Tuesday, 28 June 2011

20s costume, AKA the Teabag Special

You'll have to take my word for it regarding the staying power of Lady Grey teabags, and the blindingly white colour of the original. Suffice it to say that the teabag dye worked beautifully, and I'm now well launched on shaping the bra.

I'm experimenting with a new technique for the sides- leaving the original stretchy straps on, and basting the satin over them so they can still stretch to fit. I'm half a stone into my latest attempt to lose weight, so I want a costume that can accommodate a Lilith of varying sizes.

Decoration on this costume is going to be simple- I have enough half finished beading projects already! I have about ten pearl necklaces to use as drapes and swags on the belt and bra. If you squint at the photo you can see one of the pearl flowers I'm using as focal points. They're actually taken off stretchy bracelets, and I'll be using the loose pearls from the bracelets to edge the bra and provide some textural variation to all that smooth satin.

I'm getting quite excited about this one!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Adventures in Dyeing Part 2

It began with an invitation to a local hafla, which clearly meant a new solo, and a new costume.

I already have a round half dozen unfinished projects on the go, and my sole 'good' costume is in need of some serious attention if I wish to avoid a repeat of the Big Tit Tease of 2011. But rather than work on any of those, having picked my music, I realised I needed a totally new costume to go with it.

The song I'm working on is 'Egyptian Ella'. The costume, as is appropriate for a fat dancer chick from 1930 something, should therefore be elegant, glamorous, softly sepia, draped with pearls and cribbed off something already done much better by Tempest and Mardi Love.eBay purchases were perpetuated, bargain stores were raided and bead boxes were ransacked. The net result was two polyester satin nighties, half a rack of 'pearl' necklaces and an assortment of pearly beads. Tempest, eat your freakishly beautiful heart out :/

Sadly the nighties (look, I'm lazy. Much better to let someone else do the cutting, seaming, hemming and hanging, and let me just cut the straps off to get a bias cut floor length skirt) were not quite as desired, the antique cream being more of a 'fresh white paint' colour. Not quite what I was aiming for, so on went the computer, and oh fukkit went Lilith, as she discovered that polyester is wholly undyeable and she should bin the lot and start again.

But then I figured that if they're unusable as is, there was no harm in experimenting, so having cut one down to a skirt, I left some of the scraps in a mug of stewed tea (sans milk!)overnight. It took nicely, and resisted all attempts the following morning to rinse out the colour. That may count as undyeable in some people's books, being as I didn't give it a boil wash with sulphuric acid (or however they test it), but it works for me.

Thus there is currently a bucket full of Lady Grey tea (husband would have killed me if I'd used his precious builders tea bags) and nightdresses steeping merrily in my kitchen, ready for decanting tomorrow morning.

Occasionally the dog sticks his nose in for a taste- apparently Irish setters like tea?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Burlesque Drama, and not all of the fun sort

In the list of things you want to happen to you on the way to a dance class, having the driver in front of you hit a motorcyclist and then drive off, is probably pretty low on most people's lists. Guess what happened to me this morning when I set off to a burlesque event in another city?

The biker got off with bruises and some cosmetic damage to his bike. He was pretty sanguine about it, just thanked us for stopping to help him, and taking down our details in case he needed witness statements. I think I was more shaken up than he was (having lost a friend to a similar accident); by the time I reached my first workshop ( an hour late and after three trips round the city ring road, bloody SatNav), I was apparently looking worse than I felt, because the organiser immediately offered to sit me down and fetch me a cup of tea!

Fortunately, the day took a more positive swing from then on. Although I'd missed half the workshop, I was in time to get to grips with the choreography we were learning. This was a full strip of gloves, dress, knickers and bra, and was the perfect medicine for my emo state. It's hard to feel down and depressed when you've just highkicked your knickers across the hall!

The workshop was followed by a very ladylike afternoon tea of sandwiches, scones, cakes and the promised cup of tea. Matters then got considerably less ladylike as we embarked on a pastie-making lesson. You can see my first attempts above. They're fiddly to make, but great fun, and the gratification is a lot more instant than beading a belly dance costume!  I have plans for a set to match my peacock costume...

Last class of the day was a makeup master class, beginning with a retro day look, at which I failed miserably because I don't own a single neutral eyeshadow. Fortunately we moved swiftly on to stage makeup, and got to layer on endless colours, glosses, glitters and liners under the watchful eye of our teacher, Fulya. We learnt loads of tips, like highlighting the brow bone, contouring the cheeks with blusher, how to stick eyelashes to your face not the table...

I went for what Fulya called the absinthe and alcohol look, very heavy, very dark eye makeup (it's actually royal purple, the camera lies! and adds 20lb), pale cheeks and deep red lips (which wore off on the way home). Then the whole lot got sprinkled with glitter!


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Hair Today

So after seeing this photo of me (taken at Cirque 2011 by viclaurence), I am torn between being very pleased by the way my tribal costume turned out, and fed up with having boring hair.

Recently I've noticed a trend for beginner dancers (well, mainly beginners. I can think of at least two who should know better!) to be dressed like Dina from the neck down, and Tesco cashiers from the neck up. No disrespect to the checkout ladies, but is that really the look you want to be rocking with your sequinned butterfly tops and chiffon harems?

Fake hair is another local obsession. I'm all for adding to what nature gave you, but some people take it to extremes, and nothing looks more daft than three foot of ash blonde ringlets attached to a dark blonde head.

Me, I abide by a rough rule of 'up' for tribal/fusion and 'down' for cabaret, and sprinkle over accessories as appropriate (no fake hair though, red hair is a nightmare to match), but recently I've been feeling like my hair is distinctly blah, and blah hair on dancers is a bad, bad thing.

Problem is, I spend half my life wearing a ponytail, and scraped back hair is just not a good look on someone with a moon face like mine. And too short hair means no khaleegy style tossing or dancefloor moshing.

Why it took me 28 years to come to the conclusion of getting layers cut into my hair beats me, because it's blatantly the best solution. Long enough to pull back, but with dainty floaty bits around the face. Thus yesterday i went to a dingy little salon near me, and spent £20 on a haircut, which if i say so myself, looks awesome.

Or rather it did. A day of gardening, dog walking, sick husband tending and housework means it now looks like a rats nest that's been dropped in a deep fat fryer.

But it has possibilities! (And is a great excuse to buy more hair bling. Claire's Accessories have a 3 for 2 on hair flowers right now)