A Guide to Laundering Costumes & Embellished Clothing Pt. 1

This is Part 1 of a 2-part series written by friend and colleague Monica Schierbaum. I first met Monica at the Mediterranean Fantasy Festival many years ago where she was helping out at the Silk Road Tribal booth. Monica is one groovy lady and thrives on costuming and belly dance as much as I do. I hope you’ll enjoy the article she has written. -ks

Read Part 2 here.

Laundering costumes and embellished clothing can present a bit of a challenge. Specialty fabrics, beads, feathers, trim, fur and similar all need special care. So how do you clean a garment without dry cleaning or throwing it in the washing machine? Let’s find out.

Continue reading A Guide to Laundering Costumes & Embellished Clothing Pt. 1

Bridgetown Fashion Revue

My, what a wonderful night! On March 26, 2011 Bridgetown Fashion Revue debuted at the Alberta Rose Theatre. We had a great time. It was an honor being a part of this fantastic show.

Photos by Circle 23. Models are Grace Constantine, Endymienne and Henna. MUA: Miky Solares. Accessories by Vauntville.

Top Ten Reasons Why We Love Belly Dance

10.) We’ll never dance to rock music the same way ever again.
9.) It’s not just for the ladies.
8.) We contribute befuddling expressions to the American vernacular. In 100 years people will say, “Break a belly? WTH does that mean?”
7.) Finding costuming potential in unlikely sources (“Ooh, I love that shower curtain! Now, if I just attach some rings here and grab that plastic dinosaur…”)
6.) It has the same reality-altering benefits as using a 12-sided die or training in medieval combat. Not that we know anything about these things (coughcough).
5.) Chances of meeting someone famous increase by 5.586772%
4.) More sparklies, whenever we wish!
3.) If one can dream it, you can dance it.
2.) It is transformational for our minds and bodies. It feels great for dancers of all shapes and stripes. Don’t believe us? TRY IT!
1.) Belly dancers drink from the fountain of youth.

Hey, tell us why you love belly dance!

Staying connected (and entertained)

Whew. I’m tired but happy. It’s been a busy, exciting and productive month in SCC land. There are piles of patterns and fabrics on every surface in the studio, with tax documents also commanding attention from their prime spot on my desk. Recently, my models for Bridgetown Fashion Revue came over for a fitting. I think we all had an enjoyable time amidst playful cats attempting to steal the measuring tape.

And hey, guess what! While we’re on the subject of the BFR show, Brandy of Vauntville will be making some special pretties for our show. If you haven’t seen any of Brandy’s gorgeous creations yet, make haste and follow the link. Welcome to the team, Brandy!

So, even though life and business couldn’t be more chock-full of awesomeness, oftentimes I am feeling a little starved for well, belly dance. Working 12 hour days as a one woman operation, I find it incredibly challenging to make it to a dance class or performance. In honor of all workaholics out there, I thought I would share a couple of sources for staying connected (and entertained) while plugging away at your dreams.

What? A belly dance reality show? Yep.

Especially good for a kick in the ass, while in the privacy of your own home

Tempest tells it like it is, with very pretty pictures

Princess Farhana’s awesome blog

Tips for purchasing a costume online (that fits)!

I love to shop online. When you make clothing for a living, it can sometimes be a chore to sew for yourself. For the sake of saving time and calories, I like to indulge and await shiny new pretties in the mail. It’s so much fun! With years of shopping practice under my sparkly belt, I’ve gotten skilled at finding the things I like and that fit me. The years have not been without mistakes, as I’ve learned the expensive way what not to choose.

Once I purchased a bra and skirt set from a well-known online costume shop.  After trying the costume on I discovered that the skirt was too tight. I couldn’t get the zipper up! I realized that I had relied on the lowest measurement the company has stated in the description. When I investigated the skirt further I discovered that the lowest number represented the tube-like skirt all the way down, while the skirt fabric was very stubborn. Not only was there no room for my butt, there was no way the fabric would have stretched to fit my hips.

On another occasion, a custom costume that I had ordered from Egypt fit perfectly, except the bra was too small. It was the kind of bra that gives you va-va-voom cleavage but feels bare and not very secure in other places. Why had this happened?

Here are some tips for making sure that what you order fits.

More behind the cut…

Continue reading Tips for purchasing a costume online (that fits)!

Restoration of a Vintage Bedlah

It’s such a treat to restore an old costume. This pretty bra and belt set was no exception. It was loved and worn since the 1970’s, passed down from teacher to student. The sequins’ original color had flaked off, revealing a faded, once hot pink lining. Large chunks of the hand-placed fringe were missing. The straps remained attached to the bra cups by mere threads.

The challenge was to both restore the set to its original beauty and alter it to fit its current owner, the lovely Grace of Deviant Dance.

Grace in Vintage Red Bedlah. Photo used by permission

Additional photos after the jump.  Continue reading Restoration of a Vintage Bedlah

Your Guide to a Scary Closet Purge

My phone rings.

Me: “Hello?”
Client: “Oh, I’m so excited! I’ve got a gig tonight!”
Me: “Well, cool! Sounds like fun. Whatcha gonna wear?”
Client:  “I thought I would wear my blue skirt but now I can’t find it. And then I thought I’d go with my silver bedlah but I’ve lost some weight and now it’s too big and I have no time to take the hooks in and (wailing sounds emit from phone)…and can you tell me why I have four pairs of holey, tomato red harem pants?”
Me: “Uh oh. Um, what about your blue and purple set?”
Client: “Hmmm, that might work. If I can find it (laughs).”

I get these phone calls occasionally. I’m happy to be a good listener yet I am often hired to help a client through what I call a Scary Closet Purge. A SCP is not just about getting rid of the holey harem pants or passing along the hip scarf that looks better on your daughter, it’s an overhaul of the Black Hole for Wayward Garments. A cleansing makeover of Closet Land. A pruning of the Wardrobe Forest, if you will (ok, that was pretty bad–sorry!).

The effect of a SCP is potentially life changing. You will feel more focused and free. You will rediscover the “gems” in your closet that you love and want to wear (but couldn’t because they were buried beneath a pile of shoes)!  You will create more space in your closet for the items that you actually want. You’ll know exactly what you have and where it is. More importantly, it feels amazing and can happen during any time or season.

Do you want success every time you reach into your closet? If the answer is yes, keep reading.

Continue reading Your Guide to a Scary Closet Purge

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