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Monday, November 27, 2006

Bra issues

Now, I am an expert of de-constructing the so called "bra" that usually came with my costume of past and redecorating MY own, well fitting, comfortable bra. I can only recall a few times that my bra fit well and that is one year with Harts, the time I played with Sonia Mack and of course, with TRIBE though I still had to adjust the shoulder straps in all cases.

Being a woman with an ample bosom, I wear a DD, I know the frustration that comes with hoping that when you do collect your costume that the bra fits. And when it does not fit I also know the stress in getting a suitable replacement. I would advise, if you have this fear, to contact the mas camp and ask about using your own bra, most of them are accommodating and will allow you to do so. However, if you have not done this, trusting that all the money you are paying for your costume means your bra should at least fit perfectly or it is now too late that leaves you with a problem. A problem of possibly getting an ill fitting bra when you reach to Trinidad. However you still have the option of either buying a bra and asking the mas camp to decorate it for you ( using the decoration from the ill fitting bra) or you can do it yourself. Harts re-decorated my bra for me one year and after that I learned to do it myself!

All you need is an exact prototype of how the bra is decorated, luckily I always have my friend's bra as a guide, but it would be wise to print out one of the close up photos of the bra that is on the band's website. You also need a hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks. Hot glue guns are pretty cheap, my mother has several so all I really need are the glue sticks which are cheap as well, just try one of those accessory stores on Charlotte street or even Samaroos. If you are really in a pinch, you can use good old needle and thread, which might take longer than the hot glue but will hold much better too. The good thing is that if you wish you can also add a little extra to your bra, either more beads or sequins if you feel it is lacking in some aspect.

Luckily, I have found a good online guide showing how to decorate a bra for belly dancers, if you look at the bras they use they look exactly like Carnival costumes. This method uses needle and thread, but like I said before, you can always use hot glue. Use it as inspiration to see how easy it is to redecorate a bra, or you might even use it to create a bra to wear on Monday for those who do not have bra fit issues. The link to the entire article is here.


Two-Hour Bra

This is a quick and easy method for creating a beautiful, well-fitting bra for performance wear. Do you have a troupe that needs a costume fast? Are you performing tomorrow night, but your last costume is too large or too small? Need something inexpensive and easy to make for your first recital? Here are some quick and easy bras that can be constructed in an afternoon.

The Lingerie Bra Base
The key for the success of this project is purchasing a good fitting, sturdy foam cupped bra with good support and shaping. The bra base has to support both you and the embellishments so it should be the best quality bra you can afford.

Tools and Materials
For this project, you will need a few simple tools. This style of bra is best created by hand sewing. With practice, hand sewing can go quite quickly.

* Thread - Use a sturdy button or carpet thread for sewing on surface embellishments to ensure they will last. I personally use upholstery thread because it is supple but very sturdy.
* Needles - I recommend buying a variety pack of needles and experimenting with the size, shape and point style that works best for you. I prefer longer sharps, but some seamstresses like the precision of the shorter sharp.
* Thimble - Protect your 'pushing' finger by wearing a thimble for pushing through multiple layers of fabric especially when sewing all the way through a padded bra.
* Pins - Any sharp straight and fine pin will do a good job of holding the parts and pieces in place prior to sewing. I like round-headed pins because they are a bit easier to maneuver. Longer pins are less precise but easier to handle.

Tribal in Two Hours - Jewelry
The tribal look is one of lush layering of ethnographic textiles and beautiful tribal jewelry. There are literally hundreds of different design elements you can put onto a bra that will create this look. Perhaps the easiest and least expensive is to simply stitch a pair of matching tribal necklaces to the bra. For a more upscale look, quickly whip-stitch a length of ribbon onto the upper edge of the bra before placing the necklace along the lower edge of the bra. Use a black bra base for the classic tribal look, no need to cover it, simply use it as-is.

Quick Coins - Ready-Made Covers
This tried and true method of building a bra is one of the most enduring costuming styles. The metal bra cover became popular in the 1960s and continues to be an option. Inexpensive binti bell models from India are available from many dance dealers. For a more custom look, you can purchase coin and chain covers that are made to order.


Pre-made bra cup covers can simplify and speed up the construction process. This pair of coin and chain bra covers is applied to the upper edge of the cup with sturdy button, carpet or upholstery thread/ See image below of the finished bra.

Quick Cabaret - Appliques and Beaded Fringe
Many dancers crave that opulent look of shimmering sequins and flashing beads. This look can be created quickly using pre-beaded fringe and elegant pre-stitched sequins. The look rivals more expensive and time-consuming beaded costumes.


The above bra was fast to put together. We began with quickly covering the bra in an opulent textured purple and pink lurex brocade. Next we tacked on two layers of gold trim, defining a space for embellishment. Three large sew on jewels were quick to attach and cover a lot of territory. A large purple sequined applique finishes off the bottom half of the cup. The appliques were purchased from Sugar Petals, the large jewels are from Gaylene's Boutique. Each cup took aobut an hour to complete.

A Gallery of Quick to Make Bra Styles

Coin bra covers
mounted on inexpensive plain black bra.
Construction - 1 Hour
Total Cost - $62
Bra $12,
Cover $50



Lace and tassle fringe mounted on a red bra.
Construction - 2 hours
Total Cost - $18
Bra $8
Lace Remnant $3
Fringe1/3 yard $6



Tiger fabric and beaded tassle fringe bra.
Construction - 4 hours
Total Cost - $21
Bra $12
Tiger Fabric $4
Fringe 1/3 yard $7
Ribbon and notions $1
Covering the bra took the most time. The dramatic tiger fabric is eye-catching and dynamic. The fringe adds movement.

Navigating this Blog

I have written a lot of information on this blog in the past three months of it's existence, and some of you might want to access some article that is now archived. There are two ways that you can navigate this blog to retrieve past articles; one way is to use the indexed Archive list on the right hand side of this page, all my posts have been archived weekly to make things easier:


The other way is to use the “blog search” option to the top left of this page:


If you have an idea of the subject of the article you are trying to find, type it in the text box, for instance here I have typed a search for TRIBE in the text box:



Next, click “SEARCH THIS BLOG” and a list of relevant archived posts will be displayed on another page:



Here are links to archived posts that might be of interest to you:

TRIBE Band launching

Island People Band Lunching

Carnival Virgin Survival Guide

10 Comandments of Frontline H.O.ism


Dressing for Feteing

Roll Call
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