The other thing it has done for me is it's unleashed a corner of creativity again. Once I'm working for someone else later this summer (references pending!) I won't have to rely on the creativity money so much, and so my god-awful selling skills won't be tested to their outer limits on a daily basis. If it sells it sells and if it doesn't...well....that's a consideration for another time.
Quite often when making something I err on the side of affordability for the potential customer, but this often translates to something mundane to my eye. After all, the higher the cost of the components the higher the overall cost of the item. Not that a lot of my components are in and of themselves expensive (well, some are but I try and collect things as economically as possible) but once you start stacking them up it's surprising how much you can rack up onto one costume piece. However, this particular mind-constraint left me at the weekend. this was going to be opulent and to hell with the cost.
Saturday should have seen me at a craft fair but on waking up at 6.30am on Saturday the very last thing I felt like doing was going to a craft fair where no-one was going to buy anything from me. Occasionally I've made back my stall fee, sometimes made back my stall fee and my travel costs, and on other occasions done rather better than that but I was conscious that more more conservative items had all recently sold and that it was unlikely that I would do more than chat all day and interestingly I didn't feel like chatting, I felt like doing. I got as far as making my packed lunch for the day before finally deciding that sometimes I'm allowed to change my mind.
Feeling somewhat guilty I contacted the fair organiser and explained my absence (and apologised but to be fair she had had my stall fee in advance) and then decided to pull out all of my fabrics and jewellery and bits and bobs and see what could be divvied up into things to keep and things to sell online or at the belly dance events I'll still be attending as a vendor, as I generally do well when I'm with the sparkly people.
But it didn't work out that way......after finding a section of gold net with beautiful ornate embroidered bullion work and sequins......not a large piece, only around 25cm by 20cm at it's widest point.....I pondered what to do with it. The realisation was that I should put my big girl pants on and cut it up if it was going to get any use at all as I wanted to turn it into a tribal fusion belly dance belt.
I'll spare you the blow by blow account of what and why and cut to the pics...... (p.s. if you want the blow by blow then chuck me a message and I'll explain it to you).
So, here's where it was at after about 6 hours of sewing. But it just didn't feel right.....it needed some extra va va voom........
Tassels were made from some cute bead caps I had made by cutting up a big old metal bead with my super strong craft scissors (love them so much, they cut through thinnish sheet metal like a dream) and using some Egyptian bead fringe from the stash made some tassels. To make sure the tassels were secure I used tiger-tail rather than thread and sewed it up through the tassel, through the bead cap, up through the beads, into the fabric and inner layer of the belt and then back down again before crimping it securely in place.
Here's a close up of the bullion and embroidery work. Although it's a scary thing to cut through (omigod will it all fall apart!?) previous experience told me a few beads will shed from this stuff but it is so resilient it can withstand it and it was all firmly sewed into place on the brocade backing before adding the extra embellishments.
Once upon a time I would have used just one element across the top or bottom section but these days it's so much more satisfying to play around a bit and for this one used combinations of old Turkoman buttons, new metal stampings, shells, chandelier beads, and use some silver ric-rac to thread the Turkoman buttons and tribal coins onto......in fact this is still very symmetrical so the next challenge is to do take inspiration from my opulent headdresses and make them "balanced" but not symmetrical. After pulling out my stash of vintage brooches I found two big golden star/flower shaped ones and popped those on for some extra impact.
This pic makes me feel slightly woozy but only because blogger won't let me turn it around...... those chandelier beads? All vintage..... in fact quite a lot of the components are vintage and have been waiting to be used on something as opulent and decadent as this. Looking at where the net is sewn to the base I think it may need some more love, a scattering of vintage rhinestones might stop me from wincing when looking at it.
See that big sparkly thing by the ring at the end? That's a button! There's another at the other end too. They are hugely heavy and I can't begin to imagine what they were on originally - maybe a coat?
These clear acrylic buttons are also vintage.
Here's the whole shebang but obviously you can't see the detail....hence the picture fest.....
And here's another close up of the gorgeous embroidery work - at the top there is a bracelet bought at least 5 years ago that's been waiting to be used - I can date it because I remember being pregnant with my youngest and he's just coming up for 5 years old. The glue on the bracelet gave the big stones a yellowish hue, which annoyed me initially but being a magpie couldn't get rid of it and it turned out to be perfect for this gold and silver combination. In the end there was about 8 hours work on this and there may well be a few more tweaks till happiness sets in completely.
Now what's needed is to do is use up the rest of the net and the bullion/embroidery work. There's an edge section left that will make a great edge on a bra, plus there's enough gold net to cover a bra too as the groundwork for more embellishment. And there should be just enough bits and bobs of embroidery left to make a headdress that "matches" although I don't really enjoy making matchy matching things.....
Also tucked away in my stash is some even more amazing bullion work on a red fabric so you should look out for a red and gold version of this, there's a black shalwar kameez that has black and silver leaf and stem embroidery that will make cool set, and work is ongoing on a blue chiffon base/gold and pink embroidery costume that's properly for myself. Properly because if these babies don't sell then they're all mine aren't they?
It's not up for sale in the shop yet but I'm willing to sell this beauty for £120 - she measures about 3" deep and is 40" long from D-ring to D-rind and can be tied in place with a scarf or other fabric. Feel free to message me if you're interested.