Turquoise Student-Grade Belly Dance Bra

Turq-Coin-Bra1Hello Gang!

As we finish up the last few segments of the final chapter of our upcoming book, Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage, I’ve been making a few extra “samples” of simple and affordable student performer quality bras. Because I’m strategic, I purchased base bras that are the size of one of my co-authors, Sara Shrapnell, so perhaps these samples will one day take the stage, even if it’s just an informal student hafla. 

I like to divide my my costuming into three levels of production.  I call them “Student,”  “Lifestyler,” and “Professional.”   Student grade costumes, in general have the least bra transformation, keeping the straps and band intact, and look like what they are, an embellished lingerie bra.  Many purists find this style to be unacceptable because the bra hasn’t been transformed enough.  But the modern reality is that many students want to make simple, quick and affordable costumes to wear to informal performances. The student grade bra is designed to be beautiful for a few wearings in student shows and community events.

In the photo below, you can see that I used two rows of this sari trim from India.  When working on a larger bra, this is a great way to cover the upper-cup, and take the trim to what I call the “drop zone.”  This is that place on the bra where the cup curves under.  It is the ideal space to suspend fringe, coins, and jewelry components allowing them to swing freely.  I like to sew with a long milliners needles from the company John James.  They are more expensive that many, but worth it if you’re doing a lot of hand sewing.

Turq-Coin-Bra2A “Professional” grade costume is just what you would expect.  It’s a firm, solid garment that keeps everything in place and is durable enough to stand up to the rigors of long, vigorous performances and the endless packing and unpacking of the pro-dancer’s life.  There is a lot of structure to the professional bra band, the straps and the cups that takes a lot more time and materials to build a sturdy base.  Then over the top of this base, are the time and expense of layers of embellishments that give the costume style.  Professional grade is a balance between tough and durable, and beautiful.

I personally use a lot of jewelry in my designs.  As you can see in the close-up photo below, we’ve chosen a pair of very affordable knock-off India Arts necklaces.  For a pro-quality costume, I might choose more culturally specific jewelry components or use more upscale and sparkly rhinestone pieces. I like to use very long, quilting pins to weave in and out of the chain

Turq-Coin-Bra5The “Lifestyler” grade is geared for ladies who want a costume that is beautiful and durable, yet comfortable.  These costumes frequently will use the original bra band, but covered to resemble a professional quality bra. Often, bras in this category will feature firmer, more professional straps and more opulent embellishments.  Lifestyler grade costumes are built to last, but with comfort and budget in mind.  

For this turquoise bra, we wanted to use up all the materials, so we took the chains from the two necklaces along with the hooks, and created a double swag tummy accent.  I reached into my jar of bits and pieces, and pulled out a handful of additional coins left over from a past project.  These hooks can go into the chain at any place the owner prefers.  I always have two pairs of smooth pliers handy to open and close jump rings and chain loops. 


In Chapter 10 of Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage, we present some quick and affordable student-grade costumes to inspire the crafty dancers who want to dip their toe into the process of belly dance costuming. This turquoise bra would fall into the “Student” category here at Studio Davina.  Sadly, only one photo of this bra made it into the book.  Luckily I have these photos to share that might inspire your next costume.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
September 19, 2016


Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2016/09/turquoise-student-grade-belly-dance-bra/

Help – My Depotted Eyeshadow won’t Stick to Magnetic Palettes!

Dawn-31-LooksBar2One of my projects for the month of August was to declutter and organize all the bits and pieces of makeup that are in my life. Usually I conduct an annual makeup clean up in January, but this year, I wound up waiting until I completed a makeup challenge.

Throughout the month of July, when I took on the “31 Day Belly Dance Makeup Vlogging Challenge.”  All the looks and videos are up on my YouTube channel and the videos range from “informative” to “OMG, What was she THINKING?”  It was a fantastic learning experience and an amazing challenge to tackle and complete!

However, quite frankly, I made a big mess!  There are lipsticks in every corner of my home, and boy, I never realized how obsessed with concealer I am!  The things you learn when you challenge yourself when you’re challenged! Over the course of 31 days, I touched every drugstore-priced makeup product I own. So now it’s September, and I thought I would take some time to share some of the smaller “projects” that fall under the larger umbrella of decluttering my makeup collection.  Without further ado, here’s how I conquered my broken palette!

Happy Costuming and Dance!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Sept. 7, 2016

Transforming Aluminum Makeup Pans
for Use in Magnetic Containers

For my 31 Day Belly Dance Makeup Vlogging Challenge in July, 2016, I made a few rules for myself.  My principle mandate was to use affordable drugstore and internet products to keep the costs down.  Many women wear makeup every day, and dialing it up the intensity for stage requires an investment in new products.  Other ladies might never have been involved in cosmetics and suddenly find themselves needing to put together an entire makeup look from scratch.  Either way, makeup can be very expensive and learning new techniques can feel daunting.  So in my challenge I wanted to share some of my favorite discount products.

However, budget products can be very hit or miss.  While there are many brand loyal women, in my experience, there isn’t one company that can solve all of my cosmetic challenges.  So, my goal was to share the products I love with students of the dance who are working on perfecting their perfect performance look.

Depotting-Foil-Eye-PaletteOne of the affordable products that I love for belly dance performance is the BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Shadow Palette.  These shimmering, shiny, colorful, and crazy affordable eyeshadows are almost always on sale. At the time of this writing, it was only $12.  When I purchased it, it was made even more affordable with a site wide sale.  As you can see from the photo below, I’ve tried, used and loved many of the colors. Over the course of the 31 days, I featured this palette in nearly every look.

Depotting-White-Shadow2While the eyeshadows in this super-affordable palette are fantastic, the packaging itself left something to be desired.  In less then two weeks of daily use, the frosted top of the packaging broke off and the pans of eyeshadow began to spring free of their cheaply made molded plastic tray.  “No worries,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just pop this in a magnetic palette!” However, I soon discovered that the pans are made from aluminum and are non-reactive with a magnetic surface!  What’s a girl to do with her eye shadow pans popping out?!

My mission, glue washers onto the backs of my eyeshadow pans and place them in a magnetic container. So I raided the tool shed with a magnet in hand and found a bag zinc washers with some iron content so they would stick to the magnet.  I also located some glue that would hold metal to metal together.


This process is super simple.  Turn your depotted eyeshadow over on a piece of paper, in this case, I used paper towel. I like to make four small dots of glue and then place the washer onto the glue.  It’s good to read the label on your glue for dry times.  This glue did a fine job for this project, but there are many different formulas and brands that would work, just be sure to get an adhesive that works for metal to metal purposes.

Once the glue dried, I placed my shadows in a magnetic palette from the company Shae Moisture, purchased through Target on line. My next step is to pick my favorite colors from the BH Cosmetics Modern Mattes eyeshadow palette.  While I love, and highly recommend all the shadows in the Foil Eyes palette, I found that the colors in the Modern Matte palette were very hit and miss, so I’m only going to pick the colors that worked for best for me and fill in this tin!

Shadow-Magnetic-Palette copy


Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2016/09/depotting-aluminum-eye-shadow/

Book Reports: Becoming a Belly Dancer is Almost Done!

Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage is almost finished!  We’ve just received proof 5 in the mail and are hard at work making the final changes that will help make this publication as perfect as possible!  With 402 pages and over 1000 images of dancers of all levels of performance from complete beginner to seasoned professional and every thing in between.  I’m very proud to have been invited to join the team of four authors who contributed their expertise and knowledge from different areas of the belly dance world.

Cover_Design_2015 WEB

There are so many wonderful things to say about this book, that I’m going to have to create a whole separate page here on my website to share with you all the details!  But here are some pages from the book to check out while we finish up over the next few weeks. Our anticipated release is Mid October or sooner.  Join my mailing list to get the first notification of availability and early-bird pricing and pre-orders.


I only have 18 pages to layout out, and a list of edits to complete, and then it will go for it’s sixth and final proofing. At this moment, we are contemplating a mid October release.  This week, we held three photoshoots of Sara Shrapnell, the lead author, Shalimar and Basinah, two talented professional dancers from the greater SF Bay Area.  I just randomly pulled images from the pile to share.  Today’s todo list includes selecting the perfect shots from these photoshoots, prepping and placing them into our document.


We do have a plan for offering signed pre-orders via Kickstarter, but we are still working on the details. In the meantime, I’ve got a lot of beautiful photos to sort through, book layout that needs fine-tuning, and a list of edits that grows shorter by the day.

For more information about my co-authors, visit their websites!

Sara Shrapnell: http://www.letsbellydanceusa.com
Poppy Maya: http://www.poppymaya.co.uk/
Alisha Westerfeld: http://alishawesterfeld.smugmug.com/



Permalink: http://www.davina.us/blog/2016/09/bookreport-bab-almostdone/