basic bra
Buy a sturdy push-up underwire bra with a good fit, that’s one or two cup sizes to big, preferable with reinforced cups. If they are not reinforced, buy half a meter of sturdy fabric to reinforce them yourself (see step 3). The outside of the bra doesn’t matter since you’re going to cover it completely. The push-up bra is most suited to convert into a dance bra because the angle of the cups is meant to be flattering for your bust. If you use a regular bra, adjust the position of the cups by slightly tilting them inward for a push-up effect. If you have a bigger cupsize, you can decide to keep the normal position as you already have a cleavage.
The bra straps
Cut off the original straps and keep the closure. Replace the straps with straps from grossgrain ribbon or sturdy fabric. I prefer to use a denim like fabric. Cover the shoulder straps and side straps in fabric. I sew my covered side straps to the bra cups with my sewing machine. Be careful and avoid the underwire and double stitch to be on the safe side.
Ask a friend to help you out with pinning your shoulderstraps to the bra. Put the bra on and ask your friend to pin them to the sidestraps with safety pins. Walk around and try some snake arms and shoulder shimmies. If you place two pieces of straight ribbon instead of shoulderstraps, you can make a halter bra. You can also choose to make it a ‘regular style ‘ bra by attaching the shoulder straps to the side straps. If the straps fall of your shoulder, readjust them. When they stay put and you’re comfortable with it, take it of and sew the straps together. If you want some extra padding, put them in. If you’re sure that you have the right amount, sew them to the inside.
Cover the bra cups
Now cover the bra cups with fabric of your choice. If you don’t have a bra with reinforced cups, cover it with sturdy fabric first and the outside fabric second. For covering the bra cups, I like to use two pieces per cup. One straight, narrow piece along the top. The bottom part is covered by a oblong circle with an added dart (I depicted it on the right as an oblong with the dart already cut out)
Cut the fabric bigger than you expect to, the seams often take up a bit of extra room. Start with the connector in the middle of the bra. After that, cover the cups starting from the middle of the cup and work toward the edges. Tuck in the edges to the inside and stay stitch in place.
Adding hooks and eyes
Put it on and measure were the closures should be. Cut of excess ribbon and fold it under. Leave 2-5 cm extra on each ribbon in case you put on a few pounds in the next years. Time to add the sequins and beads!. If the fabric is pretty enough, just add some fringe, but you can also choose to bead it completely. After the beading is done, try it on and fasten the closures (you can use the cut off closure from 2, and some extra hook and eye closures).
Lining your bra
Add a lining following the directions of 3. It’s not exactly neccesary since it’s on the inside but it looks way better.Besides, it gives some extra comfort while wearing your bra and it’ll keep all the perspiration stains on the inside. If you’re bra’s lining is getting really dirty, it is often easier to replace the lining compared to cleaning the bra.
Bra related links: