Inspiration: Maraia’s Saidi

I love raqs al asaya, and I love folkloric styles. I know it doesn’t really show much in here, because I talk a lot about fusion and ATS, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy or appreciate the more traditional forms. I also love dancing them, although I really, REALLY cannot jump gracefully enough -or at all, really, and I get sprains at the drop of a hat so I avoid it-, and therefore I don’t really do it in public if I can help it, although I’ve done raqs al asaya performances in years past. And no, I couldn’t jump then either.

I found this performance through a fellow dancer. I really liked it, even if the video quality was low. It was fun and charming, the dancer was enjoying herself, and the folkloric vibe was right on the spot. And for those that want to know the name of the song used, don’t go by the comments on YouTube. The song is available on Hossam Ramzy Presents Gypsies of the Nile, and it’s called “La, La, La Omri Manhounik”

Upcoming Events

A quickie to list some events coming next in the next few weeks/months, which I should add to the event calendar, but want to also mention specially:

  • September 15th: Workshops with Hilde Cannoodt and Alexis Southall in London: Drills and Belly Dance Geometry, more details and booking on Hilde’s website
  • September 19th: Tribal Café at the Blue Man in Brighton; details and booking also on Hilde’s website
  • October 13th: Orient Expressions; Tara Ibrahim will be teaching Khaleeji. View details in their Facebook Event page
  • December 14th-15th: Fantasia Festival; lots of workshops in different styles, competitions and a show. View details and bookings
  • February 8th-9th: Choreological Study of Tribal Fusion Dance with Hilde Cannoodt; view more details
  • May 2nd-5th: Tribal Remix in Brighton; Tribal Fusion at its best! Details and early bird booking
  • June: ATS General Skills and Teacher Training Certifications; no further details yet, other than it will be taught by Carolena Nericcio

Inspiration: Lulu Sabongi

I’ve got some *serious* costume envy going on. Her costume is not that dissimilar from the white one that Dina wore at Shimmy in the city, but it looks somehow a bit more modest and suitable for older or larger ladies, surprisingly so for something that’s pretty much mesh, chiffon and strategically placed rhinestones. Probably because of the smaller dips on both front and back, and the sleeves. Those sleeves, by the way, appear to be a completely separate piece made with power mesh and crystals, and I’ve been lusting after them for quite a while! As soon as I can hack a working pattern for them I’ll post them here, as I can see plenty of possible uses for such a piece.

Fustan Raqs in Red, part two: Eyecandy!

Fustan Raqs in Red

Cabaret dress, full body

This is the (nearly) finished dress.  And I know I skipped the making part; that I’ve covered elsewhere! However, I was excited about the photos taken today, and wanted to post them.

The interesting thing you can notice in this photo is the duochrome quality of the fabric: the left edge, despite being hit by the light, shows darker, and the front, at an oppossing angle, looks instead bright red. This isn’t a trick of the light, but has to do with the foiled effect on the fabric.

I want to add lettuce-edged sleeves to it, in the same manner that I did for the black cabaret dress, but that’s not an immediate concern. The cabaret dress has been made initially for a specific parade and will be paired with red organza Isis wings, so the sleeves won’t be necessary at this time. When I do, I will probably used red-foiled black power mesh for the flounces so they match the fabric tones better.

The costume is made of around 4 metres of foiled stretch fabric, 2 1/2 pairs of sew-on embroidered silver and black appliques, assorted faceted sew-on resin stones, and 33 beaded tassels.  The tassels use Czech seed beads and faceted crystals, silver bead caps, and resin briolettes.

Coming up, close up of the beaded tassels and sewing and decorating the dress!

Egyptian shift, free basic pattern

This is the basic pattern for the Egyptian shift dress. I haven’t included the proper printable version because it really needs to be adjusted to size, but it can easily be done.

To start, you will need measurements for bust, underbust, waist, hip, nipple to underbust vertically (depth), centre of bust to side, back (side to side at underbust level), bust front (side to side through the fullest part of your bust), length from where you want your back to be, to the hem, and length from right under the bra to the hem. The straps you will pretty much adlib too, but those depend a lot on what sort of underwear you will be wearing, and how thick you want the straps to be.

Start by listing all your measurements, add 2-4 inches to each full circumference as ease (depends on how loose you want your garment to be). As a rule of thumb, make sure that each circumference on the final garment is no more than 15% bigger than the actual measurements, and you should be fine, and be able to put on the garment without problem.

For altering the piece A you will need the bust-related measurements. Use the bust depth to measure the length of the dart, then take the front bust, add half the ease and divide in two to get the width of the bust piece; substract the front underbust  (underbust – back + half the ease) to figure out how wide the dart needs to be. This piece will, once folded and sewn, curve in space to give coverage to the bust; the curved outer is necessary for this effect to happen too, so it’s a good idea to keep this in mind when drafting it.

Different figures would benefit from different cuts, and truly, doing an A-line from the underbust down seemed to give the best effect overall for most everybody (except the unfortunate busty apple, whose dress I had to adjust 3 times).  But regardless, don’t be scared to make it, because the shift is so loose that it is highly difficult to make something that won’t fit right -or can’t be adjusted properly- as long as the overall general measurements and ease are there. The assembly instructions are in the PDF, that you can download here:

Egyptian basic shift pattern and instructions

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