bellydance thrift

for a little over four years now, one of my obsessions has been bellydance.  once you get into it, you get into the costuming, and there’s a nice, big chunk of change flying from your wallet!  some of the cabaret costumes, called bedlah, can cost from $200.00 and on up!  so, to avoid the cost, many dancers make their costumes, which even that can get expensive, not to mention the time it takes to sew all those little beads and sequins on!

another of my obsessions would be thrift shops/yard sales too, so i combine the two sometimes, and the following is one of the results. 

i had been wanting a costume with peacock colors for a while, and had covered a bra and belt with a teal stretch velvet.  the belt was made from some denim and a length of felt found at a yard sale.  then, i went to a thrift shop and found one of those ugly 80’s dresses, that are covered with beads and sequins.  it was a royal blue, and it seemed like the perfect color to go with to add to my peacock colors!  and for 50% off, it was a deal, even if i just took all the beads and sequins off to use from it.

well, when i got it home and put it on the teal velvet, it just looked awful.  but i had a piece of purple satin laying on the table from another project, and it looked great, so i recovered the bra and belt in purple.  i cut out some of the motifs from the dress, and when they were on the purple, even though it was a blue dress, it all seemed purple!  (even though in the photo, it still shows very blue)  one trick i had not yet learned when i did this one was, when cutting beaded/sequined materials, you can put a line of fabric glue down on the reverse side of the material, then when it is dry you can cut the material and all the beads and sequins won’t come unstitched.  well, i tied them all off…yes, i am that crazy! lol!

here is a close-up of most of the motifs sewed onto the bra and belt base.  the round irridescent beads are from a craft store,  and are just sewed into the  design.  i sewed on several tassles from the original dress, and sewed beadwork around the edges of the bra and belt.  it did not exactly come out looking like the peacock colors i had imagined, but it came out a nice purple color, which is hubby’s favorite, so he liked it quite well!


Need help choosing a style that suits you?

A couple of tools to help you choose flattering clothes.

I just came across a link to, and found they have a couple of cute tools to help you choose styles to fit your shape and personality.  Many of their dresses look super cute too – and they are upfront about what body shape they’ll look good on.  Me likey!

Now, I would add their lovely widget into my blog post right here and now, but I’ve just discovered the WordPress won’t let me do that because of the type of widget it is.  So you’ll just have to pop on over to their site to take these two little quizzes:

I also like that they describe pear-shaped women as athletic.  Why yes, of course I’m athletic. *cough cough*

I finally finished something!

In which Elisabeth reveals her new jeans!

So, amongst my pile of stash, I found a pair of jeans that were 85% finished.  I started them 3 (maybe 4???) years ago.  I drafted the pattern from scratch, refering to my copy of Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting, and taking styling details from my husband’s favourite pair of jeans (which I have replicated very successfully twice now).

This pair of jeans has been a series of trials.

  • I ran into problems trying to use topstitching thread, and it kept jamming up my machine.  I’ve now learnt the answer to that one – you buy topstitching needles, because they have a bigger eye.
  • Eventually my much loved Elna Supamatic gave up the ghost, and refused to sew any more, leading me to purchase my lovely Janome 6500P, which they promised me would handle denim just fine…
  • I got the waistband on, and went to sew the button hole, on my then brand new machine.  Disasters!  I just couldn’t get it to sew right (I needed to learn how to use the machine properly), the button hole kept on coming out much to short and I had to unpick it more than once…  and once I did finally manage to get it to the right length, I put the seam ripper through the end of the buttonhole, thereby ruining the waistband.  At which point I gave up.

Fast forward 3 (maybe 4) years, and I decided that I was going to tackle these jeans and get them finished once and for all.  I spent a couple of hours digging through my stash to try and find left-over material to make the new waistband.  Eventually I found the remnant.  All 45×12 cm of it!  So I had to get inventive.  I cut one back waistband from the original waistband, the other from the remnant, and managed to scrounge the extra from the hems.  I’m ever so glad I gave myself extra length way back then.  I finished the waistband last night, including the buttonhole (I know how to use my machine these days), and today I hemmed them.


My new jeans

They look pretty good, don’t they?  Errr, well, um, they do in that picture 🙂

Things that could be better:

Waistband detail

I should have dropped the rear waist by a cm or two, and made a curved waistband.  I did think about curving the waistband yesterday, but being so strapped for fabric I thought it would be ok.  As it is, the waist does fit me better than most commercial jeans I have ever bought.

Front view

There’s a bit much fabric in the rear thighs, making me seem unnecessarily broad (I have heavy thighs, there’s no denying it, but the cut accentuates it, more so in real life than in this picture).  Oh well, at least my hair is looking good.

And now, for the ever important question: Do these jeans make my butt look good?

Rear view. Hmmmm.

Well I guess that’s a no.

On the plus side, they are pretty comfortable, and with winter coming up they will be good for gardening.  I have learnt that I do need to lower the back of the waist for a better fit, and not to over compensate for my thighs when drafting patterns.  Making a toile would probably have been a good idea as well.

Also, in the intervening years, I have totally worn though the most comfortable and flattering pair of jeans I have ever owned, and they are now sitting down in the studio ready for me to rip apart to take a pattern from – no more guess work from me for a while!

I added to my stash (whoops)

I bought fabric for a new dress! Oops 🙂

Last Sunday was the final day of the Global Fabrics sale, so I headed along to claim my 50% off fabric.  I’d seen some lovely wool crêpe at the start of the sale, when it was only 40% off, and I was really hoping there would be some left.  Unfortunately no (although they did tell me there was some more coming, at full price).  I found some another wool/polyester mix though, and it might turn out even better for the pattern I have in mind (I believe having synthetic in the mix helps pleats hold their shape.  Can anyone confirm?).

This is the pattern I have in mind:

Black woollen dress from Burda
Burda magazine, 2/2005, p85

It’s from one of my many Burda magazines – I collected almost every issue for about four years.  I think the only issue I don’t have from during that period was because the container fell off the ship, so none ever made it to NZ.

I’m not sure how soon I’ll get to actually make this.  March is turning into March Market Madness month for me, so I’m concentrating on making stuff to sell for the next few weeks.  After that, I’m planning on really getting into my wardrobe revamp!

Feedback time!

I’d really appreciate your comments on:

  • Is it true that synthetic content helps with pleats?
  • Will this look good on pear-shaped me?
  • Anything else you think appropriate 🙂

allow me to introduce myself…

hello!  i am cindy, a.k.a. cinderelly over on glitter, and also on my blogger blog, band-aids required! i am a professional seamstress, for 20 plus years now.   as such, i am like elizabeth, also a fabric junkie!  adding to that, i am also quite a beadaholic as well.  my latest ‘fun thing’ in my life has been bellydance, and i have been doing that for the past 5 years now.   i work out of my home altering clothes, and also altering and sewing bellydance costuming.  i have a good friend with a little shop in our area where i also take bellydance lessons, and she sometimes puts some of my creations into her shop to sell.

as i said before, i am currently blogging on blogger, so please bear with me as i learn the wordpress site.  (i have a rather slow learning curve as a computer user!)  the first thing i want to learn is how get pictures up!   when i figure that out, i will put up some photos of some of the costumes i am working on currently, and maybe past ones that are finished, as i have taken photos of lots of my projects.  i am looking forward to this “hand make me over” blog project, to see what new, fun stuff we come up with!

The last thing I made

Showing off the last dress I made.

Whoops, February is slipping away on me, and I still haven’t made anything new.  I have to take the machines in for servicing this week, so it might be a little bit until I have something really new, but in the meantime, I thought I’d show you that last thing that I did make myself.  I whipped this dress up for my parent’s 50th anniversary.  It’s made an appearance several times this summer, as it’s light and easy to wear.  And flattering, which is always a good thing.

Light summer dress

The pattern is from Burda Magazine 6/2005, style 112.  I didn’t add the pockets or frills though – not quite me :-).  I also added a lining, as the fabric is a very light cotton.  It’s cut on the bias, and I think if I make it again (quite likely) I’ll skip the zip, as it’s easy enough for me to slip on and off over my head.

What’s coming next?

As suggested by Cindy, I definitely need to get on to making myself a new handbag.  I also found an almost finished pair of jeans that I put aside about 3 years ago, after a booboo on the waistband.  Stay tuned!

Forward Planning

Help Elisabeth choose her first project for her handmade makeover.

Ok, so here’s my list of projects that I want to complete in the next wee while.  Help me choose what to make first!

  • new casual trousers
  • new trousers for work
  • new top for work
  • new dress for work
  • new jeans
  • new jeans for the hubby
  • new handbag (for me!)
  • re-cover my lounge chairs
  • new roman-blind for my bedroom

So, what should I start with?  Leave a comment below to help motivate me 🙂