Over the years I’ve made many belts.
Not all were as successful as the ones mentioned in this article.
All of the belts I’m going to talk about in this article have been used in performances. So, they aren’t that bad. I do have some that I made as an experiment and subsequently scrapped.
What’s the saying? If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs?
Anyway, these weren’t COMPLETE disasters, but in some cases, I’d only wear them UNDER something not so disastrous.
These are my dance belt fails.
Contoured top Panel Skirt
Yeah, it says “Panel Skirt”. Technically, it’s more like a hip scarf or panel skirt than a belt. But, I made a mistake making it that I should have avoided.
Because I know better.
This was one of the first “fitted” contoured waistband bottom costume piece (skirt, belt, or pants) I made for dance.
I had some “rules” I imposed on myself.
I didn’t want it to tie closed. I didn’t want the bulk of a knot because It was meant to be worn under one of Tempest’s corset belts. I didn’t want unsightly lumps of knots peeking out from between my corset lacings.
But, I also thought that creating a belt with no adjustment would essentially set me up for fitting failure.
I was wrong.
The truth is, a well-fit belt can weather several pounds of fluctuation. Of course, everybody’s body is different so your experience might be different than mine.
I decided to add a little “fit insurance” in this belt by inserting a strip of wide elastic.
What I failed to do, is interface the belt. And this is where I should have known better.
Any time a woven fabric is cut on the bias (45 degrees off-grain), or even slightly off-grain it will stretch.
Different characteristics of the fabric such as the weave and weight of the fabric will affect how much something will stretch.
I made this out of a poly/cotton broadcloth. It has a LOT of give in the bias direction. And, the belt pretty much immediately deformed, making the elastic completely unnecessary.
In fact, in order to wear it, I needed to adjust it with safety pins.
Thank goodness I never intended this to be the top layer belt.
This is another one of my ideas for a layered belt skirt thing.
Again, I was putting this under a corset laced belt (one of my own creations this time) and didn’t want to tie the belt.
Instead of using an “unforgiving” woven fabric, I chose to use spandex.
A few things are wrong with this choice.
First, it’s overkill. I didn’t need to try to make the equivalent of a belt for just a couple bunches of fringe.
Second, when you make something “fitted” out of a very stretch fabric like spandex, you don’t really need to contour it as much.
I still contoured it. Which meant that the bottom was bigger than the top.
I finished the top with an elastic band like I would a simple pair of leggings. But that left the bottom band oversized and hard to hem.
I think if I were to do it differently, I’d just sew the fringe to a piece of 1/2″ wide elastic that is long enough to have a bit of overlap and fasten it with a snap.
Man, sometimes I over-engineer the solution.
Fundamentally, this belt is not a bust.
I used interfacing.
But I made my belt too big.
If you have the choice, err on the side of making tie fastened belts too small. Worst case, you have to make the ties longer, or you have a little bit more gap where the belt ties.
If you make the belt too big, the ties can’t properly be tied, or in the case of lacings, they look silly overlapped too much.
When I was making this belt, I was trying to be fast and cheap. I had to make 4 belts to cover my troupe. Most likely, I cut everyone else’s belts out first, and cut mine last out of scrap fabric.
The backing isn’t long enough. (Yeah, I know, this wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t made the belt too big.)
I know I interfaced the back of the belt, I can feel it. But, since it was on the backing, it isn’t under the eyelets where the backing didn’t reach.
Eyelets are two pieces of metal smashed together (at least this style is). And the two rings of metal sandwich the fabric. If the fabric isn’t sufficiently reinforced, the eyelet will pull out like it has done here.
The good news is that it’s a detail that hasn’t (yet) compromised the integrity of the belt. And no one notices when I’m performing because of the fur on the belt. (That, and if anyone is close enough to see that, they better be a really good friend.)
If you are planning on making your own dance belts, avoid these fails. Go ahead, learn from my mistakes.
If you want a leg up (Or a hip up) on making your own belts, consider taking my belly dance belt course. You can sign up for info on it (It’s still a work in progress) by going here.
And if you haven’t already, definitely check out my more successful belts here.