You may hesitate to spend hundreds of dollars on a bedleh (bra and belt set), because hip belts are so out of fashion - even in Turkey, so many dancers wear embellished skirts now. Why not save money by buying a beaded bra, and make your own skirt? You can pull the "look" together by replacing the bra straps with straps made from the skirt material (see instructions below).
Elegant Professional Belly Dance Sequin Beaded Bra Top 36 38 B C
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Elegant Professional Belly Dance Sequin Beaded Bra Top 34 36 A B silver
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Elegant Professional Belly Dance Spikey Bra Top 36 38 B C
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Replacing Bra Straps
A cheap sequin bra can make a good, inexpensive base for a student costume, but please - check the straps. Far too many of them cover the whole bra in densely packed sequins or beads - and then leave obvious, lingerie-style straps! I mean, how cheap does that look?
Fortunately there's an easy way to fix it - replace the straps! And no, you don't need to be expert at sewing and you don't need to struggle with beads or sequins. A little effort can give you a professional-looking bra at an excellent price.
There is another good reason to replace the straps - continuity. A gold or silver bra will look OK with any skirt, but it is still obviously two separate costume pieces. If the straps match the skirt, suddenly you have an outfit that belongs together. For this effect to work, you need to make the straps fairly wide, perhaps with pleating or gathering.
I find making a halter neck easier than making two separate straps - and if I regularly change the strap to wear with different skirts, the halter neck is quicker because you have only two points that need sewing (or pinning, if I'm feeling lazy!). The instructions are the same.
Measuring Your Straps
The first step is to get the right length for your straps. Don't use the existing straps as a guide, because they stretch when you put them on - so always measure the length while you're wearing it, whether you're making shoulder straps or a halter neck.
I always reinforce my straps with grosgrain ribbon and I find the easiest way is to pin the ribbon to the band at the back, then put the bra on, pull the ribbon over my shoulder and pin it to the cup in the right place. Voila, you've got the length of your strap!
Remember when you're cutting, to allow extra length for the overlap at both ends!
There are several ways to make straps, but I find the easiest is to cut the material double-width, fold it over wrong sides together and stitch up the long edge. Turn right side out and press. Insert the ribbon if you're using it. Sew on. You're done!
Here is another alternative: