Sewing/Costuming

Bellydance Bra: A How To Tutorial

First post of 2014! One I promised to do nearly 5 months ago… oopsy!

Life got in the way a bit in 2013, but I’ve promised myself that I’ll write blog posts more often. I need to get into it for my photography site as well, so it’ll be a year of blogging!

So this post is a bit of a tutorial on how to make a bellydance bra. I don’t promise that this is perfect or the only way to do it. If you do something differently to the way I do – let me know in the comments below so I can try out your methods! As they say, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (ew.)

First, you need to find a bra to work on. This means doing a bit of shopping. Try on different shaped bras to see what suits you best. I find that this “sweetheart” styled bra fits me quite well and makes me feel very secure, which is really important since you’re going to be (hopefully) flinging yourself around in it.

BraTutorial_001

Check that the back of the bra isn’t riding up. That is a sure sign that it doesn’t fit properly! A good bra should sit relatively low in the back (as this lifts the girls up in the front), the straps shouldn’t dig into you & you should be able to do the “arm test” (scroll down to see that)

BraTutorial_002

When I try on bras, I do this silly looking test that I call the “arm test”. I lift my arms in front of me (as illustrated below) and I see if the bra gapes. If the bra gapes, then I usually don’t buy it. Simply because if I am in the middle of a choreography and want to lift my arms in front of me, I won’t be able to do so without flashing the audience. (Not sexy)

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Like I said, silly looking. 🙂

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I encourage you to always buy bras that are “multi way”. This is because if you want to make halter straps, the bra is already designed to be able to move that way. If you buy a bra that doesn’t have the multi-way function, and you make a halter neck, it will distort the bra and make it gape.

BraTutorial_006

I recently bought bra cups at our fabric shop. I still want to try them, but stuck with what I knew for this tutorial.

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What you will need:

* Fabric of choice

* Scissors

*Thread (in the same colour as the fabric, unlike me. Don’t do as I do…)

*Pins

*Needles

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And optional: A sewing machine.
This was the first bra I have ever sewed using my machine. I just used it for the straps, as other parts of the bra are too thick to sew through and I didn’t have the right needles.

It just means it goes faster and is slightly neater.

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Not optional: Delicious snacks to get you through the process.

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* Interfacing

Below I have a photo of a bunch of different types of interfacing. From top to bottom:

* A reasonably thick vilene. Doesn’t bend when it’s folded & is not the iron-on stuff.

* Buckram. Very hard & difficult to sew through. Best used for reinforcement.

* A thin vilene. Thin like tissue paper. Not ideal for building straps.

* Thin buckram. Flimsy & soft. Not ideal for building straps, but useful for extra reinforcement.

* Denim (not pictured) I used this for AGES for building my bras & belts. Soft, long lasting & easy to work with.

BraTutorial_011

STEP 1:
I cover my bra. I usually take a corner of the fabric and try pinning it in different ways before cutting it. Cutting is very final. Buy extra fabric if you’re worried about it.

I first pin the top and then the bottom. The top will always be pinned the same way, but at the bottom you can either use a dart (folds sewn into the fabric to give it a 3-dimensional shape) or ruching (gathers of fabric used to form ruffles.)

I spent a good 2 hours pinning my bra. I wanted to show you how a dart would look, as well as ruching (which is what I went with in the end)

Pinned at the top:

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A very messy dart:

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Ruching Pinned: (lots of pins!)

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Ruching sewn.

With ruching, I just sew at the bottom of it. I don’t sew further up the cup because I don’t want stitching on the cup as it will be visible. I don’t know if this is the correct way to do it, but it is the way I do it.

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STEP 2:

Cut out straps. I used the first Vilene mentioned above to make my straps. I had a pattern from straps already lying around that I had cut out of the thin buckram.

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Placed the pattern on the Vilene. I folded it to end sooner because I wouldn’t be making straps that connect in the back. This is up to you. I

I folded my vilene in half and drew one pattern. I then cut through the 2 layers so that they would be perfectly equal. It also saves time.

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I used this handy little pen to draw on my vilene. It fades in 48 hours or so, so it’s perfect for mapping out your pattern on fabric.

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I place my strap onto my bra to see if it fits. I made a mark with the pen to show where I would need to cut it.

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Before making a commitment to making the straps, I check out my stash of loops & rings that I’ll be using for the straps.

With this, you want to make sure that your loops aren’t much bigger that your straps. If they are, they tend to move around and can end up not fitting quite right.

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I added grosgrain ribbon to my straps for extra reinforcement. This is a new thing I am testing out. Seems to work well!

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Now, take a break and eat one of your snacks. Hmmmm. Chocolate.

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This is the bra with the straps covered & one of them pinned onto the bra. Covering the straps is as simple as putting the fabric over it, pinning & sewing. Nothing fancy or difficult there.

Note that the original bra straps are still on.

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The backs of my bras are always insanely messy. I have started lining my bras (you will see why in a bit) but that can only be done once it is totally decorated.

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One half of the bra has a top decoration on it. This is just a silver lace I bought, and folded over the top of this bra.

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The inside again.

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I used my loops on the back straps of the bra, and pin in place. I hand sewed this because my machine can’t get close enough to the loops. (I tried & broke a needle in the process)

At this point, you can cut off your side straps. You can see in the picture above where I cut mine off. Usually where there is a bit of boning in the strap.

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Next, make your top straps. Using vilene (or your base of choice) and grosgrain ribbon, sew them together & cover them in your fabric. Pin to the bra & sew in place. (Again, I did this by hand)

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Ta-da! You now have straps!

NOT PICTURED:

Adding the loops to the top straps & sewing in place.

Then go outside and take some photos in your fabulous new bra!

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Below you can see the reason why lining is so important. the tiny bits of fabric will sneak out of the bottom of your bra and show. (I have no idea how to line stuff – I just make it up as I go along!)

Harem Pants & Necklace: Also by me! 😉

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Back of the bra:

BraTutorial_032 BraTutorial_033 BraTutorial_034 BraTutorial_035 BraTutorial_036

You can see that it is still very rough, but I am fine with that, as I will be covering all those seams.

I know some of you like to pin my stuff, so I’ve done this picture below that you can use as the pinned picture:

PINTEREST_BRATUT

If you cant seem to pin it, find my pin here (click click) and feel free to share! 🙂

If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you!

xx

New Costume

In the last week, I decided to make a new dance bra. My older ones don’t fit as well as they should and I felt like they weren’t very adjustable. We have a performance coming up in October and I wanted something that I at least felt comfortable in.

So I went to the fabric shop, saw awesome fabric and bought it. I then realised I needed faux suede to go with my new fabric and bought some the next day. I spent my evenings making and embellishing this bra, and finished it in a couple of days!

Here is the bra I have been working on:

BRA! CostumingSept13

This is also the first time I’ve ever lined a bra!

CostumingSept13_1

I realised half-way through that my last bra “how-to” got pinned on Pinterest a couple of times and it had brought lots of people to my blog. Since I was half way through and hadn’t taken any photos of said bra, I decided once the work craziness has died down a bit (October-ish) I will do a tutorial for my blog. With prettier pictures and proper step-by-step instructions. (After all, prettier pictures means getting Pinned more often!)

In this upcoming tutorial, what would you like to see discussed? 

I also have some cool ideas for blog posts, so hopefully after the tutorial and work-craziness I’ll be able to post some more. 🙂

x

How to: A belly dance bra

Here’s my list of excuses: I haven’t felt inspired, I’ve been really busy at my new job (yay!) and I’m lazy.

At the end of July I was offered a position at a photography studio in Somerset West – Digital Moment – and I accepted! I have a good friend who has been working there since the beginning of the year and I must say, since I started, I haven’t stopped! There are photo shoots almost every weekend, events to cover, and tons and tons of editing work to do afterwards!

A couple of weeks ago, a fellow troupe member ( Hello, Cheri! 🙂 ) asked me about constructing a proper dance costume and although I don’t think I know a lot about it, I ended up rambling and realized how much info I do know. I’m no expert on the subject and I have had many failed projects that I quietly unstitch and throw away, never to be spoken of again. Although I get irritated at the waste of money, I have learned a lot from it and I think that I’m qualified in telling people what NOT to do! Enough so, that this is what this blog post is all about.

A lot of the things I’ve learned when it comes to costuming are things I picked up from reading many, many blogs about it. At the bottom of this post is a list of useful links and blogs to help you make a costume successfully! (And all of those ladies are far more accomplished seamstresses than me!)

Anyway! Back on topic.

I lay in bed last night thinking of all the bits and pieces I have to talk about, so I’m going to cut this blog post into two pieces – one about bras and one about belts. So here is all the info I have on bras!

Selecting a bra for a costume

My first advice is to know what size bra you are! I’ve never been measured, because in South Africa our lingerie selection is rather poor and I have previously bought 2 bras that were exactly the same size on the label and the same make, same colour, same bra, same everything! When I got home they fit me completely differently! I am a 32D and I struggle to get bras that fit me properly, so what I do is I will try on a 34C, 32D and 34D just to see what fits me best. You’re going to have to do this too.

  • Try on a bunch of different bras – you never know what might look flattering on you! Remember, don’t go for a specific colour, you’re going to cover it up anyway. I personally find that Ackermans’ Mosaic Range sells a lovely shaped bra, that I find suits me quite well. It’s their generic bra section, just a plain white bra. All of these bras are the same base, bought from Ackermans:

  • Make sure the bra cups are STIFF. If they are too soft, they will collapse the minute to try to embellish them! There are ways of reinforcing a bra if you’re going to do a lot of embellishing/heavy embellishing on them. I’ve never needed to do that, but Shushanna (link below) has a section on that if you want to learn how to do it! To test the stiffness of her bra cups, Shushanna has this great trick of placing a small ceramic bowl on top of her bras, and if they don’t collapse under that weight – she carries on! 🙂
  • When choosing your bra, try and choose one that has changeable straps. In other words, one of those bras where the straps can criss-cross at the back or be removed entirely. The reason for this is so that if you decide to do a halter-neck style bra or even a criss-crossed back like my blue costume in this post, the bra cups won’t move around! If you take a regular bra and make a faux-halter neck, you’ll find that the bra cups gape and it looks quite ugly. The same thing will happen if you take a regular bra and give it a halter neck or criss-cross back.
  • This next one is a personal preference, but perhaps something you haven’t thought of before. If you are small chested – follow the diagram below. Buy a bra that fits you! Small chested woman tend to wear bras that cover their nipples – because they don’t have much chest muscle/boob to cover up. All big-boobed girls can tell you that your boobs start on the sides of your chest! Not in the middle! If a large chested woman were to wear a bra that only covered the nipple, she’d end up with side-boob leakage. Same applies to small chested woman! Wearing a bra that covers your nipple but not much else also makes your shoulders and chest look INCREDIBLY big. Small chested woman have a huge advantage in that they can easily make a halter top without a worry of falling out of it. (I’d love to have one, but this is a huge fear for me!)

Check out my drawing-in-a-hurry skills!

  • If you struggle to find a bra that fits you around your chest (ie. The number part of a bra – 32D) try on bras that fit your boobs, but perhaps are too big (or small) around your chest. The reason for this is that you should make new straps, so the size of the straps doesn’t really matter. And seamlessly (heh) onto my next point…
  • Cut all of your straps off your bra! I usually keep the straps on until the last minute, just incase something goes wrong. I also make my straps with denim fabric. It’s cheap, I have a lot of it and it goes a really long way! I know of other people using buckram and grosgrain ribbon, but I’m not sure we get that at our fabric stores. I never cut the straps off at the bra base either. Most bras have that tiny vertical line on the straps, close to the bra base. Sometimes it has a small piece of wire in it, other times it’s just folded fabric. I cut it off on the outside of that strap, so that I can get the angle right when adding side straps. Here is my “pattern” for side straps, if you’re interested:
  • Always, always, ALWAYS cover your bra! There is no excuse for this, except laziness! Your bra shouldn’t look like lingerie. It should look like a costume bra, part of a bedlah, whatever. Just not like something you wear under your clothes. My suggestion would be not to use stretchy fabric, but cotton or something similar. For a first-time costumer, I wouldn’t use a chiffon or “slippery” fabric. I wouldn’t use anything too shiny either, because shiny fabric tends to slip a lot. It can be very frustrating! Another useful tip when costuming is don’t be afraid to layer fabrics! This is something I still don’t do enough, but when done correctly it can look amazing and really unique!  (Ozma does this beautifully!)
  • When you’ve cut off your straps, added new straps and covered your bra, you’re ready to begin embellishing your costume! This is probably the most fun part for me, because I feel like I can be really creative from this point on. It’s also exciting because I can cover up any mistakes or ugly sewing I did! Hehe! My first piece of advice is to throw the glue gun away! Yes, yes, glue is quick and easy. But it’s not so quick and easy when you make a mistake or want to change something. Learn to sew sequins and beads onto fabrics – start with a square of scrap denim and try out some patterns on there and see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Try on your bra every step of the way! Don’t assume that it fits well! Sometimes small alterations have to be done, and it’s best to catch it every time you finish a step, rather than realising it at the end when it’s all done!

I hope that I’ve covered everything, and if you need to know anything don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me via my Contact page above.

The super useful links are as follows:

Ozma’s Costumes (Facebook Page) – she doesn’t give straight up advice, so you have to browse through her albums and look at her pictures because in the captions she gives a lot of advice.

Naima’s Bellydance Blog: She does excellent step-by-step tutorials and gives a LOT of advice! Her skills are amazing and all of her costumes are excellent! (And she writes about other belly dance related things too – so it’s overall a great blog to follow!)

Shushanna Designs: How to make costumes: She has amazing tips and tricks and her posts are all worth a read!

There are so many more places to get costuming tips, but those are the ones I visit regularly when I need advice! 🙂

xx

A slight rant about costuming

I write this blog post with a fair amount of regret & sadness.

I am regretful that those who know all these things have to hear it again. I’m sad because I have to repeat it for those that still do not know.

I’m talking about costuming and choosing the correct costume and general costume awareness. It’s unfortunate that all of this has to be said time and time again, but I think people forget and I admit – it’s easy to forget – but that’s no excuse for shabby dressing!

So the first thing I want to bring to your attention is something that seems to have slipped many a mind in the last couple of months, because I keep seeing it on reputable dancers! That is, of course, the short skirt. *cue lightning and dramatic music* So I have been seeing quite a few dancers wearing short skirts like this:

While short skirts in theory aren’t awful, it does take something away from belly dancing. Or at least, I think so. If you’re not a dancer, you won’t know that a lot of belly dance moves are powered by the legs. And not in the same way that ballet is powered by the legs, belly dance leg power is a secret affair and I feel that showing so much of your legs can take away from that “wow! How does she do it?!” effect. I remember when I started classes, I was very surprised at how much your legs move.

Another (silly) reason not to wear a short skirt is that very few people have nice looking knees. You’ll very often find that when models pose, they bend their knees in some way, or turn away from the camera. It’s not often that you’ll see a model standing straight on with straight legs. I’ve always thought that knees can look like demented cherub faces.

This next point/peeve kind of overlaps with the short skirt thing, and that is DRESS FOR YOUR VENUE. This also goes for props – because if you’re dancing at a restaurant between tables, dancing with a cane is probably not a good idea.

If you’re dancing at a venue where you have a raised stage, wearing a short skirt is NOT appropriate, not matter who you are. I have been at 2 events in the last while where I saw a lot more than I wanted to. One of them was a short skirt wearer. I don’t want to spend half the dance in a ‘car crash can’t-look-away’ mode, waiting for you to show your panties (or lack thereof). There’s only so much of your thighs I want to see.

The other one was a dancer who was wearing a GORGEOUS costume, but it unfortunately didn’t work with the choreography or the venue. It was a tight, Egyptian style skirt, and it was quite a fashionable style a while back. The problem was that it had a MASSIVE slit right up the middle of the skirt… And the choreography included an Indian style leg-open pose. I was, unfortunately, sitting right in front and could see EVERYTHING. It’s such a gorgeous costume that it deserves to be worn, all the time! I think a simple chiffon skirt underneath could make it more versatile though.

This brings me to my next point: Skirt slits.

This is a bit controversial, as I can name a number of people who disagree with me. J I do believe that you shouldn’t have a skirt slit so high that I’m distracted. Your costume should always enhance your dancing, and never detract from it. Full skirts are a lot more forgiving when it comes to slits, because they tend to fall really nicely around your legs. That being said, I think that skirts should be full, with slits added into them. Not bits of fabric with a giant gap between the front and the back. I’ve seen costumes where the dancer has 2 panels of fabric and the one on her butt barely covered it – it didn’t wrap around to the front fully, it stopped just as it got past her butt. Your lady-bits are also worth more than just a scrap of fabric. Make sure it’s covered and for GOODNESS SAKE – WEAR DANCE SHORTS. Not a g-string or hot-pants. Dance shorts.

Another trend that has come to light recently is see-through skirts. I don’t know WHY this is a trend, perhaps it’s just an unfortunate thing when buying from a cheap vendor or perhaps it’s a shock value thing.

Let me tell you, you’re not Lady Gaga. You are not there to shock people, scare them away or get religious organizations angry with you. Make sure that your costumes aren’t see-through. A good way to test this (if it’s not obvious) is to ask somebody to take a photo of you (at night, preferably) with the camera flash ON. Camera flashes are mean and usually cut through cheaper/lightweight fabric. I’ve had this happen to me, don’t let it happen to you! A way to prevent this is to layer your skirts/costume. Layering 2 or 3 chiffon skirts on top of each other will stop it from being see through.

The last thing I have to rant to you about is how low your skirt/pants sit. This usually requires a general knowledge of how the body looks. I realize that not every body is the same, but you need to find what works for you. Many a time I have seen dancers with very low sitting costumes and I am sure I am going to get a flash of lady-bits at any moment. NOT something you want your audience to be thinking.

I have a very short torso, made all that much shorter-looking by my scar, so I put my pants as low as I can get them to make me look longer. I never make them too low though. I was always told that my costumes should sit 4-fingers below my belly button. I’ve always used this as a rule, and it’s served me well. If you’re not sure – ASK you classmates/teacher. If you have a longer torso, you might need to pull up your pants more than normal because it might look low even if it isn’t that low. Your pants should sit on your hips. NOT your pelvis.

The last, but VERY important one is: ALWAYS wear a cover-up when you are not performing. There is no argument about this, there is no “but” – if you are not physically on stage, dancing, cover yourself up. It’s distracting to an audience to see a non-covered up dancer and it’s just plain rude to do that to a fellow dancer. If you can’t afford a fancy one, just do what I do and take a big coat to wear for when you’re not on stage. No excuses!

I think that’s all the ranting I can muster for this blog post, if there is something I have left out that you feel is worth mentioning, comment below. J

Also, I revamped my blog and now it looks all pretty. What do you think? x

Blue Costume Remake – a blog post of photos

Remember a while ago, I said I’d be remaking my blue costume? If you don’t remember, click here to view that post.

Well, I went to the fabric shop and got a bit carried away, as usual. BUT, I managed to buy some gorgeous fabric to use to remake this costume! And since I had finished my purple costume (A blog post for another day!) I was on a bit of a roll and I just kept going. So instead of writing out a whole long post, here are some photos of all my hard work. 🙂
As a side note, I have never done intricate beading on a costume before, so this was a first for me!

A lovely blue skirt my mom made for me. Yay mom! 😀

I chose this style of costume because of the incredible SUPPORT it gives to my… erm… girls. I’m definitely going to be doing this in future.

Another choice of skirt, I like the purple in this skirt because it brings out the purple/blue fabric in the bra.

 

As a final note: This costume is not done, I still want to add fringing to it – a small amount on the bra and then heavier fringing on the belt.

 

What do you think? 🙂

x

Miscellaneous Catch up

Welcome back!

I know, I’ve been absent for 2 months, but a lot of dance related drama has been going through my head and I’ve had a bit of stuff to deal with. But it’s all sorted now and I can look forward to 2012, which is already looking better than 2011!

I have been doing a fair bit of costuming, I made a new Tribal Fusion bra from bits and pieces bought at Geka and lovely faux suede fabric in a chocolate brown colour – ooh! I realized how many things I have in browny shades for my bottom half and that I only had 2 black fusion bras, but nothing brown to go with my brown pants or cream coloured wraps. Below is a very bad photo of this new bra – just taken with my phone. I will find and upload a nicer photo at some point.  I still want to do a bit of work to it, without overwhelming it with things. The problem is that it looks full and great up close but when I wear it in the studio it doesn’t look like much from far away. Hmm. Ideas? Also, the dark brown lace on the sides is insanely itchy which is great for keeping my arms up and not letting them drop but it does leave ugly marks on me after I take my bra off. Ah, the joy of sensitive skin!

In other costuming news, I have taken apart my blue cabaret costume. I realize I never posted photos of the finished product, but I have one or two from our show that I will post. After seeing the DVD of the show, I realized that there was too much wrong with it. Firstly, I am a rather short person (1.58m = 5 feet 2 inches) so having a belt on that was so wide just didn’t suit me and made me look shorter, especially with such long fringing! Then the bra had collapsed and gone soft so it didn’t fit properly, the straps were badly designed for my body type… I could go on. I’m sure you understand now why I decided to take apart the old bra and belt and make something new. Also – the shiny fabric was awful to work with and I wouldn’t mind working with just a plain cotton fabric.  So that is a future project… I have ideas of what to do with the long fringe because it’s too long, but I don’t think I’ll say what the plan is until it’s done. Otherwise I might fail miserably and then be the laughing stock of all belly dancers ever.

In other news – Kash from Rhythm Nouveau Dance Company is hosting Heather from Tribal Angels up in Joburg for a few ATS workshops! I am unfortunately dirt poor so I can only attend ONE of the workshops – boo! – however, Maya has also been asked to perform at the hafla which is being hosted on the Saturday night. I will be performing my solo from the BellyRing Hafla last year and Maya will be performing Lunar which we also performed at the Oriental Festival last year. I just need to wait a bit of time and then I can upload our performance of Lunar at the Oriental Festival. It’s an amazing dance and we loved learning and performing it.

In preparation for the hafla and workshops, we are doing ATS  every week until the end of February. We haven’t done ATS in a while, and I had forgotten just how much I love it. I am the first person to admit that it’s not always exciting to watch, but performing it and doing the moves and having great interactions with the other dancers is AMAZING. I might be in love all over again! 😉

Well, that’s all for now. Hopefully I will be posting more and more… if there is a topic you would like me to cover or an argument you feel like having me rant about, then please email me or leave a comment! At the top of the page you will find a “contact” page and you can find my email address there. 🙂

Costuming advice

There are plenty of gorgeous belly dance costumes out there to take inspiration from… but what about the not-so-nice ones? Often we might look at a costume and say “wow – that’s gorgeous!” and then our friend/troupe member will say “Ugh. It looks like it’s looking at me!” and then all you see when looking at that particular costume are the “eyes”! So I thought that I’d give you some of my wisdom collected & picked up on over the years (haha – a whole 3!) for tips & hints when it comes to costuming!

If you are making a bra – COVER it first! Nothing is worse than a belly dancer up on stage in what looks to be a lingerie bra. Cover the underwire (and not just with sequins or a strip of decorations!), you won’t regret putting in that extra bit of effort that can really make a difference.

SAFETY PINS! They should become your new best friend. Get yourself to a cheap R5 store and buy a whole box full (they’re cheap, I promise!) Don’t rely on them to hold your costume up – ever – but use them for extra protection – you never know when you might feel that belt slipping off!

When you see a costume you like at a vendor, try it on! Don’t look at it and think that it might fit, you don’t want to waste your money. Check your desired costume all over! Look for missing sequins, loose threads, broken clasps, everything. I know it’s horrible to be cynical like that, but you’re the customer, and you have a right to quality in a costume (esp for the price some of them cost 0_o)

Once you have tried your costume on, find a mirror (or a friend) and stand FAR away from them. (as far as the store will allow) Look at the costume from a distance – does it still look gorgeous, or does it look strange? Often we can see something we really like and don’t think about what it will look like on a stage – it’s important to check this!

Ask friends, family & troupe members to help you decide on a colour. Not everybody can pull of a white costume with pink fringing – no matter how good it looks on Susan from the other dance school. 🙂

Buy something that fits properly… please! Don’t buy a B cup bra when you’re actually a D cup – it does NOT look good!

Don’t buy a costume to “fix up” if you can’t sew! A lot of work goes into costumes, and if you can’t sew, then it wouldn’t be an investment to buy a broken costume – but a loss.

If you’re one of those people who tend to grow and shrink often, put some elastic in your skirts/pants!

If you have a skirt with a slit, don’t make it TOO high… nobody wants to see your panties (or lack thereof!) when you’re twirling around!

If you’re doing floorwork, please, (PLEASE) wear pants! Not only will it prevent your legs from hurting on the floor, but it’s just much prettier!

Be on the lookout for nipple tassels, eyes, crassels (crotch tassels) and weird crotch embellishments! (examples below!)

Check out the Bellydance Forum’s “Thought Provoking Bellydance Costumes” to get an idea of what not to do! (I’m Azrael on the forum, btw!)

And lastly, I’d like to repeat my biggest peeve – Please cover your bra’s ladies! 🙂

Examples!:

Well covered bra!

No, this DOESN'T fit!

An example of nipple tassels AND a non covered bra...

Just please... NO!

Beware of bra's that go the circle route! Can look bad from far!

There are some really strange things out there - beware!

For those of you weary of online stores – I know how you feel! You don’t know whether you’ll get your things, or if it’ll even fit! But I’d like to point you in the direction of my friend, Amy, who runs The Gypsy Kiss store on Etsy (go have a look!) she’s reliable, and although she doesn’t cover her bra’s – she DOES do custom designs for them! So you tell her your size and what you want, and she’ll do it! 🙂 Her hair pieces & bindi’s are AMAZING! So have a look and treat yourself. 🙂 You never know what you’ll find!

I hope that you enjoyed this costuming advice!

Loyalty to a studio

Hi all! This is just a quick post because I have to leave for class in an hour! It’s actually a topic I’ve been wanting to write about for a while, but never really found the inspiration/push to write it – until now! I got a phone call an hour ago and it was from somebody who got my number from a friend (which friend??)  & she wanting to hire me for a hen party (bachelorette party). Without thinking I told her that she would have to phone Frieda, my teacher, because she handles bookings. The woman then asked me if she couldn’t just book me through me? I told her that I don’t handle those things and proceeded to give her Frieda’s number. When I put the phone down, it struck me again how fiercely loyal I am to out studio.

There are often moments where I realise that I’m so loyal to my studio I think I’d feel guilty attending classes if I moved! haha! On Shira.net she writes about loyalty in a studio, and we don’t agree on this point. 🙂 I think that there is a certain amount of loyalty that a dancer has to show to the studio. In our studio, we’re asked to sign a contract if we move to an advanced/intermediate class and it simply states that we won’t attend studios within a certain amount of kms (kilometers) surrounding our studio while we’re still a part of Maya Studio (ours) and that the teacher will do her best to educate us correctly in Middle Eastern Dance, etc, etc. I understand if somebody wants to move because they’re not learning anymore but at this point, I’m actually learning with my teacher which is nice because although she’s been dancing for a lot longer, I feel more “equal” to her than any other teacher around. Also, we’re asked not to teach our studio dances to other people because that’s just NOT on!! I’m really keen to hear what your views are on loyalty to a studio — let me know in the comments!!

Also, my friend who wanted to join classes has joined! But with a studio closer to where she and I live 😦 When I started bellydance we never had a studio in our town, so I drive 20minutes to get to my classes. I’m a bit disappointed that my friend won’t be joining classes with us at the moment because we can’t choreograph together (what studio do we put it under??) or do costuming together because her new teacher is getting them to pay a certain amount and then they’ll get their costumes made. Which isn’t an idea I’m mad about because one style does NOT suit all! I think it would be nicer to have a colour scheme and then it’s up to the dancer how she makes her costume/gets it made. But my friend seems to be enjoying it 🙂 And she said that she does want to do fusion so she might come to us eventually. Personally, I think she wants a little bit of doing it on her own first without me. 🙂 Which I can understand because of the need to be independent!

On a happier note! 🙂 My grandparents are visiting for a while and my gran brought down some jewellery for me! A set of earrings and a necklace which are STUNNING!! I love them! I really do love this old vintage style stuff… And then I asked me gran if she has any lace tablecloths or something similar that she doesn’t want that I could perhaps use? So my mom says she has one that’s getting holes in it, so she gets it out of the cupboard and I immediately cut a hole in the middle and used it as a ‘floof’! 🙂 I am happy now… 🙂

The pretty necklace...

Pretty earrings!

Vintage floof - open (blurry pic because my mom took it!) 🙂

Vintage floof closed!

Let me know what your thoughts are on loyalty and my new things! 🙂

Also, tell me if there is a topic you want me to cover? Would love to know!

Costuming Dilemmas galore!

I’ve gotten almost nowhere with my pink/purple costume, because I need advice and help and that’s slightly limited at home. Plus, I’ve just started my photography course (you can see my photo blog here!) so I’ve been a bit busy, although I have a feeling that this is as quiet as this year is going to get!

I had a massive costuming slump since finishing sewing the sequins in the butterfly pattern. I wasn’t sure if I really liked the design, or if it was cheap-looking or what. Also, I had no idea what to do with the belt, considering I only had a picture of the bra. Oh, and the other dilemma was that the bra I had bought didn’t fit me as well as I thought it did. I remember why I bought it – because it came higher on the sides, which is a problem when I buy bras because they all have teeny-tiny cups claim to be a “C” or “D”. The problem with this bra is that it comes in very low in the front… VERY low. So I was having costumers remorse. Until I stuffed the pink skirt material in my bra, because you know how normal that is! And I came up with this:

I thought it covered up without covering up quite nicely! If I continue the original design (you can see it in the previous post) where those purple satin-looking things come up the sides (I’ll obviously do pink) then it actually makes my chest look smaller. The belt dilemma has sort of been sorted out too! When I did the bra, the style of the belt came to me in a flash! I really like the style of this belt of Sarah Skinner (even though I really don’t like her much…)

I just like that wrap-around effect and the chunky belt buckle. But now I’m not sure if I have the right material… Because when I went with my mom to buy the skirt material, I bought 2m of cerise pink material. We soon realised that it wasn’t enough so I went to another material shop with my sister to buy more of it. And I ended up buying a lighter colour pink… *Whoops!* So I was thinking of making the skirt the cerise pink, and the light pink the wrap around belt. But then I’m worried it’s too pink and not enough purple in it? Your advice?? So many costuming dilemmas! Then I have to get started on my tribal outfit as well… But I need a vision first, and it starts with colour… which I still haven’t decided what to match with the cream colour. Joanna did suggest purple, but after doing this skirt, I’m pretty sick of purple…

I’ll [hopefully] post another blog post next week! One of the reasons I didn’t post a blog last week was because I was annoyed about something belly dance related and I knew that if I wrote a blog post, it would be a rant, and that’s not nice to read. 🙂 I’ll see how class goes this week!

Costume-making frenzy!

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to make a seriously glitzy cabaret belly dance outfit because I’ve outgrown my last one! I settled on horrifically bright colours – pink and orange!! I managed to get a bit of the bra done but then I lost all my inspiration for making the outfit and I just left it in a corner. Recently, my sister came to stay with us for a few days and she took me to get some material which resulted in me changing the whole outfit. 🙂 Still pink, but I scrapped the orange and decided on purple!

Belly-bra progress!

The skirt I want to make will look similar to the one in this video from my friend Ebony of EbonyIvoryBellydance YouTube fame. 🙂 I like the slits and half circle back half (although my slits won’t be as high up)! I think it flows really nicely and will look awesome once I’m done. It’ll be the bright pink material (as shown below) then covered with a clear purple material so that the pink material is still visible but not as harshly. That’s for the back half-circle piece. The front I think I’ll keep pink… hmm..

PIIIIIINK!!

Now this is where I need YOUR help, desperately!! The original plan was to have pink and orange with gold embellishments, but now that I’ve swapped the purple and the orange, I’m thinking maybe I should use silver embellishments instead?

I have an ‘inspiration’ book, where I sketch ideas for outfits, and (only recently) print pictures and glue sequins into the book for colour ideas. So I thought I’d give you a look into that book with some pictures!

The Cover

Inside

The latest piece

My mini-choreo book

And here are the close ups of the two pieces I’m pulling for inspiration for the purple outfit!

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Sorry for this INCREDIBLY long post!! 🙂 Let me know what you think of everything! Comments are always welcome! And please subscribe on the —> side!