New Teal Bra, part 1; lots of photos!

Teal Bra Closeup

Teal Bra Closeup

Back when I wrote about my evil costume bunnies, I did mention having a teal bra and belt in my list of “to do” projects, and that I was going to send that back into the bunny pen. But that was when I had not made nearly every single performance this year wearing Tribal gear, and after a while, having the same bra and belt does get a bit samey. I also love teal, but finding the right shade has always been a pain.

What changed this time? A chance trip to a local fabric shop that yielded some amazing burgundy brocade, and the *exact* shade of teal crushed velvet that I’ve been lusting after for so long. Having acquired a great pre-loved purple skirt, I thought it would be the perfect time to move it to the top of the pile, and since I already had two bras waiting to be turned into costumes, and the burgundy brocade was also aimed for a bra/belt set, I thought it would be a great chance to try a bit of mass-producing. Of sorts. There’s plenty of photographs of the process this time, so as usual, click on the images to view them full size.

The design process this time was a bit different, as I tried to achieve a glamourised version of more traditional tribal gear. I’ve seen lots of beading in plain colours (usually red or white or green) used on belts to “string” the coins, so I wanted to add something similar here to offset the amulets.

Bra pattern makingI planned on having a more open back this time, so I first chopped off the straps and the band. This particular style has a bone a couple of inches after the cups, so I left that one for stability… everything else went. I obtained the pattern as outlined in the “how to cover a bra” tutorial; this time I also used 3 pieces. You can see on image 2 how the cup looked after I covered it with Swedish paper and traced the pieces. I cut out two sets of each side, serged the edges on each piece to prevent fraying, set aside one of each piece for the upcoming brocade bra, then sewed together each cup (image 5). As explained before, I also sewed some gross grain ribbon along the top of the bra cups to add stability (image 3), then attached the new stiffer cups over the existing padded ones (image 4).

ribbonedgingbracalicobasesupport pieces

I then cut the bra pieces off the crushed velvet, being careful to leave plenty of seam allowance on what would be the top and bottom to wrap around the existing padded cups, and covered the cups, again using the overlocker to have stiffer seams that would create a firmer cup. Attached them by hand to the bra’s skeleton (image 6).

bra teal baseAfter that, I threaded beads onto a double strand of extra-strong Gutterman thread (the kind I’ve used for beaded tassels in the past), making sure I knotted every 5 beads or so. I made four of them, one for the top of the bra, one for the botton where the small fake coins would go, and then laid everything out with pins to make sure the decoration worked. You can see a bit of how this was done in image 7, check out the pins holding the amulets together on the left!

Bra decoration stage 1

The beads were attached using spiral stich to hold the middle thread in place; these beaded threads, the sari ribbon and the amulets were sewn carefully using Gutterman Extra Strong thread, to give it all extra durability. The threads used quite a few different beads, including etched copper beads, Kuchi metal rings that I obtained from the same necklace I got the small coins, and black, smoke AB, amethyst AB, blue iris, topaz AB and bronze Czech crystals, all faceted. The “AB” in the colour names indicate what they call “Aurora Borealis”, and it gives a lovely oil slick sheen to the pieces, making them far more interesting when the light hits them.

I’ll cover the beading and final details in a separate post.


When I started this blog I was intending on adding content weekly, but of course life always gets in the way. In my case, it’s been mostly “dancing” getting in the way, which is not a bad thing, but if I sat down to blog about everything I’ve been doing that is dance related, I would barely have any time left in the day!

So, a summary of what’s been happening in my dancing life of late:

  • did further performances at Crawley Carnival and East Preston
  • made two white lace cholis with flouncy sleeves for my friend L and I to wear for East Preston; sadly, we forgot to request photos
  • attended yet another sha’abi workshop at Orient Expressions, this time given by Shona; performed at the hafla afterwards with the Silk Road troupe
  • found some killer fabric that sent my costume bunnies into such an overdrive that prompted new priorities and style of work
  • started (and nearly finished) a new tribal bra, this time with quite a bit of beading and jewellery involvement
  • dropped out of the fun classes at the Silk Road of Sundays, because I…
  • started Tribal Fusion classes (intermediate level) with Hilde Canoodt in Brighton
  • finished choreographing my second piece
  • added a new related content plug-in to the blog
  • knitted a pair of zill mufflers for my ATS teacher

I am sad to say that the Silk Road Sunday classes will stop at the end of the month. I do think that the town could do with a beginner level class, but there are multiple reasons for not holding classes on Sundays: they are difficult days, a lot of people organise social events then, and the attendance suffered as a consequence. I am happy to say that the few students that weren’t doing the Troupe practices on Thursdays will be joining us then, so nobody will be left without their chance to dance.

Also, I have taken photos of the progress done with the tribal bra, as they might help illustrate the process better. Photos of this will follow soon!

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