Friday, 5 September 2014

Crafting the kit

Source: Photos by Ian Woodward at the Hooded Lens
Today's story starts on August Bank Holiday weekend. On the Sunday the Severn Sisters Tribal Belly Dance group, of which I belong, took part in the Big Busk in Shrewsbury as part of the Shrewsbury Folk Festival. It was a mammoth day of dancing every hour from 11am to 5pm. OOOh my arms!

People love our dancing, tenacity and of course the outfits. See more outfits here. I made my own but I am not alone, many others in the group craft their way to an amazing outfit adding trinkets, bits and bobs, swingy things and coins. My skirt is two charity shop finds, one cut in half and inserted into the other one to get a really swishy gypsy skirt.

However, a full day of jiggling about shook some of my kit to pieces.

My headdress band broke, my crochet scarf at the back got snagged too many times on the coins and the crochet halter neck top pulled at my neck by the end of the day. 
  Time to rehash I think....

It started with salvaging bits and pieces from my old kit and collecting stuff from round the house. A headband, yarn, an unbelievably uncomfortable pair of ankle bracelets, a table runner and a beady belt from a skirt.

I got out my weaving sticks - never used them but I know they make belts. I started with some Stylecraft yarn.

too thin, so I ripped some strips of sari fabric I was given about five years ago. Nice long pieces.

While I showed Big Sis how to do this (clever girl) I started on crocheting a new bum shawl hip scarf. I bought the five balls of Patons zig zag wool at the folk festival from a craft stall for £2.00 the lot. 

With my triangle made, I added it to the belt. It fitted my hips so I then thought about how to 'tribal' it up a bit. I used the tie belt off an old skirt, some ribbon and some curtain tassels. Perfect.

Next the head dress. I deconstructed the old one, collected the pieces and saved the nice bits. I wrapped matching yarn around the headband.

Look away now if you are of a nervous disposition because then it got a bit wild and carefree... I started really 'getting into it'

I spritzed these white roses with watered down acrylic paint and dryed them with a hairdryer, messed up the bathroom sink, got spotty hands, got paint all over my desk, up the wall and on my work paperwork.... I am loving this...

Time to get out the glue gun and start building. This is so much fun, I can't tell you....

I bent the anklet out and made a coin fringe which sits nicely on my own heavy fringe. It needed feathers, Big Sis has some some purple ones somewhere...rummage, root, frenzy....ah ah!

I don't really have the face for modelling right now.

So onto the top. I liked it but the strain of tying it tightly to contain the jiggling in that area had stretched it somewhat and it hurt the back of my neck. Two straps were needed. I rooted out my oldest bra and sewed it inside the crochet top with the zig zag stretch stitch on my machine, taking the straps over both shoulders.

The pom pom ribbon had split around the neck and the little velvety beads were coming off so I replaced it with a double crochet edge in the chosen yarn. I kept the belly chain which was a necklace I broke down and added only the morning of the busk.

I want wrist cuffs, I don't have them yet but it is always good to have a 'watch' cover up.

Size 2mm hook a tin of old beads and some crochet cotton later...

I added loops and buttons to the table runner and hung it from the belt. Hooray! new outfit.

I will get a photo of me in it next time we are dancing out.

Thanks for sticking with my long, but ultimately fun 
creative story which I loved doing every spare second of this whole week. 

Happy Weekend Jo xxx


  1. It is fantastic Jo!!!!!!!!!! You are so creative. I only have one worry, your other sisters will be wanting you to revamp their outfits once they see yours, so you may have more work on your hands!! I hope that you enjoy wearing it and that it stands up well to the rigors of the dances! xx

  2. Oh wow, that is an amazing outfit Jo. I am really impressed by your belly dancing performances! You all look so full of life and joy and happiness. I can only dance when I've had too much to drink and when amongst friends... Cx

  3. Wow! Amazing! So much vibrancy. You couldn't do anything but enjoy yourself in this outfit!

  4. And an OH WOW from me too! That's fabulous - well done you - LOVE all the trinkets and bright colours.
    Happy weekend,

  5. That's interesting to know about you! It's lot of fun. The dress and accessories you made are really very beautiful :)

  6. It does not seem like a long post to me, Jo, and in fact I have viewed it three or four times just for the fun of following your creative process. Joy to you and yours!!! xx

  7. Jo, what fun you have had creating a whole new outfit for your dancing. It is amazing, so many wonderful colors, textures and bits and bobs. I love it.

  8. That looks Fab!!
    I am so not brave enough to try belly dance. You rock!

  9. Hi Jo! Well done! You truly are very creative the way you design and make your own outfit which looks fantastic! Thanks for the great photos, it looks like everyone is enjoying themselves! What a cool hobby! Crossing my fingers for you that all the new 'bits' will stay put!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Ingrid xx

  10. You are so creative! What fun, and I love your costume, so wild and colourful and fabulous :)

  11. YOU ROCK!!! Oh I love those photos of you ladies!!! Such beauty and such inspiration Jo! And to see you create such a beautiful outfit for future dances is is like being in the head of a fashion designer! You are something else! All the best to you friend! Nicole xoxo

  12. Jo you and your friends are fantastic! I stand in awe!

  13. You look fantastic! Love your new outfit. Wishing you many happy days dancing in it! Bee xx