How to Make a Belly Dance Bra

When it comes to making my own bras, I've always been a fan of Shushanna's tutorials - but I always struggled to get my material to sit properly using her method.

The other problem is that it's becoming very hard to find a bra that passes her cherry bowl test.  It's vital that your foundation bra has some stiffness - because if it doesn't, the cups will eventually collapse under the weight of the beading and sequins.  On one occasion, I thought I knew better and made one with a soft T-shirt bra.  It was only lightly embellished, so I thought I'd get away with it.  All seemed fine until a few months later, when the whole thing caved in!  So I understand the need for rigidity - but on my most recent shopping expedition, I couldn't find any bras that fit the bill.

Shushanna suggests buying buckram or plastic mesh, and lining the whole inside of the bra with it - too much fiddly work in my book!  So I was excited to find this tutorial on, which takes a different approach, both to reinforcement and to fitting the material to the cups:

You'll notice she reinforces the edges of the bra with grosgrain ribbon - much easier.  I don't bead heavily, so I think that reinforcement will be adequate for my designs.  Also, she makes a pattern from the cup itself, then uses that to cut shapes (whereas Shushanna's method basically involves laying the material on the bra and pinning it to fit).  I find the pattern idea quite exciting, because it also means I could use different fabrics for different sections.  Hmmm!

The only thing I disagree with is the instruction not to use elastic in the shoulder straps/halter neck.   I find non-stretchy straps, especially around my neck, really uncomfortable.  My solution is to make wide straps and use wide elastic. I cut twice the length I need, and double it over.  By the time I've done that, the elastic doesn't give much - but it's just enough to make the difference between cutting in and not.  I'm sure the elastic will stretch eventually, but I can fix that easily - open a small section of seam, pull out the elastic, cut out a piece, and sew the ends back together.  It will take a long while for the elastic to get bad enough to need replacing altogether, and even if it does, that's not a huge job either. Personally I'd rather have my comfort!


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