Cabaret Costumes


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First off are some of the cabaret style costumes bits I've made . I got the patterns, tips and instructions for making these from various places on the web.
red and silver setThis is the first set I made.

The belt was cut in one piece, with a point at the front and is made from Vilene fabric stiffening, covered in a lovely shiny silver fabric. This fabric is a knitted jersey with the metallic colour printed onto one side. It comes in lots of colours - for this set I chose silver.

After covering it with silver, I used sequin trimming to edge the belt, and then fringed the lower edge. The fringe is made up of alternating red and silver bugle beads, strung through every other sequin on the trim of the lower edge of the belt. I used teardrop shaped beads at the ends of the fringe for the centre front of the belt to emphasise the shape. I then added a crisscross pattern of red and black sequins with beads sewn at the crossover points.

Finally, the belt was lined with a cotton fabric and trouser hooks sewn on as a closure. Two reasons for the lining - it covers the loose ends of the sewing, and its removable. The removable is important - it's not easy to wash something like this, and you do get sweaty when you dance. The lining can be removed, washed or in extreme cases, thrown away and replaced..

The bra is also covered with the same slightly stretchy silver fabric at the front. All I did here was stitch the fabric along the lower edge then fold, pin and stitch it up across the cups. The back and straps of the bra are covered in strips of elasticated sequin trim. This is about an inch & a half wide, and is sewn in lines across the back of the bra where the stretch is required. I also lined the bra, for the same reasons as the belt is lined.

I rarely wear this set now for a few reasons - its simplistic and I've accumulated fancier ones, I lost weight and it doesn't fit well and because of the way the silver is printed onto the jersey it rubs off... so parts of the costume have gone black.

blue and silver beltThis was my second attempt at making a bra and belt set.

The belt is made of denim - actually cut out of the leg of an old pair of jeans. This time the belt was cut in two pieces, front and back, both shaped with a point in the centre.

I used iron-on Bondaweb to attach the silver lame fabric to the base of the belt. Royal blue sequins were used to trim the top and bottom, then fringing added to the bottom edge. Like the first set, the fringe is sewn through the sequin trim - I find this helps to keep the strands evenly spaced. The fringes this time were made of tiny round beads, in three different shades - single strands of each alternated.

At the centre of the front, I attached a sequined appliqué I picked up in a craft shop in the US. At the back, I sewed individual sequins on in a similar shape to the appliqué. To break up all the silver, I sewed groups of four royal blue sequins, attached with beads trough the centre.

Once complete, I sewed the two halves together at one side, and then added hooks at the other. I've recently added some tiny silver bells to each side of the belt to give some added noise.

blue and silver braThe bra was a bit more adventurous than the first one. I started with an old strapless bra, and cut the back off, leaving just the cups joined at the center. To replace the elasticated back, I cut a broad band of denim, overlong to start with, then later adjusted to fit with a large overlap.

I then covered the whole thing with the same silver lame as the belt. Each cups was covered separately with a circle of fabric and the two sidepieces with strips. I made straps, again of denim, and covered them too.

Once it was all silver, I trimmed the bottom with a fringe matching the belt, and added sequin trim to the straps and the top edge of the cups. On the back, I did the same pattern of groups of four sequins as on the belt.

Finally I added a series of looped string of beads to the centre front of the bra. The bra fastens very securely at the back, with both hooks and press-studs at the inch and a half overlap.

full setAt the Autumn 2001 Fantasia, I was looking at the amazing costumes for sale and decided to splash out on one. I contacted one of the retailers, Hilary Thacker to see if they were available in my size (I'm a bit on the curvaceous size) and she sent me a costume she had in stock to try on. Unfortunately the top was too tight and the skirt too big. So I sent her a bra that fitted me and my measurements, and had a costume made to order. It was not cheap, but it is fantastic - and the fact that it was made to measure means it fits like a glove. In particular, the bra feels very comfortable and secure when I dance. I've worn a couple of times for performances, and can't wait to wear it again... Sorry this is not a great picture, taken using a timer - and as there was no one to interact with, I'm afraid I look a bit po-faced.