Making your own costume can be an exciting and creative project. Even with the increased availability of ready-made costumes on the internet, many dancers elect to make their own performance wear.
“When you make a belly dance costume yourself, the only true limits are your imagination.”
There are as many reasons for taking a DIY approach as there are individual dancers. But, in case you haven’t decided to take the costuming plunge, here is a list of reasons why making your own performance costume can be an excellent alternative to buying ready made.
More Time than Money
Designing and making your own costume can save a lot of money. When you buy a ready made garment, you are paying not only for the raw materials but also for the time of the manufacturing process as well as shipping and the cut of the dealers. By making your own, you cut those additional costs.
Creative Control and Artistic Expression
Most dancers I have met have been extremely creative people off the dance floor. Making your own costume will allow you to express yourself artistically. Your costume is such an integral part of your dance look that making your own performance wear will give you greater control of your public image.
Reuse and Recycle
Besides being thrifty, making or remaking costumes from old garments is good for the environment. Turning old clothes into sparkling performance wear is challenging and satisfying from both an artistic and ecological point of view. Wouldn’t you like to save money while looking fashionable and helping to save the planet?
Customize the Fit
Have you had a problem finding costumes in your size? Making your own costume means you can create a garment or ensemble that exactly fits your body. For dancers who are larger, thinner, rounder, squarer, taller or shorter, making a custom costume is the way to achieve the ultimate in perfect fit.
Engage in Custom Belly Dance Costume Wardrobing
Why make one ensemble with matching accessories, when you can create an entire mix and match wardrobe? This approach based on the theory that if you build two interchangeable bra and belt sets and a selection of matching skirts, pants, and accessories, you can create a myriad of ‘looks.’ With just two bra and belt sets, you will create 4 different bedlah ensembles. Now multiply this by the number of coordinating skirts and you can see how a great number of different looks can be created.
Make an Exact Match
If you are part of a duet, trio or ensemble, custom making your costumes might be the only way to achieve an exact matching look. You can even plan sewing sessions where the work is done together to foster group harmony and keep your motivation high.
Build an Ensemble over Time
Perhaps you don’t have the resources today to build an entire ensemble start to finish. When you build your own costume, you can add pieces to it as you acquire the resources or skills to create each element.
“When you make a belly dance costume yourself, it is completely unique.”
I’m sure there are many more reasons to build your own costume. Today, there is a myriad of resources for the dancer who is interested in exploring the DIY costuming option. There are numerous books, instructional videos, and websites filled with sewing and design hints, tips, and techniques. If you have never sewn before, a basic sewing class taken through adult education or community college will provide you with the skills to bring even complex designs to life. Best of luck on your next costuming project!
Blog Post by Amabella Editor Dawn Devine ~ Davina. Visit her website at www.davina.us for more information about her projects, publications, and more. Photos by Alisha Westerfeld.