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 CurvyHips.com, 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!