Making a bedlah - advice?
I am in the process of making an entire costume by hand, and I want to start working on the bedlah part of it! I'm not sure which material to use as the base - obviously something strong to hold all the bead work! I was thinking a denim base? Somebody suggested I use the same material that you use for making swimming costumes? Not too sure on that though, seems a little flimsy!
Oh, and would you suggest a separate bedlah to the skirt, or something worked onto the skirt? I'm thinking of keeping them apart so that it makes for more variety when using the bedlah. (is that even the right word??)
Would appreciate any help!
I'd suggest taking a look at how your favourite (currently owned) bedlah is made. Use it as a pattern because anything you like that much is a winner!
I use muslin with medium iron-on interfacing in about 4 layers then the front & back fabrics. Gives it a good firmness without being overly stiff for me. The best way to figure this out is trial & error, so I'd look at what's nice & firm & hardy that's in your budget & buy it up & have a try of it.
Play around with different designs once you've got your confidence. Go with your strengths & outsource your weaknesses.
Also, for a first bedlah, I'd definitely go with a separate skirt because that gives you versatility.
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The base needs to be sturdy, I guess denim will be ok.
The swimsuit fabric, or whatever you want your outer fabric to be, will be better for covering the base.
I'd also go for separat belt/skirt as it give you more freedom to combine the bedlah with other skirts/trouser later, or if you need to do adjustments after it is finished.
Is a very good thread with tips.
For the bra I would use buckram (find it in the fabric store), it holds very well. Denim is good for the back straps and shoulder straps (of course covered with fabric)
For belts I use mostly denim and canvas. Buckram holds it's shape really well, as does stiff, heavy interfacing.
One trick is to stitch or fuse your cover fabric to a layer of interfacing. Bead on the reinforced fabric, then cover the belt with your pre-beaded fabric. It's easier to bead through the single layer of interfacing than through all the belt layers.
I highly recommend the books by Dawn Devine and Dina Lydia. I think Dawns is Bedlah Babbles and Beads, Dina's is Cabaret Costume for Bellydancers. Both books explain step by step in detail how to make and cover a belt form, how to make or reinforce a purchase bra, how to cover the bra and how to replace or cover all the stuff that screams "underwear!".
I absolutely say make the belt and skirt separate. I know that the one piece belt/skirt is all the style right now, but it's very possible to make a separate belt & skirt that looks almost like a one piece.
For the bra
buy the cups a bit larger than you usually use and line with buckram to hold the weight of all the beading. You can use a commercial bra but you will end up needing to remove or reinforce the elastic parts. Grossgrain ribbon works wonderfully for this.
For the hip part
Buckrum for the outline. You can then line with felt after you are done beading or putting coins on it. Someone said to use the rubberised sheet stuff so that will help keep it up and support the weight better.
For advice check Dawn Devine's website or the costume goddess or shira's. All three are good
By the way: I used buckram in the bra cups, but heavy cotton (denim would be good too) for the straps and I use it as well for the belt, because I like a belt to be a little bit more flexible. But it depends on the shape of the belt too, if it's a simple shape cotton will do, a more elaborate shaped belt might need buckram.
Denim work fine - finally a use for those jeans legs with the knees gone Cut out your pattern in paper and make sure it fits. (I do mine in two pieces - back and front with a side closing - with two trouser hooks) Then cut the denim - again fit it. If all is okay you will need at least one cover layer and a lining - don't sew in the lining until all the beading is complete.
When beading - knot often.
Separate belt gives you the most options and allows you to alter the size easily for you change or if you go to sell it.
Unless you are familar with making bras from scratch, start with a well fitting underwired bra that holds its shape - not flimsy lingerie. If you are going to do a lot of beading (as oppposed to just covering it or using appliqués) - get a cup size bigger than you need. Cut off the straps and replace them after you have covered the cups and webbing. Do not cut the webbing itself.