Thursday, January 14, 2010

Making a Bedlah iv

Well...being slightly adventurous, I decided to bead the neckline to give it more vavoom (if that's the word!) - definitely more sparkle. I knew it would take a while, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly it has taken to get it done. That's what happens when TV is boring!
Only two shots of it so far, but more will get done today.

The beading is one sequin, one 4mm bead, and five seed beads, on a diagonal across the top of the neckline.  Spacing each one has taken a little trial and error, and I even started to mark in little dots as an aid, until I found I was able to judge it by eye.  It's not so much the distance from each other, more how far to go through on the other side.  You can see some detail in this shot.

And in this shot you get a bit of an idea of how the whole neckline will look.

I'm really pleased with the way the sequins sparkle with the small bead on top.  Tell you what though, picking those tiny seed beads up is a task fraught with fear - I am sure I'll upend my wee tray (a child's paint mixing tray) and lose the lot down between the arms of my chair!  You also need fingernails and handcream.  I find the sequins get a lot of static on them, and it's difficult to separate them so you only pick up one, while the nails are good for selecting just one seed bead!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Making a Bedlah iii

Several shots of how I covered the bottom half of the bra and strap, and a detail of the beading.
Stitching the covering on the front was a real fiddle, and I know I said it wasn't going to be too tidy, but in fact I lied and ended up stitching it almost invisibly. It was tricky to get the sides the same because I'd stretched and pulled on it to get a nice curve - but it's done now after several needle-stabs to the fingers.

I've tidied up the ends as shown above, but not finished them because I'm going to have to try the whole thing on to ensure the straps are adjusted and when I add the shoulder straps on.
Here's the front, to show you how the stitching on the curve went.

It's not critical to have this stitched so neatly, because I'm covering it with ruching anyway, but it's always nice to have it neat so that if I change my mind I don't have to re-do that area. I may yet put a line of beads along here to give the dividing line more szoosh.

Once again I gave into temptation and did some more beading on the front. I finished (well, maybe...) the sequinned area and added some 6mm and 4mm beads scattered over it, plus some beads that look like rice grains, to try and give some direction to the starburst effect. I'm really pleased with the effect of the silver and iridescent sequins, it's bright and shiny and will glitter well under lights.

This is just a quick shot to show how I've done the sequins - two sequins and a seed bead on top. The thread goes up through all three, then leaves the seed bead and goes back in through the sequins, holding the whole lot tight. It's a good way to hide the thread, and it adds lots of sparkle.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Making a Bedlah ii

Yesterday I showed you the start of covering a bra for my new silver bedlah. Today I've progressed just a little further with covering the lower part of the bra and the back, and started the beading on the front.I reinforce, and stabilise the strap with grosgrain ribbon. (NB this is pronounced 'growgrain'!). I'll machine stitch this into place before covering it with the silver fabric (that is underneath the bra in this shot).
Turning the bra over, I pin this to cover the lower half of the bra and the strap. I'll hand-stitch this, but because most of the upper portion of this silver fabric will be covered with ruching, I'm not going to be too fussy with the stitching....and because one of my favourite parts of making a bra and belt is doing the beading, I couldn't wait and started to bead the front. You can't see this very well in this shot below, but I've used two sequins - a silver one on the bottom, and an iridescent one on top, and an iridescent seed bead on top to finish it. I'm aiming for a starburst effect, and don't worry - there will be much more beading than this by the time I'm finished!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Making a Bedlah

A bedlah is only one of several costumes used in Middle Eastern Dancing, but it's one of the most recognisable. I'm going to show you the steps I've taken to cover a bra and make a belt and skirt.
I've spent some time reviewing some of the designs, but what I start with and what I end up with is a little unknown!

Firstly, I choose a well-fitting bra that has moulded cups (that is, they support themselves and retain their shape when you lie them down). In this case I've used a strapless bra, but if you do use a bra with straps, mostly you'll need to remove the straps and replace them with straps with no stretch.
I've sketched several designs, but as I mentioned, I'm open to what happens as I start to play with the fabric.

There will be two different skirts for this costume. A white velvet slim-fitting trumpet-shaped one (velvet not shown), and a swirl skirt with alternating mauve and silver stretch-dot fabric (the piece on the far left, and the second from right).

I've used dark silver fabric to act as an underlayer for the top half of the bra. This will be overlaid with the silver sequinned mesh fabric (on the right in the picture above).

I've used a rough square of fabric, pinning it to the bra and taking in two darts to help shape the fabric. I've then stitched along the edge, and over the dart, to flatten and secure this layer.

Next I laid the silver sequin mesh over, and stitched it down. Because the mesh is a little stretchy, I've tortured it a little and pulled it into shape, as well as taking tiny tucks along the bottom edge to help it fit the bra shape.

You can see how I've chosen the selvedged edge to reduce the number of sequins I have to remove to make the inside of the bra just a little more comfortable. I'll be lining it, and using silver satin bias binding to ensure there are no irritating scratchy bits.

Here's a final close-up of the stitching on the front of this layer, where you can see the small tucks I've taken.

I'll post more when I've done the next part of this bra. There will be loads of beading, a central detail, and ruching that will be echoed on the belt as well.