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Three Day Assiut Costume Challenge – Part One

Hello Friends in Dance And Costuming,

OMG – I’m performing this weekend and I don’t have a thing to wear!  This is a classic case of the  cobbler’s kids have no shoes!  How can I, a costume guru of sorts, appear at a show wearing.. well.. off the rack stuff? I’m going to put all my projects for the next three days on hold, changing my plans, and making a costume NOW.  I frequently tell friends, clients and students that planning and executing a costume doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take a lot of time.  SO – I’m going demonstrate in a quick series of blog posts which will document this quickie “made in a minute” costume.

Clock Starts NOW!

First Thing:  Take Inventory and Make a Plan

My Motto: When time is tight, work with as many materials as you have on hand.   I start out by making notes on what pieces I have to work with.  Since I knew I was dancing, I brought along some basic costume pieces.  I’m also working on a Costumes of the Maghreb, and doing some research on Assiut.  (Which is spinning off into it’s own book because THAT chapter grew to epic proportions!  More on that project to comes soon!)   I do a lot of doodling while I’m making notes.  Here’s my inventory on paper, complete with slopping short-hand notes and rough sketches.

Inventory of existing pieces and materials on hand.

Costume Goal:  Put together an outfit that features MORE assiut.

First: I will make a quick-and-dirty panel skirt from the shawl.
Second: Make a new bra using the plain black bra and left over scraps of assiut.
Third: Create a headdress using assiut.
Fourth: Make a hip sash from assiut.  (I don’t think I’m going to make this one – but lets try!)

Down and Dirty Panel Skirt

So – I can take the shawl and turn it into a skirt.  That was not my original plan for this piece of assiut, but it’s a simple matter of  cutting it down the middle and putting a waist band onto it.  Ooops – I don’t have  a sewing machine.  SO – I’m going to improvise with a bunch of large safety pins and pin a front and a back panel directly to my harem pants.   I’m on the road, and while I have a small sewing kit with me, I just don’t take a sewing machine everywhere I go.   When I get home, I’m going to take the time to turn this shawl into a proper panel skirt.  For now, this is what I’m going to do:

1 – CUT – Since this shawl has a center panel, I’m going to cut to either side of the panel to preserve those useful motifs.  I’m not terribly worried about the panel skirt being too short, as I can always add a yoke to bring it to the proper length when I get home.

Be Brave!

2 – PIN – I used about 20 pins in the process – 10 in the front and 10 in the back.   I started by pinning down the sides where I wanted them.  I then divided the fabric in half, to find the center, and then pinned the center of the panel to the center of the pants.   Then I folded the fabric a bit to make it fit the width, pinning above the motifs so it will hang as straight as possible.

Yoked Harem Pants with Assiut Side Panels – Design by Anaar of Tombo Studios.

When viewed from the inside, you can see that I placed a pin about every 4" accross each panel

When viewed from the inside, you can see that I placed a pin about every 4″ accross each panel

I would like to take a moment and thank my ancient Roman ancestors for inventing the Fibula, which evolved into the modern safety pin. Without you, this quick and new-sew skirt would not be possible.  Thanks!

This pinned-in-place skirt is not a permanent or final solution.  When I get home, this will become a finished skirt or perhaps some other garment, but for this weekend, it will function just fine as a quickie pinned on 2-panel skirt.  A little short, but very very sweet.

Skirt Panel Safety Pinned to Pants – I call this project Done (enough for now)

Next Step: Assiut Bra – Check out the next post  ~ Dawn Devine ~ Davina

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