Tag Archives: skirt

Purple Batik Costume – Week 5

Purple Batik BraThis week I made the bra and arm cuffs. The bra was a little difficult as it was necessary to stitch pieces of patterned fabric together to look as if it was one continuous piece. The trim over the section where the neckties are attached also had to have a piece of fabric appliquéd over the top so that it gave a nice finish to the edge.

The back of the bra was finished with some elastic encased in lycra with a bra hook and eye closure for a secure closing. The neck ties were also made in a lycra so there is a little give around the neck for comfort.

 

Batik Skirt – BlackSheep BellyDance

I have a Black Sheep Tribal Belly dance performance coming up and I realised that I didn’t have a nice full skirt to wear, so I decided that I’d have to make one and may as well do a complete costume while I was at it.

I’d heard a lot about 25 meter skirts and was intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. I assumed from the name it would have 25 meters worth of fabric, but with a little research it seems to be a 25 meter hem circumference making a very full skirt!

As this was my first skirt of this sort I had the idea of making a 10 meter one. Im quite short and thought I’d see what sort of effect this gave me as I was a little worried that 25 mtrs could swamp me.

I chose some pretty batik fabrics which I’d hem each tier with a black contrast band. I worked out all my measurements for meterage in each tier and used the Golden Ratio to have a natural looking ratio between each of the tier depths.

There was a lot of gathering and overlocking in this skirt!

The overall effect of the skirt is wonderful it has a lot of movement as the cotton is quite light in weight. The busyness of the fabric also adds to the movement and vibrance of the skirt.

BlackSheep skirt

Now onto the bra, falls and maybe a belt too!

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.

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

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

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.

Design

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.