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Thread: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?




  1. #1
    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    I ramble too much, and can never write a concise post here. Sorry.

    I'm making a costume, for no particular reason but to see that I can...

    I made a test Turkish-vest-with-sleeves from the Simplicity Ghawazee coat pattern that came out rather well. I used some pink brocade that I happened to have (I have supplies of random fabric squirreled away from old projects or bought with notions of unrealized projects...I'm sure no one here can relate, right?) I sent a photo of the finished jacket to my mother, adding that I didn't know how I'd embellish it or even if I would. She sent me a kind of V-shaped applique of lace with AB-type sequins and pearls...and of course this being my mother, there was no explanation because I knew what she intended. So I pinned it to the jacket, and have to agree it might work. Bad photo attached.

    It inspired me to make a whole costume. Since I had stuff on hand to do it, and I don't want to wear that top in the photo under it, I decided to make a bra and belt, covering them with winter-white non-moire taffeta. Bra is done; belt will be covered this weekend. I also have a pair of shalwar that were given to me that are winter white, with embroidery in a hearts-and-paisley motif with little mirrors. I intended these to be one of the pants I wear under not-quite-full-length skirts, but the maintenance they will need because of those mirrors makes me balk at having them as everyday wear, and they're too long anyway. Elastic at the ankles; et voila. They look spiffy, and i can wear them.

    I have this image of making a kind of deliberately-Orientalist-type costume, and have been looking at a lot of Orientalist art and photos of fin-de-siecle Ottoman Empire women for inspiration.

    To decorate bra and belt...which is going to be an ongoing thing as budget and serendipity allows...and not have it look like "I grabbed everything that might work when I was at JoAnn's": the pearls and AB sequins/crystals? Check. Lace...? Bhuz is invaluable for what to do and what not to do, and one thing stands out: lace appliques really can look amateurish, and like bridalwear gone astray.

    So my question: can you ever use lace and NOT have it look that way? I'm seeing that Ottoman women did embellish their outfits with lace -- sometimes a lot of lace (this is true also of Algerian women of the time), so it wouldn't be totally out of left field in evoking that feeling. (this is not going to be Historically Accurate, but I'd like it to have some accuracy nods, IYKWIM). But can I avoid "bellydance wedding on a budget" or "missed attempt at romantic steampunk"? Especially as the bra and belt and pants are winter-white?

    Right now the lace embellishment is pinned until I can get other opinions, and the only embellishment on either bra or belt is a trim of dangling AB-crystal hearts tacked across the bra cups, which I think I like the look of...

    Thanks!
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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    The idea sounds lovely. The bra and vest in the picture are nice. Due to being less-than-fastidious I rarely wear white, winter white, etc. Between transporting and wearing costumes I find the lighter shades are not a good choice for me. That plus I am very fair-skinned, I need color. Congrats on finding motivation in your stash and proceeding with the project. Please post more pictures, maybe a series of the process.
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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by showtime View Post
    The idea sounds lovely. The bra and vest in the picture are nice. Due to being less-than-fastidious I rarely wear white, winter white, etc. Between transporting and wearing costumes I find the lighter shades are not a good choice for me. That plus I am very fair-skinned, I need color. Congrats on finding motivation in your stash and proceeding with the project. Please post more pictures, maybe a series of the process.
    Thanks!

    Oh, just to clarify, that's not the bra in the photo -- it's a top from my attempts at tribal :) The bra is a one-size-bigger strapless covered the usual way with straps added and new sidewall-reinforcement. I should probably add a photo of it!

    The color combination works well on me, for reasons I don't understand (I'm dark-haired, and you can't tell in the pic because I look flushed, but my skin is a kind of light olive -- the icon picture is more accurate).


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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    OK; I was going to edit the last comment but was having trouble, so new comment.

    Here is the bra, in glaring flash. I tried to crop it to avoid all 'pit visibility, but was not entirely successful (and I've just discovered it's awkward to photograph your own bra top!) The straps are crisscrossed in back; I pulled the fabric down over the underwires since I am planning on adding a border of some kind (dunno if I like the way it looks here). You can see the darts at the top of the cup through the top layer of fabric, and I added a band of elastic at the top of the bra cups before covering to snug them up (don't remember where I read the idea, but it really does seem to work, although it shows a bit here in that the tops of the cups are not completely smooth). Since I'm planning on covering all of that and some of the visibility is due to harsh flash, I'm not fussed. The bands of little hearts are just tacked on.
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    Last edited by Tiziri; 05-04-2012 at 07:34 PM. Reason: clarification


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    Mega BHUZzer valeskah's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    For me, "It depends"...

    I love the new Hoda Zakis with lace:


    but I don't usually like the look of white or cream lace on a costume because, as you said before, it can look a bit "I just found these at the craft store and threw them on a costume" or "bellydance wedding on a budget"! Plus I can't wear white - my skin is too pale.

    I like the look of what you're doing though - the different textures and the pink help to even the whites out.


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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Obviously I neglected to address your actual question. My apologies. My opinion regarding lace on costumes depends on how it is incorporated. Years ago I saw a creation by Leila Gamal. She applied a colored lace over the belt and bra base and added beaded accents. From a distance it was stunning, the entire base appeared beaded or embroidered. Up-close it was also stunning. The lace and bases were two different colors, the contrast was lovely. Lace as appliques then embellished can be stunning. Otherwise it tends to remind me of the little ribbon bow in the center of many bras. Cutsie but what is the purpose? (I always remove the satin bows.) I have often dyed lace in several colors so I would have varied colors for appliques.
    Last edited by showtime; 05-04-2012 at 07:47 PM.
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    Master BHUZzer beafarhana's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    It's another "it depends" from me. I hate most of the pre-made lace appliqués you see in shops, they seem a bit twee.

    When I made my own lace costume, I bought a length of lace "fabric"

    and I used the lace motifs to create my own appliqués

    which I applied and then embellished with rhinestones.


    I may be biased, but I think it worked out well!


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    Official BHUZzer Devora's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Beatrice, that bra is gorgeous! I think you've answered the lace question with a resounding "yes!"

    -Devora
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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    After seeing the lovely lace costume posted after my last post I realized I did not express myself clearly, yet again. I prefer lace fabric to create appliques. I find stretch lace is particularly nice but it is not always available in the styles I prefer. Often the only option is floral and I prefer abstracts, but with work florals can usable.


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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by showtime View Post
    After seeing the lovely lace costume posted after my last post I realized I did not express myself clearly, yet again. I prefer lace fabric to create appliques. I find stretch lace is particularly nice but it is not always available in the styles I prefer. Often the only option is floral and I prefer abstracts, but with work florals can usable.
    Quote Originally Posted by beafarhana View Post
    It's another "it depends" from me. I hate most of the pre-made lace appliqués you see in shops, they seem a bit twee.
    Ahhh, I see exactly what both of you mean (also, yes...that's wonderful!)

    It seems like the thing to avoid is just having something that looks kind of like it was just pasted on so the garment would have some kind of decoration, rather than incorporated into the costume's design...

    In both the costumes posted here, the lace works to make the costumes drop-dead sexy, which is one of the most effective uses of lace (probably what I'm thinking of isn't going to be sexy, but I'm trying to avoid the pitfalls of some of the other effects...well, y'know. Overly cheesy romanticism, cutesy, underpant-bows, etc.)

    Quote Originally Posted by valeskah View Post
    but I don't usually like the look of white or cream lace on a costume because, as you said before, it can look a bit "I just found these at the craft store and threw them on a costume" or "bellydance wedding on a budget"! Plus I can't wear white - my skin is too pale.

    I like the look of what you're doing though - the different textures and the pink help to even the whites out.
    I think I'm also of the mind that the textures -- and that it does coordinate color-wise -- might make it work as a student-level thing (and really, considering my level and resources, I'm keeping my expectations realistic as to what's possible for me to do...I just don't want to make something horrible!)
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    Established BHUZzer mlacombe's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Recent made this one. Pics are not true to color as it is turquoise and chocolate brown.



    I love love love lace. It is so feminine and can help your budget as it lends itself to simpler beadwork to accompany it
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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Wow! That's a knockout!

    I love the way you did the roses!
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    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    With your obvious concerns you should have a great costume. You are gathering items and also welcoming feedback. Bhuz is such a great source of feedback and suggestions. Please share photos of the work in progress.
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    Mega BHUZzer gothique's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by mlacombe View Post
    Recent made this one. Pics are not true to color as it is turquoise and chocolate brown.



    I love love love lace. It is so feminine and can help your budget as it lends itself to simpler beadwork to accompany it
    Sorry to go off topic....is there a pattern for the roses?
    :)
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    Mega BHUZzer gothique's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    I love the look of lace!

    Sorry I don't have pics of one I made.

    I did as some of the others suggested. I used lace fabric, and cut out appliques, for the bra, and belt.

    And I used some of the lace scraps for insets on godets (unfortunately, I didn't complete the skirt), but I thought it was coming together rather nicely.
    (Black lace with metallic gold, on black satin).

    I also added embelishments (beading), to the lace on the bra and belt.

    Sorry I don't have pics, I gave it away.


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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by gothique View Post
    I love the look of lace!

    Sorry I don't have pics of one I made.

    I did as some of the others suggested. I used lace fabric, and cut out appliques, for the bra, and belt.

    And I used some of the lace scraps for insets on godets (unfortunately, I didn't complete the skirt), but I thought it was coming together rather nicely.
    (Black lace with metallic gold, on black satin).

    I also added embelishments (beading), to the lace on the bra and belt.

    Sorry I don't have pics, I gave it away.
    Ah, that sounds nifty. Definitely thinking now it's probably strongly advised to make one's own appliques...


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    There is something about white lace--it is so strongly identified with lingerie and bridal gowns--that it is particularly difficult to integrate into costumes, especially with prepackaged appliques. One option would be to try to un-whiten the applique a bit, by dying/fabric painting, or by deconstructing and replacing the pearly accents with a color or a metallic, or a combination of both approaches. I am a little concerned about the white lace on the vest looking JoAnn-y as it stands. If you could pull in some of the pink color, I think it would help.

    I'm also not sure about the combination of the vest with the lace plus the white bra with the AB trim. One of the hallmarks of JoAnn-itude would be the mixing of the pearl applique with the AB trim. If a professional costumer were working with these materials, it would probably be all of one or a lot of both, not pearls and lace here, and glass beads there. In another color, the concept might look funky and accessorized. In white, it unfortunately tends to look "craft store."

    What are you thinking for the top band of the bra? More lace? Sequins? Mirrors to match the shalwar? Something else? I usually don't like pearls on costumes unless it's sea themed or that vintage, extreme "treasure chest" look, so personally I would be moving away from pearls and toward other beads, maybe mixed with silver elements because of the mirrors (but gold might work, too, or even both together). I don't know if pink AB crystals are in your budget, but that would be one idea I would investigate. I might even try adding in some yellow or lavender (hard to tell what other colors might work), because the more color you can work in, the less bridal/lingerie it will seem. If you want a less flashy look, maybe even pastel-colored glass without the AB finish would be interesting, since that will still show up on a light background as subtle variations.

    Anecdotally, I want to guess that the AB crystals probably aren't authentic, and pearls would have been historically more likely. I'm guessing metallics, embroidery, and braiding would look more like what might have been on older clothing (LOL, but don't make the other JoAnn mistake of tricking yourself out like a Victorian footstool with obvious upholstery trim). If authenticity is not important, you can do anything you want with a fantasy costume.

    BTW, I like the bra and belt of the red-and-black Hoda, but I'm not feeling the shin-level appliques on the skirt. They feel tacked on like an afterthought to me. I'd have rather seen a black edging of some sort at the hem.


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    Established BHUZzer mlacombe's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    For the rose I picked apart a fabric rose from walmart (or wherever you can find one) and pinned each petal to the fabric, cut it out.. Used the little foam cone that was in the center of the flower and used hot glue (very carefully) to form the rose.

    I might try making the rose by sewing it together next time, but the glue worked really well!
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    Official BHUZzer nitewindz's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    I like lace. Like any other adornment, it can be overused and abused. I love the look of colored, black or metallic lace layered over a rich satin. I love ruffled lace at the edge of a sleeve flutter or added to the lower tiers of a ruffle skirt, or gracing the neckline of a Gypsy-inspired top.

    I really love Beafarahana and Mlacombes lace costumes! Amazing job, ladies!

    Then, there's the whole "white lace" thing. In Western culture, white lace is very closely associated with bridal wear and lingerie. I had a teacher once who forbid white or ivory costumes because she felt white bras looked too much like underwear and dresses too much like wedding gowns.

    Beyond that association, I think white lace is the easiest to abuse, and can make a good design look like a cheap attempt. Putting it over a contrasting color can help, but if not done carefully it can still have that "well it was on sale at Jo-Anns and I didn't want to spend a lot" look. White or ivory cotton and silk lace can be dyed deep and dramatic colors. I'd rather see dyed cotton lace than plain old white poly lace.

    I like the "vintage" or "Mata Hari" look, with layers of off-white and ivory pearls, lace, brocades and crystals. But, I think the key is to go all out with the look, totally overboard in fact. Anything less can look like a half-hearted attempt to thrown together from leftover bits of an unwanted wedding dress.
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    Official BHUZzer nitewindz's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Well... someone sent me a photo of their TF style white lace overskirts. It reinforced my belief that white poly lace can turn a good idea into bad with the blink of an eye. I like TF, I like lace, I do not like skirts that look like someone cut a hole in the center of a table cloth, or yanked Grandma's curtains off the window and wrapped them around the butt......Now if the skirts were black, or metallic, or a vibrant color or even a spectacular glitter print, they'd be fantastic. But not in white.
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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    There is something about white lace--it is so strongly identified with lingerie and bridal gowns--that it is particularly difficult to integrate into costumes, especially with prepackaged appliques. One option would be to try to un-whiten the applique a bit, by dying/fabric painting, or by deconstructing and replacing the pearly accents with a color or a metallic, or a combination of both approaches. I am a little concerned about the white lace on the vest looking JoAnn-y as it stands. If you could pull in some of the pink color, I think it would help.

    I'm also not sure about the combination of the vest with the lace plus the white bra with the AB trim. One of the hallmarks of JoAnn-itude would be the mixing of the pearl applique with the AB trim...In white, it unfortunately tends to look "craft store."...(snip for length)
    I gotta admit I was hoping you would weigh in, since I like your analysis of these things.

    I am edging toward the applique on the vest being JoAnn-y as it stands...I think it might better serve as inspiration than as decoration, but I do like the idea of having some form of decoration right there...so it might lead me to adapt the idea.

    For the top band of the bra, I was thinking of two things, possibly in combination: one, some kind of trim or fringe in AB or pearl (or even silver -- I was considering little mirrors as well) with dangly bits. Since I can't find exactly what I want so far, I was probably going to make this myself. The other is embroidery or beading (I am really patient and picky with my handsewing, so I'm not too afraid of it looking awful) in a motif that I've found -- on one of those old Ottoman photos (it's a young woman wearing what looks like it actually is a theatrical or dance ensemble, and she's wearing a little vest with this fabulous-yet-simple embroidered floral pattern)...I'm thinking probably in silver picked out with pearls and AB, but now you mention it, pink or another color could work.

    The AB I'm pretty sure is NOT authentic -- I just really happen to like the way AB crystal looks, and it goes well with the pink and winter-white (and this is definitely veering to fantasy reimagining using historic elements, so unless it really looks wrong...but I think maybe pink or other-colored stones as you say...hmmm...) Pearls? Yes, definitely authentic. And as you suggest, there tend to be a lot of them at once. Silver probably should be the other thing I use, thanks. I was on the fence about it, but it would so work, and probably take it out of any "bridal/underwear" arena. It is also clearly authentic. The "heart" motif shows up in photos, so not totally offbase.
    (cont'd...)


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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    You're right that many thing I've seen tends to use a lot of soutache and embroidery. Finding the kind of motifs used as far as pre-made braiding is probably impossible. But I can make those with the cord, I think, if I go that route. And yep: I don't want to look upholstered!

    As far as the lace goes...I've now definitely been talked out of using appliques (I was already headed away from it) Where I see lace used, it does occur as trim on the edges of things (sleeves, necklines). I'm especially looking at where it is used when the woman is wearing a jacket or vest. I found another picture of a pearl-bedecked Algerian woman wearing a kind of top (either blouse of two materials or vest and blouse) where the body of it is a light-colored brocade with a pattern very similar to the fabric I used (how cool is that?) The sleeves are sheer and lacy. I recalled this morning that somewhere in my stash I have some antique/vintage linens, some of which are lacy. I hate to cut up antiques, but some of it is stained/damaged in parts, and it's not being used anyhow, so if I could salvage something that would work and was a proper color match...I'm thinking something like jacket edging or additional sleeve flounces (mimicking those sleeves.) Maybe; not wedded to the idea if it won't work. Since the shalwar are hand-me-down and so not shiny-new, and the jacket fabric is muted, I think I can successfully use vintage fabric and not have it clash.

    (For anyone wondering why Algeria, mostly because it used to be Ottoman, so has a lot of those sartorial influences...plus the French, along with all the other things they did to the place, really strip-mined it for touristy images, so photos are easy to find...)


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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by nitewindz View Post
    Well... someone sent me a photo of their TF style white lace overskirts. It reinforced my belief that white poly lace can turn a good idea into bad with the blink of an eye. I like TF, I like lace, I do not like skirts that look like someone cut a hole in the center of a table cloth, or yanked Grandma's curtains off the window and wrapped them around the butt......Now if the skirts were black, or metallic, or a vibrant color or even a spectacular glitter print, they'd be fantastic. But not in white.
    Heheh...I know what you mean and this is exactly what I want to avoid. This is why while I'm thinking of cannibalizing vintage linens, I'm exploring with the notion very cautiously...Grandma's tablecloth, literally!


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiziri View Post
    I gotta admit I was hoping you would weigh in, since I like your analysis of these things.
    Thank you for the kind words!

    The other is embroidery or beading (I am really patient and picky with my handsewing, so I'm not too afraid of it looking awful) in a motif that I've found -- on one of those old Ottoman photos (it's a young woman wearing what looks like it actually is a theatrical or dance ensemble, and she's wearing a little vest with this fabulous-yet-simple embroidered floral pattern)...I'm thinking probably in silver picked out with pearls and AB, but now you mention it, pink or another color could work.
    In the grand tradition of randomly mashing everything in the Middle East together into one big cultural blob, this co-op sells small strips of traditional Palestinian embroidery as bracelets and headbands for $5-6, and they'll do custom work, so you could probably request the strips unfinished. I don't know if they would do beading, but even if you beaded over the top of the embroidery yourself, it might still be worth considering if it's a style you like. Bracelets, Necklaces, Headbands, & Keychains « Embroidery from Palestine


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    Established BHUZzer Tiziri's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Tourbeau: that's a great idea -- I will definitely look into what they can do when I have a chance. I'm thinking beading over/with the embroidery would probably be a good way to have both the semi-vintage-folkloric feel while making it blingy enough.


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    Official BHUZzer lauraw's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Don't have closeups, but here are costumes with lace my partner and I made:
    Attached Images


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    Master BHUZzer Qamar60's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    I love BD costumes with lace accents:

    This "Vixen" by Eman Zaki the one of the favorites among dancers... (comes in different versions)


    Like lovely Angelica


    Princess Faranah with black lace appliques on nude


    Same Eman (Khalida) but in black and red


    And now Eman's sister: Hoda Zaki


    Dancer Dina likes lace too!


    This one by Katalin Schafer from Hungary


    Not to forget, Bellydance direct sale bodystocking!


    Need I say more?


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    In the process of trying to match the costume Nagwa is wearing in the video from the Khaleeji thread, I came across another potential lead for trims. I'm not terribly encouraged by presence of the 2007 calendar in the store (at least they recognize it's out of date), but you could contact them if they have something that catches your eye. Centre for Omani Dress - Gift ShopSupporting Research


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    Advanced BHUZzer carpediem's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Here is one with ivory lace from Sim Moda's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater


  30. #30
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Lace on costumes: yay or nay? Or "it depends"?

    Bumping a quiet thread with a somewhat OT post...if anyone followed the link to the Omani trim I posted in #28, I found some information on how Emirati talli is made.

    32. Talli work, traditional Emirati embroidery, 2011 - The National
    40 historic objects that shaped the UAE: 32. Traditional "talli" embroidery stand - The National


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