Tag Archives: Chthonia

Tribal Fusion Costume Week 7 – Finished


Here is the costume which I have been taking you through over the last few posts.

This is after a performance at the Llanfairfechan Summer Sapphire Hafla. Click here to see Lyza Chthonia dancing in her tribal fusion costume.

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 1 – Initial Designs

I’ve been a big fan of belly dance, particularly tribal-style since I was young – it’s inspired a lot of my costume creations including a few full belly dance costumes for myself, so I was really excited to be asked to create a bespoke costume for the dancer Lyza of Chthonia Bellydance.

I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to document the whole process from idea to creation here on my blog, sharing my process and hopefully some helpful hints and tips for making your own costumes. I’m hoping this will be a weekly thing as I work on the costume – this week I’ll start with the planning and design.

It’s really important that the costume you are creating is what the customer wants. Having a meeting with them is usually the best way to find out what they’re hoping to get out of it – whether they have any design preferences, a style of dance which the costume needs to work with, and most importantly, their personality and character as a dancer so the final design is something that represents and is unique to them - this is a custom costume after all.

One of the first things I did when designing the costume was to come up with a few initial drafts based on my chats with Lyza and from my impressions of her style. Her main criteria was to have something with an earthy look including reds, browns, and golds so my initial designs were largely based around these colours.

Its always a good idea to make sure that there is a good variety in your designs. Forcing yourself to think outside of that one image you have in your head will open up possibilities that you may not have thought about. you might even find that the client ends up liking this different direction too. There is also no harm in mixing and matching elements from each design so the more variety you have in the designs, the more options you and the client will have to decide from.

Design 1 

This design had a very flamenco styling to it – drawing from the frilly saloon girl designs used a few years ago by the Belly Dance Superstars tribal group. Layering harem pants over skirts gives a full look and an immense amount of movement during dancing.


Design 2 

By far my favourite design of the three. This uses the halter neck straps that are similar to other tribal fusion costumes and includes Kuchi Brasstone coins as opposed to the tarnished silver ones which seem to more widely available. I find these give a lovely rich feeling to the costume and are a great way to fulfill the need for gold.


Design 3

I love the loose ruffled lacy fabric over the shoulder straps on this one, when you are creating a decorated bra, you don’t want it too look like a boring bra that came from a high street store, this is a great way to do that.

The hanging layered yarn threads and hip scarves create a more cutesy design than I was hoping for this costume.


The next step of the process is to work with Lyza on a final design that she is happy with. I’ll cove more about that in next weeks blog.

If you have any questions or comments on week 1 I’d love to hear them.