… is about the last word I’d use to describe this project.

Fringe belt, front view.

Fringe belt, rear view. What is up with the colour? Yes, the walls are yellow, but jeez…

So it’s obvious that I won’t be wearing this to work or to lounge around at home. As dance costume, it’s automatically “special occasion wear”.

With an ordinary costume piece, I could maybe eke out 2 wears per month at performances – unless I want to wear it to class, in which case that adds about 4 wears per month.

I do American Tribal Style belly dance, and while ATS costume is unusual, this item is a different brand of odd: it’s actually more of a tribal fusion item. (Never heard of tribal fusion? Go and google “Rachel Brice” – I’ll wait…)

The thing is, I don’t actually do tribal fusion. I’ve just started doing solos, which is technically considered “fusion” because ATS is a group improv style. It was only after I committed to doing my first solo that I twigged to the fact that, hey, I can wear whatever I want and I don’t have to match anyone in terms of style or colour, which is kinda nice. I figure I’ll try this fringe in class and see how I like it, then see if I need to figure out excuses to wear it.

So why, if this is not my style, did I make this in the first place? Well, I saw the photos from a recent performance. I’m 5’2″, and the two other people in my trio were about 5’7″ and 6′. In one shot, there’s also a bit of forced perspective going on so Ms. 6′ looked like Gandalf and I was Frodo. Or I was dancing in a hole, I haven’t made up my mind. Anyway, I decided I needed some vertical  lines.

Although this thing is wearable, it’s likely far from done. However, as it’s more a piece of art than a practical garment, I think I need to keep adding and keep assessing its progress.

What I’ve done so far:

  • made the front and back panels out of scraps of canvas and very thin electric blue cotton (doubled)
  • made strips of tape using my (bias) tape maker and attached on the backs of the panels as a mount for the yarn
  • added strands of yarn (mostly Colinette Point 5 “lagoon”, with a little deep electric blue single ply and bright teal single ply, all 100% wool), and some strips of torn electric blue cotton, some teal ribbon, and a few cowrie shells
  • torn blue cotton as ties on the sides
  • two bright teal tassels, a cream tassel (CB) (all wool), and two cream tassels (silk)
  • and all of this was from the stash! (bonus points!)

What may lie ahead:

  • bling up the top panels: they’re completely plain, which won’t do at all
  • replace the ties: one idea was to make ties in a colour to match whatever I have on underneath so they wouldn’t be visible; alternatively, I could make (more substantial) ties in blue (or maybe white) and have a succession of hip drapes (chains or strings of beads) in the same colour below
  • add tassels to the front: I wasn’t sure about the tassels before I put them on, but now I like them; the back looks more finished than the front, and this is likely why
  • all white tassels: the teal seem to blend a little, while the white shows up well (in these photos anyway)
  • add a couple of strands of white to the fringe

stash: -1 big skein of yarn, and sundry little bits


About Zena

I sew sometimes.
This entry was posted in not clothes, wearable and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to practical

  1. Woo – and you want to bling it too? Please do post the pics when you’ve done the changes please. Looks amazing.

    • Zena says:

      It seems to be a basic tenet of ATS, as well as certain corners of tribal fusion, that the costuming isn’t enough until it’s too much.

  2. Tanit-Isis says:

    I love these so much (you may recall I made one yonks ago, and wore it like crazy, matching or no. 🙂 Definitely needs a bit of bling on the panels… shisha? Embroidery? do you have a plan?

    The only thing I’d say about mine is they definitely work better over pantaloons or fluffy rufflies than a tiered skirt… at least on mine, the yarns get caught up in the lower tiers and don’t move quite as freely as over pantaloons. Of course, my yarn strands are a bit excessively long, and my tiered skirts are excessively full, so this might be a self-created problem…

    It looks GREAT, and I love the colour, length, and thickness of yarn you have going on. 🙂

    • Zena says:

      Thanks! I recall yours quite well. In fact, a few photos of it come up fairly high on a GIS search for “tribal fusion yarn belt”. I’ve already worked out that I don’t care for it so much over a skirt (hence my photos with pants). I have a solo coming up in a couple of weeks, and I think I’ll wear this with my drapey silk pantaloons (made years ago, not on this blog) – just because I can!

      Further bling is definitely required. I feel like I’ve completed stage 1 (1 = the yarn fringe), but there’s another stage or two to go (2 = belt, 3 = more of everything?). One temporary solution would be to layer a jingly belt overtop, which would basically hide the panels. For a longer term plan, I’m considering adding some Turkomen buttons with danglies along the bottom edge, white shell buttons (though I’d have to buy more). I could do with a couple of pairs of beaded disks for the ends but I’d have to make them myself and that’s not going to happen! Thinking about alternative types of disks, but no brainwaves yet. I may yet say screw it and make a whole new belt base (possibly one piece) – velvet for texture? More tassels in teal, blue and/or white. Lots of ideas, no firm plans 🙂

  3. Carolyn says:

    Very cool indeed… I so wish I had the lifestyle to wear something as outre as this, but sadly I do not 🙂
    Thank you so much for that link to the article on sewing outerwear by Caroline, I can’t tell you how useful and interesting I found it. She has definitely inspired me to lift my game!!

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