I believe VERY VERY strongly in bellydancers taking responsibility in how they look when they perform - ESPECAILLY if you are at a paid gig or performing to a non bellydance audience! You must look professional and NOT CHEAP - you are representing ALL BELLYDANCERS!
What does that mean? Well none of those horrid Chinese butterfly tops for a start! (I would event go as far to say nothing from china). And no rapping yourself in a sheet of material and calling it a skirt (I have seen it done).
I believe you should perform in a professional costume. But that doesn’t mean I stir clear of making my own. Far from it! When I started bellydancing, just before i turned 18, a sewing machine from my Nan for my 18th birthday soon followed.
It's fun to make your own costumes, it is also in a strange way empowering and kind of open ups this very personal feminine side of you (no I don't believe women should all be sewing - I mean it in a way of making yourself something, something which makes YOU feel amazing and makes you look gorgeous as a woman)
My advice is still be careful when making your own costumes and looking professional - things like knowing how to make a circle skirt is sooo useful, you can pair them with your bra and belt sets. But unless you are an expert, making a whole costume that looks professional can be near impossible.
I made this outfit for a Greek themed hafla - I would never wear the whole outfit for a professional gig - however I do use the skirt alot x
What you'll need:
This is a really easy costume to make and requires very little sewing skills. You will need: 5-10 meters (depending on your size and whether you need to double up to stop transparency of flimsy fabrics. I used 5 metres of chiffon and used it double but there was none left over) of white material, waist elastic, a tape measure, pins, scissors, sewing machine, thread and needle, a plunge bra and a carpeted floor/rug.NOTE: If you need to Zoom into the pictures just hold down "Ctrl" & "+" keys on your keyboard and then "Ctrl" & "-" to zoom back out.
Making the skirt:
1) Measure from the floor to your hip. This is your "FLOOR LENGTH"
2) Then measure around your HIPS. Divide that number by four and take away 2" or 5cm if using metric - this is your "WAIST LENGTH"
3) Add your "FLOOR" & "WAIST LENGTH" together and roll out that amount of material and pin it to the floor.
4) Then fold the material back over itself and then back again - so you have 3 layers of the material pinned to the floor in a rectangle / square.
5) Cut off the excess material.
6) Then on the right side of your rectangle of material also cut along one of the folds (leaving one fold)
7) Pin your tape measure to the the left top corner of your rectangle (as a pivot) then slide your tape-measure around whilst sticking a pin to mark your "WAIST LENGTH" and "FLOOR LENGTH" along the way - do this all the way around.
8) Cut away the material out side of the pins - you should be left with one large half circle and then a smaller piece of material (You may want to hem the sides at this point - or seal then with a candle flame do practice on scrap material first)
10) Loop a piece of elastic around your hips so that it is slightly TIGHT (when the material is attached it's weight will pull and make it bigger) then cut the elastic and sew it together WELL
11) Put the elastic around YOU (I have used a dummy to make taking pictures easy) and pin the slit seams on to the elastic so that they sit above the centre of your legs. Also pin the centre of the big piece of material to the centre of elastic at your back. Then tuck the skirt into the elastic all around so gathers are evenly distributed and the the length is the same all the way round and pin it in place.
12) Sew the skirt to the elastic, being sure to PULL THE ELASTIC TAUNT when sewing it together.
SKIRT MADE !! (If you need a double skirt, repeat steps 1 - 9 and put two skirts together as in my double layer chiffon skirt.)
Make the bra:
1)You need an old white bra that has a lunge shape and that FITS YOU WELL. Always, when making costumes, use a bra that fits you well - you must feel secure in it and look good for your performance. Cut the straps off at the back and then tie them around the back of your neck so it gives you a good cleavage.
2) Take a long length of material (double it up if needed) that is wider than your breast by about 1.5x (if you want more gathers use wider material) then tuck the material under the cup of the bra and arrange the gathers. Pin in place.
3) Then pull the length of material around your neck and tuck under the other cup of your bra so it is tight around neck. Again pin in place
4) Take the bra off and sew the material TUCKED Into the bra on to the inside of the bra - I sewed this by hand.
5) Cut away excess material.
6) Use left over material to make two tubes wide enough for the two sides of your bra back to go in and use them to cover the sides of the bra with or without gathers aswished and sew in place making sure to cover sides of bra cup.
7) Customise your bra by sewing rows of beads, pearls and chains to the sides of the cups to form a drape and one row to the centre of the bra. (WHY not use Christmas beads they are cheap - gold or silver!)
CUSTOMISE YOUR LOOK:
Then add a pure coin belt (GOLD OR SILVER) from Zara's Zouk and some pearls or a crown to your head to get a Greek belly dance look.... (crown from Sharie-Marie Tiaras)
Alternatively you could team it with a Pharonic belt and collar set from Zara's Zouk to give you an Egyptian Queen look!!