Monday, 22 November 2010


So the weekend before last, I took me and my wallet down to the annual jumble sale run by my old Scout Group, to see what bargains I could find. With women's clothes selling for 30p a piece, it was like a mothball scented slice of recycling heaven.

So far, so eco-chic, but not a lot to do with bellydance. Or so you might think. But you'd be wrong!

Being a lady of traditional build (or, as my housemate used to say, the correct height and weight for someone carrying a fridge), off the shelf costumes do not fit. They just don't. All those cute tribal pants going on eBay for silly cheap? They make ominous snapping noises as I try and ease them over my thighs, and in the unlikely event that I do get them on, they're utterly see-through. And there are some things no one wants to see.

Don't even get me started on cholis- the last one I bought (which I'm actually wearing in my profile pic), I had to slit the sleeves all the way up to the armpit scene, or risk developing gangrene due to lack of circulation. And it took both my troupemates to help me get the bloody thing off.

Therefore, most of my dance wardrobe is either made from scratch, or adapted from 'mufti' clothes. And there's nowhere like the Scouts Bazaar for finding raw material! Sadly, there are no body shots, partly because the items have not yet been 'adjusted' to my needs. and mainly because I'm off sick today, and looking like the antonym of glamorous.

First up is a pair of the most comfortable yoga pants ever to slip into my grasp. They're from Marks and Spencers, and retail new for about £18. The scarf with them is actually from Turkey- my troupe mate brought us back one each.

Second we have a black velvet underbust choli, that started off life as a Debenhams ladies top- the frumpy sort, with a high neck. Ten minutes with scissors and my sewing machine, and it sits nicely below all my bedleh bras (leopardprint fusion bra, also partially thrifted, shown for comparison)

To the right is my new dance bag, which is embroidered with flowers and sequins, and has plenty of space for veils, water, sagat and knee pads (guess who's learning floor work)

And almost out of shot, because it really was too ugly to publish, is a totally see through ankle-length knitted skirt in electric blue. I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with it. although it's going to involve fusion, but it's totally hideous, and had to come home with me.

This rather unpromising selection was picked to match my latest bedleh, a fabulous orangey gold piece with asymmetric beading on the cups, yards of spangly gold fringe, and orange crystal flowers scattered over it. When I say fabulous, I am blowing my own trumpet in the worst kind of way, as shop bedlehs come in two sizes - too small, and too expensive (especially for a non-professional chick with limited cabaret experience. This one is handmade, using a Marks & Spencer bra, a glorious gold sari (another jumble sale find!) and most of the contents of the rag market. I hope to wear it for a Christmas hafla, so I've been on the hunt for matching accessories.
The red material behind it is a gorgeous silk veil that cost me 50p. Sadly it's slightly too small for veil work, but would make a lovely entrance piece of the 'twirl, twirl, toss aside' variety, or a stunning overskirt. The colours are beautiful!

The rather bilous maroon thing on the right is actually a stretchy chiffon skirt from Marks & Spencer, and in real life complements the bedleh nicely. It's a little staid and old ladyish at the moment, but will undoubtedly benefit from a slit up to there and some judicious bedazzling (who am I kidding? I don't stop with the shiny until I run out of material!)

And the boring brown dress is a chiffon nightie, which is the same shade as my laboriously handmade panel skirt, and will make a nice body cover for the days when I don't fancy flashing the flesh. Which are, admittedly, rare, but you never know when body insecurity is going to hijack your evening.

All in all, a bit of a haul. Any other dancers out there who are queens of the local rummage sale? Tell me I'm not alone!


  1. Nice collection! And Good Will & I are BFF's. I go through the racks thinking, "Ooh! I could take the sequins off this, and mix it with the flowers from that - wait! Then I could cut this skirt up somehow..." And it doesn't help that the GW near us now has a frequent customer card that gets me even more discounts. :P

  2. I wish so hard that we had Goodwill over here! My local area is pretty well off for charity shops, but it's just not the same!