Friday, 20 February 2015

Dance in Winter

 You may already know that I am in a tribal belly dance group, The Severn Sisters. Severn, as in the River Severn in Shropshire. Sometimes there are seven of us, but not always! Our usual kit normally consists of lace tops and lots of hip layers, basically, more is more.

Picture by Ian Woodward from the hooded lens

Sometimes we dance at festivals and local events. Can you possibly imagine having your belly out in this weather? We danced once in Ironbridge on a pouring wet day and we were all freezing. So there was a request from the Sisters to make a dance dress to keep us cosy but still feeling beautiful. We saw some on our favourite tribal group Black Veil.

The pattern comes from an unlikely source. It is the pattern I used for my pyjama top. I tried to take it in at the waist side seams and sleeves. I lengthened it, then spilt up the sides so we can tuck our skirt frills over our hip belts. This is a prototype that took two hours last week to whizz up on the overlocker in stretch, crush velvet. 

I needed to do a bit more work to get some of the wrinkles out. I need to make it tighter or eat more cake but I am nearly there. week later....better?

I think this photo perfectly illustrates my dressmaking fitting issues. My backside is never in the same size as my waist fitting and I am short in the back with a sway too.

In the end, I used two front darts and two back darts to make the body smooth. This is it without skirt frill tucked in and it certainly is warm.

Tomorrow night we are dancing so I hope it works out OK.

"Always dance like nobody's watching..."
(Mark Twain)

Jo xxxxx


  1. I think it's fab u lous, have fun
    Clare x

  2. You all look so wonderful together in the first picture, a great group photo! How wonderful is your new "winter" dress too, you are so clever! I am sure that everyone will love them and you will now be on the way to making some more for everyone else. Great job Jo! xx

  3. OH it is gorgeous!!!!! I love it!!!! Have fun friend! Nicole xo

  4. I did not know this, why wasn't i told (disgruntled face)
    how do you find the time and energy for all this - i envy you (in a good way)
    you have a very similar 'back shape' to me except i am 4 foot 10 1/2 so my proportions are bleh
    If i had my life over i would have listened more in sewing class (it was the 1970s what can i say) and talked less
    i have a sewing machine (cheap argos) and look at it occasionally and have wistful dreams

    I did a belly dance masterclass once and loved it and also a pussycat dolls dance type lesson (all i can say about that is 'drawing a W with your nipples' will resonate forever) I was in mid forties at time ie 07/08/09 ish)
    I have just realised that my use of brackets (too many lol) is my way of gesticulating and facial expressions as if I was speaking...........this is deeep for so early in the morning. sorry went 'off message' there - i must be rambling again sorry,
    aaanyway - you all look great and i wish i was one of the severn and you were my friend and made clothes that fit me - was that in any way at all scary!

  5. You look fantastic. Hope all goes well

  6. You look wonderful, great work with the new outfit. I hope you danced the night away!

  7. You're always so resourceful. I bet you're very fit with your dancing too.