Monthly Archives: May 2012

Tribal Fusion Costume Week 3 – Stabilizing the Bra – Part 1

Last week I covered working with the client to produce a final design for the costume. This week I started the actual construction process of the costume with one of the most important steps to decorate a belly dance bra.

You need to start with a fairly sturdy underwired padded bra that fits well – the last thing you want to think about while performing is an uncomfortable/ill fitting bra.

The next step is to stabilize the bra before adding base fabrics or embellishments. This will give you a sturdy base on which to build and will ensure that the bra doesn’t collapse under the weight of all the trims. Tribal fusion coins or even bead work can end up being heavier than you’d imagine!

I usually find heavyweight interfacing to be the best way to do this. I used one layer for this costume because I intend to cover the bra with an extra layer of interfaced fabric. Some bras might need two layers especially if there’s going to be a lot of heavy trim or if the main outer fabric isn’t going to be stiffened.

While it’s not always necessary, I cut away the bra straps for this costume – I’ll be replacing them with a halter-style top later on. I then began to pin the interfacing in place around the outside of the bra.


Starting the pinning from the center between the cups up to the highest points where the straps are attached to the cups gives a nice clean edge to the inner curves. While pinning I made sure that the interfacing was smoothed and darted where necessary. You’ll usually find you need to a dart from the bust point to the lower outer edge of the underwire and another from just below the bust point to the bottom edge of the cup.

After pinning the interfacing it needs to be stitched in place, this will have to be done by hand starting with the darts and then working from the center of the bra all the way around the edge. Once this is done all the excess interfacing can be cut away. Be prepared for a lot of hand stitching while covering the bra – there isn’t much that can be done by machine.


Once all this is complete you’ll end up with a nice stable bra that’s now ready to have an outer fabric applied. Next week I’ll be drafting patterns for the bra and belt so that outer fabrics, lining and interfacing can be all cut to fit each other.

Thanks for Reading if you have any questions please let me know.

Tribal Fusion Costume Week 2 – Final Design

Lat week I covered the initial draft process – I came up with three designs that met Lyza’s criteria and gave a brief summary of them. This week I will be discussing how we came to the final design and where we go from here.

We arranged a meeting in a lovely cafe in Aberystwyth where I took along my designs, some fabric, and metal embellishment samples. We discussed her favourite elements of each design, the fabrics she liked and any other comments.

At this point make sure that your client knows that they are free to be harsh with their comments about the designs. This can teach you just as much about the design they want.

It turned out that we both liked design 2 the best but there was a few elements from the other designs that we mixed in to it to create the final design. In particular she loved the base fabrics, trims and chains from design 3.

The base fabric from the third design combined with the red velvet really jazzed up the bra and the tarnished sequins from the same design turned out to work really well lining the inner edge of the halter straps. Two changes that really made the design feel a lot more coherent.

To accentuate certain movements such as shimmies and flutters the chain configuration was just copied over from the third design. Chains are a great way to add movement to a costume – they are also great for a little bit of extra jingling.

It’s sometimes tempting to keep adding embellishments to a design, sure it’s nice to have a shiny full costume, but always try to keep a good balance between weight, cost and considered design. Too many bits can spoil the broth… or the costume.

Final Design Detail Final Design

The design really came in to its own this week – I feel like I have a clear grasp of where the costume is going and how it meets Lyza’s needs.

Next week I will be starting the costume! First step is to create patterns, buy materials and stabilize the bra.

If you have any questions about Week 2 get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.