I managed to finish restoring the fringe in time for yesterday's photoshoot! It looks lovely, I'm really happy with the way it came out. The restoration isn't complete yet, but it was finished enough to get photos done. The bedlah will need to be fitted to me better before dancing in it and the accessories still need to be redone. Here is what I accomplished this week...
After a week of working on the belt fringe I finished it at midnight the night before the photoshoot. Stringing the fringe was time consuming, but not difficult. The fringe has a deep v in the center. The front piece only had a small amount of fringe missing so I was able to just fill in the gaps and match the length to the the surrounding pieces but the back was very bare so to make sure the length was correct I traced the fringe on the front of the belt and used the tracing as a template to make the fringe for the back. I love the somewhat chaotic look of Bella fringe, and it actually makes it easier to string since the strands don't need to be exactly the length as the surrounding pieces, they only need to be a similar length. It has been a while since I have made non-swag fringe so I tried several ways of stringing before deciding on the quickest way. The first thing I tried was looping the thread back through the strand to tie it off, this was the method I used when I restored a gold bedlah a while back, but it is time consuming and not particularly easy. Then I tried tying each strand at the belt, stringing it and tying it off at the bottom. This worked fine but it was hard to get the knot at the bottom to be snug against the last bead so some strands had a little bit of thread showing at the top which looked funny. My boyfriend suggested I do the knot at the bottom first, string the strand and then tie it to the belt. This ended up being the fastest and easiest way. The fringe at the sides of the belt is straight for a portion before it begins lengthening for the v. I restored the straight sections first. Then I added a few strands right at the point of the v so I would be able to more easily follow the slope of the v. I then filled in the v on one side and then on the second side. By some miracle I ended up having enough beads for all the fringe even though I only bought one hank of each type. Thank goodness!
The bra straps are short and can only be worn as a halter. I find halters to be very uncomfortable so this will have to change before I can dance in it. The morning of the photoshoot I whipped together an extender to turn the straps into a Y back instead of a halter. It worked but didn't look as good. Since I didn't have time to mess with it until it was perfect I switched it back to a halter for the shoot. This will need further experimentation. I still like the Y back idea but I may just make new straps that are longer so it can be an x-back like the majority of my costumes.
The photoshoot was tons of fun! Paul is one of my absolute favorite photographers to work with. My friend Chaya and I split the shoot so that one of us could be getting photos done while the other was changing costumes. My student Serenity came with us as well, she is a hair and makeup stylist and always does a fantastic job (check out her facebook page here: ). I will get the photos back soon and post the results along with part 3 of the restoration. I forgot one of the armbands at home and it looked a little weird with just one so there are no armbands in the photos. I received the headpiece from Jericha and it looks amazing. She chose to make it with a yellow flower to bring out the gold highlights in the costume and made a centerpiece out of leftover beads and AB crystals from my stash and additional beads she choose to compliment. I used a golden yellow organza veil that looked great with the flower (the veil was a Bhuz purchase). I also ended up using the trumpet skirt that came with the Bella, it doesn't fit that well and is too short but with creative posing you can't tell.
More Work to be Done
I still need to make new wristlets and chiffon sleeves, reconfigure the bra, reline the belt (and sew back in the Bella tag I saved), try to refit the trumpet skirt, and buy some green jewelry. Photos coming soon!
My adventures in dance, music, costume design...