I always make my own dance costumes, and I like for them to reflect my style. But my aesthetic as a dancer is very modern, fusion, and probably more streamlined than what non-dancers of when they think of the bedazzled “belly dancer”. Recently I started working on a new dance costume for an upcoming steampunk themed event. I love western inspired steampunk (attributed to my Oklahoma and native American heritage), so my costume design is inspired by the femme outlaws on “Strange Empire”. Since eventually I would like to do more costuming based on this genre and I want to be able to use parts of this costume outside of dance, I wanted the vest to be a solidly built base piece to my costume.
The vest is totally self-patterned. It’s pretty basic in design with a collar and lapel, but with an interesting cutout design on the back. This is influenced by a similar motif that I see on a lot of Colleen Atwood’s costumes (particularly in Tim Burton films), and I like the weird edgy vibe it gives to otherwise normal looking Victorian clothing pieces. The original idea was to have the pointy ends on the “tabs” (for lack of a better word?) attach to the right side of the vest with buttonholes and buttons, but the tabs ended up being a little
too short, so I ended up omitting the buttonholes and just sewing the buttons directly onto the tabs. I used antique buttons that I already had in my stash. The one thing I am mad at myself about is that I completely forgot to match stripes. I made this vest using fabric leftover from a past project, so I was trying to fit my pattern pieces wherever I could line them up with grainline, and yeah. That happened. I just wasn’t paying attention, which is annoying because I usually obsess over details like that. Stripe-matching matters, guys. Don’t do what I did.
Despite a few imperfections, overall, I am pretty happy with how this turned out considering how quickly I threw it together. I just need to finish the belts and the accessories, and this costume will be good to go!