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  1. #1
    I could get used to this! shimmy21's Avatar
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    Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Hello all!

    For those who don't want to read my long post, my main question is what are good qualities to look for in a bra to use as a base for a dancing bra? I'm a 36 D, so I don't want to do a chest shimmy and put out more than I bargained for! Any differences on heavily ornamented vs. more plain decorations for practice or to wear under a choli for extra support? Thanks!

    Now my longer post!

    I'm a sucker for belly dancing, and and even bigger sucker for anything that involves costuming, so I seem to have gotten myself addicted to the look of the fabulously decorated dancing bra and belt sets! I work at a Renaissance festival in the fall, and would love to have a fun belly dancing costume to wear. (And hopefully some moves to back it up by then!) I made a historical turkish inspired costume last year, but it is basically harem pants and a knee length vest coat. I've been losing weight, and want to show off my belly next year! (Not so much right now!) I've been sewing since I was little, and worked for a year in a costume shop at my college, so I'm not too worried about the sewing part, just getting the right materials that will hold up!

    My costume idea isn't firm yet, but is revolving around a sari. (Or is saree more correct?) I was thinking of a simple fabric covered bra with some coin decorations, and a matching wrap type choli that helps keep everything in control, and keeps me from getting a really painful sunburn on my shoulders, or helping with warmth when it gets cold. (Gotta love Kansas!) I was thinking of a sari because it is period (more or less), depending on fabric and color, and I could cover up and uncover as I wished. I could also use the pallu as a veil for some warmth or shade when needed. If I don't use the sari all in one piece, I would make a skirt, then use the excess for a veil, same concept, different route. Any decoration will need to be very strong and secure, because I can be there for upwards of 10 hours! It can be over 100F and dusty, or 40F and raining. I also need to be able to launder everything at least once a week, because it will get dirty really fast. I really like the tribal look, but it wouldn't really work for this job, so I'd like to use some of the same inspirations in a toned down way. I would also like a secure bra to practice in! ..g.: I was thinking I could make a practice bra to practice sewing and dancing with, and then when I have enough money for materials, start on the real one. I would like to wear a hip scarf or belt, so sort of wondering how to do that gracefully with a full sari.

    Any hint, tips, ideas, observations, experiences, and 2 cents welcome!

    Thanks so much!

    Rachel


  2. #2
    Master BHUZzer sabrinabellydancer's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    others are more qualified to answer this, but here's my best info for a super sturdy "like iron" bra:

    get a very sturdy bra one size larger than you really wear. it will shrink from being sewed and decorated.

    cut the cups off the bra. at this point you can reinforce them wit denim or not. your choice.
    angle the bra cups to give you the most flattering cleavage and either sew them directly together, or recreate the triangle-ish center piece out of denim. sew together with heavy duty carpet thread.

    side/back pieces: i use the sugar petals side piece as a pattern and make a 2 layer side/back piece out of denim to fit me/the bra contours. make the back pieces overlap a lot on your back.

    on the big overlap back area create a closure with at least two metal trouser hook/eye combos and finish the rest of the overlap with a strip of velcro. the velcro will help to keep the hooks from moving.

    bra straps are also made of denim and covered with the same material that is used for covering the bra.

    cover the bra with desired material. attach the straps. make necessary adjustments.

    line with felt to absorb sweat and reduce friction. i do this in the belt too.

    decorate, dance, have fun.

    hope this helps.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer Azhia's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Mon grain du sel (from someone who has made her own bras)...

    PART 1

    My bra/costume fabricator guru is Ellen Laincz in Kutztown, PA. I have followed her advice and it has never lead me astray. While this may seem time-consuming or tedious, it is worth the effort and you will get into the good habit of making sturdy, durable bras.

    Since they no longer make Jezebel bras, for the sturdiest bra that will withold jiggling, and sewing on the bling, obtain a strapless bra that has BONING on the sides. These strips of boning will be located about an inch or so outside of the bra cups.

    The only thing you will need to discard from this strapless bra is the straps!

    Keep everything else. This gives you the support (underneath the cups, around the ribs). You will add straps as the very last step. You may choose to go a cup size larger, as mentioned above.

    Stiffen the cups with just a few layers of fabric stiffener. You're not making Jean Paul Gaultier bullet bra, just stiffening the cups to give your "twins" support, as well as to provide a base that will not "flop" once you sew on your bling (this is the characteristic that makes Egyptian style bras stand, and walk around, on their own).

    You'll cover the entire bra with 2 layers of fabric: 1) ugly whatever sturdy fabric first, 2) then your decorative blingy fabric. This will hold the bling sturdily in place and provide more stiffness/support.

    The sides of the bra...this can get technical. If not sure how to proceed, let me know, I can walk you through it more detailed (it's 5am!). Basically you will need to account for the stretch of the sides (because you're keeping them on the bra) and will be making "slip covers" for the sides. The slip covers will consist of fabric layers #1 & #2 for the outside part of the bra sides, and the cotton lining for the inside of the bra.

    Once the slip overs are made (again, ask me for details should you choose this adventure) you will anchor the ends to the boning. The only open end on these "slip covers" is the end that gets attached to the boning. You can cover the hook and eyes that come with the bra because you will replace them with your own sturdy hook and eye AND a snap closure (this is how a bra has never popped open on me in 18 years. knocking on my noggin as I type this).

    cont'd...


  4. #4
    Ultimate BHUZzer Azhia's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    PART 2

    Measure the rest of the exposed bra and cover that. Use plenty of fabric to overlap to the back. This will be covered with cotton liner fabric, after you've sewn on your bling.

    Use sturdy needles to work through the stiffened cups.

    When you're done, attach lining (costume's biggest enemy is perspiration which will deteriorate thread and make elastic dry and crumbly over time) and leave a bit open where your straps will get sewn into.

    Measure your straps, and place either halter style or side strap style, depending on your body shape (again, let me know if you want the tutorial on this ;0)) and use GROS GRAIN to make your straps (no stretch), covered with your #1 & #2 fabric layers. Cover with bling if desired. Leave plenty of allowance; I prefer an inch or so.

    Feel free to ask if you have any other questions!


  5. #5
    Master BHUZzer Souzan's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Go to Sugarpetals.com and order her bra cups and side piece pattern. Comes with instructions on how to do the rest. The cups are already underwire and stiff. You can then cover them, use the side piece pattern to make the chest band. Make shoulder straps from several layers of grosgrain ribbons sewn together for firmness. Cover everything with fabric of your choice and embellish.

    I am a 38 DD to DDD and her largest cups work for me. Cheaper than buying a sturdy new bra and cutting it up.

    Souzan


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    All the above is good advise. Personally, (34DD) I find that if I do not replace the chest band with gros grain ribbon or something simular, the bra has too much stretch.

    Now, as one who wears sari's frequently, I would respectfully suggest that a sari and a decorated bra would be somewhat inauthentic. Also, decorated bras are not generally launderable. A turkish style coat, if done right, can be very titillating. If you were to make it keyhole style, wear either a bra or decorated choli underneath with buttons only for the 4 - 6 inches below the bust, adding a scarf around the hips, you'd be able to show off your belly in a very sexy, yet inconspicuous way.

    Another suggestion on the sari front is a salwar kameez (pants and a long top) or a lehgna choli (skirt and short top). Both of which can be gotten off of e-bay.

    {{{HUGS}}}


  7. #7
    I could get used to this! shimmy21's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Hello all! Thanks for all the info! I'll probably end up borrowing some ideas from everybody! I've been doing most of my own pattern making for my renaissance costumes, so I'm looking forward to this challenge!

    I realize that a sari and bra aren't period, or accurate together, whatsoever, and it is something I've been turning over my brain for awhile. That is why I was thinking of making a circle skirt from the sari, and then using a veil. I'm not too worried about being super period, as the whole bodice chemise skirt outfit most women wear is about as correct as Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I was really thinking of the fabric. I also really just want to wear a sari because I love how they look, and assume they are super comfortable! I don't have the courage to wear one other than at the Renaissance festival, as the only people I've ever seen wear them in Kansas are older Indian women.

    I did make a turkish vest last year, though I drafted the pattern based on some research I found about authentic garments, so the only thing it really shows off is cleavage, and not even tons of that. :) It is amazingly comfortable, like walking around in my pjs all day! The problem I have with it is it tends to ride up under my belt. Having to pull it down constantly is very annoying. Any ideas on fixing that? I really enjoy it, and spent a lot of time on it, and want to continue to use it when I don't feel the need to show off my belly. (Or when I enjoyed cookies or ice cream too much!)

    What I was thinking about for the bra is actually really simple. I have to interact with the public, telling directions and all that, so I would like them to look at my face, and a fantastically coined or beaded bra doesn't really lend to that! ;) I was thinking of just covering the bra in fabric, and maybe some some simple trim on the top edge, and then a matching choli that exposes the bra a little. I would have to wear a supportive bra under a choli anyway, so I might as well make it fun! I would need to wash the skirt and choli, so decorating them doesn't work, but changing the lining in a decorated bra doesn't sound so bad. It is also for health reasons, because wearing a heavy bra won't help my back feel good by the end of the day! I would probably use little to any type of stretch in the bra, for security reasons! ,r:; I've worn a bodice the last couple of years, and after that, I'm not too worried about anything!

    My idea for the whole bra thing evolved from a plain choli after I saw the wrap choli here.

    SharifWEAR.com - Original designs for divas who dance - Perfect for clubs, classes and performances - Salsa, Gypsy, Tribal, Oriental, Egyptian, Belly Dancing

    Thanks again for all the info! I'm going to make a practice bra, hopefully within the next month, and I'll post pictures! Thanks again!

    Rachel


  8. #8
    Master BHUZzer Souzan's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Rachel,

    For a dance bra, regardless of the type of embellishment or what you wear it with, you need some degree of firmness. Replacing the elastic chest strap with a nonstretch strap means that you are supported without putting the stress on your shoulders. This increases your range of motion in the upper body and gives you the support you need for chest articulations.

    You might want to take a look at this design for a choli type top with decorated bra built right in bdpat - Page: 1 of 20

    Souzan


  9. #9
    Just Starting! adiemusfree's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    I'm going to make waves and disagree slightly with the recommendation to buy a bra one size bigger... I've used the same as my normal one, but a very sturdy and cheap one that is almost a moulded type.
    I cover mine with stretch fabric and then stitch beads and sequins without too much trouble over it.
    I do replace the straps with non-stretch grossgrain, but not the one that goes around the body, I do like a little bit of comfort!
    This is the best site around IMHO Nadya's sewing hints for belly dance / oriental dance costumes;, if you're not happy to part out with some money for Dawn Devine Brown's book 'Embellished bras'. I did my first using nadya's tips, and my second with Dawn's - not sure which is actually easiest in the end!!


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer kiyaana's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Whatever method you decide to use (or probably a hybrid of all of the above), always replace, or at least cover in some way, the original band and straps. I was baffled by how many obvious "lingerie bras" there were on stage at Rak East this year. No matter how much decoration you add to the cups, if the original hardware is visible, it looks like you're in your underwear instead of in a costume.


  11. #11
    I could get used to this! Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.



  12. #12
    Ultimate BHUZzer bintbeled's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    Wow, the pix are great! You don't even need to understand Russian. And that white, pink and green confection looks like a fancy birthday cake! With icing roses!

    Latifa


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Quote Originally Posted by bintbeled View Post
    Wow, the pix are great! You don't even need to understand Russian. And that white, pink and green confection looks like a fancy birthday cake! With icing roses!

    Latifa
    I agree. They are yummy!

    But, this does mean I have to start studying Russian again!

    {{HUGS}}}


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer Azhia's Avatar
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    Re: Making dancing bra? Costume question.

    Da!

    The chunky feel is wonderful. Lots of beautiful concepts in those bras. And I agree, very helpful!


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