Pattern Review: Folkwear #144 Tribal Style Belly Dancer

Folkwear 144 Tribal Dancer

Folkwear 144 Tribal Dancer

The pack contains instructions for creating a full tribal outfit, but only one real pattern. The items include a hip scarf, a hip belt, coin bra, choli, pantaloons and skirt. The instructions for the hip scarf and belt are ok, but they’re nothing that an enterprising person looking to make themselves the items couldn’t figure out for themselves (triangular cut for the hip scarf, for instance). The instructions for the bra are sketchy, and if you want to make your own bra from scratch, this is not the set for you, and you should instead be looking for Dawn Devine’s Embellished Bras. The fact that there is a full book devoted to the techniques necessary should tell you all you need to know about the couple of pages devoted to it here. Needless to say, after having done the process a few times myself, I found the instructions here rather lacking in precision if not flat out creating a sloppy finish.

The skirt is also not good. Most Tribal dancers will tell you that to get the proper “fly” effect when spinning, you should use a circle pattern for the first tier. This isn’t the case here, and suggests standard strips which, when creating a more standard 24 yard skirt, would cause considerable bulk, and in its provided 10-yard version, would not fit the 2XL offered in the back.

And then we come to the Choli. I’ve tried. I’ve REALLY tried. All the pieces do go together, I have to say. They just don’t go together in anything that resembles a good fit. I understand that whoever created this wanted to follow historical methods, but truly? Tribal Dancing is not historical, and a lot of dancers will be using knits and cotton/lycra blends to make their cholis. Last I checked, knits and lycras are not historical, and it saddens me that having a good, comfortable fit was skewed in favour of some politically correct cutting and assembly method. And yes, I can’t believe I’ve just written that either, but the squares/triangles apparently comes from the choli “originally cut from loom-woven cloth in a geometric way that minimizes waste”. All I can say is, thank goodness I cut the pieces using Swedish paper so I didn’t waste fabric on this.

The instructions for the pantaloons are pretty similar, and consist mostly of creating two tubes and joining them at the top, and some bizarre comment about a horizontal pleat if they are too long. I am still trying to get my head around what exactly is meant there. The instructions for creating fringe are decent, except for the part about calculating the amount needed. It says “multiply the fringe length by the distance to be covered” which makes no sense whatsoever, as the width of the yarn used for the fringe and how thick you want to lay it varies and will therefore affect the amount of fringe you need.

Overall, there’s nothing you can find in this pattern that isn’t already available (and much better) online. I was really, REALLY looking forwards to using this, and I have the utmost respect for FCBD, and I am amazed that this has survived at all, when a quick look at the finished garment on the photo should tell you there’s something very wrong when the sleeves bunch like they do. And any quick online research will show you similar frustrations encountered by other people. Overall, there’s only two things I can recommend this pattern for: composting, and burning; at least either way it will become useful. Just remember to remove the plastic bag first.

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  1. Trackback: » Making of the FCBD choli Curvy Hips
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