Assiut/Assuit Belly Dance Costuming DIY General

Mixing Faux and Modern Assiut

Swirl is my informal performance group composed of my proteges and myself.  For our spring performance at HaflAdira in Willow Glen, CA, we put together a set of coordinating costumes using a combination of existing costume pieces, faux assiut, and modern assiut.  Here’s how these costumes came together.

Pulling From the Closet

Before we started costuming, we decided to do individual costume inventories.  Zemira had this gorgeous black “Bessie” skirt from the Fat Chance Bellydance studio. in her collection and this was the perfect opportunity to integrate into our trio.  Vakasha owned a Melodia “Mythica” skirt in the black and silver colorway.  I have a Melodia skirt in the same fabric but in the “Cleopatra” cut.  Since these three skirts coordinated beautifully, we decided to use these as our starting out point saving us time and money!

To make a complete a head to toe costume, we decided to unify the look by using matching body stockings.  Zemira and I already had these in our wardrobe and Vakasha picked up hers from Dahlal International.

Faux Assiut from Melodia Designs

It became clear that we were going to have to craft a trio of bras to out of the glorious Melodia faux assiut fabric.  As a team, we invested in an Infinity Scarf to be our sacrificial garment.  I took this tube and cut it apart.  There was enough fabric to create all three bras with a significant amount of cloth left over.

Zemira also bought an Infinity scarf to wear as a hip treatment over her solid black skirt. Since her scarf didn’t have fringe, I elected to use a similarly shaped piece of modern assiut to echo the shape.  Vakasha used a pair of V-shaped assiut triangles for her hip treatment, and when viewed together, they worked in visual harmony.

Custom Bras to Coordinate

To craft our faux assiut bras, we began with underwire and padded bras either from our wardrobes or new from the store.  I really feel that it’s important to get the bra that really works not only for your size and shape, but also to give you the coverage and support that you are happy with.  No two commercially made bras are the same, and the only way to find one that works for you is to go shopping and try on a lot of bras.

Once the bras were in my workbench, I pieced the faux assiut fabric onto the cups, to create three different styles.  Each bra is laid out symmetrically, from different parts of the assiut pattern.  Before I sew, I pin both cups into place to ensure that they match as closely as possible.  Then I hand sew the fabric into place.

Embellishing with Saroyan Coins

Once the faux assiut was appliqued onto the bra bases, we decided to pull some silver coins from our collections.  Vakasha had some leftover Saroyan silver “Nefertiti” coins left over from a previous project. I had some “Venus” coins and together we pooled our resources and used what we had to embellish all three bras. These coins are currently discontinued, but there’s a small quantity left on the Saroyan website.  If they spark your interest, be sure to head over there soon before they are completely gone.

These costumes are comfortable, stylish, and were actually quite affordable.  I was so happy that we shopped our wardrobes and worked together as a team to create these ensembles that we can wear together or alone.  I feel like I have a new capsule wardrobe that I can use as a base to create a variety of different looks.  I’m excited to experiment with different options in the future.

Do you like these costumes?  Check them out in action below.  And remember, if you go to YouTube, be sure to like it if you like it!

Now, I’ve gotta get back to the studio to make another costume!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Monday, June 11, 2018

Watch Our Performance

By Davina

Davina ~ Dawn Devine is a belly dance costume designer, dance instructor and author of more than a dozen publications on Middle Eastern dance.