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.

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