Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A peaceful vigil for the feast of All Saints, and A COSTUME CRISIS

Well, all is calm here. Monday evening and overnight were really the worst for us. We're supposed to be getting more rain tonight and tomorrow, but I'm optimistic that things will be fine. School was back in session today, and it looks like any old overcast day. Anne and I will be attending Mass tonight at 5pm for All Saints, and I'm very excited. We were really spared the wrath of this storm. I know that on the far east coast things are going to be rough for a long time to come. :( Prayers for all of them.

On a totally different note, but something that also went down over the course of this crazy past weekend, our new group belly dance costumes are in. Oh sigh.

The entire time that I've been in the troupe, we've used the same designer from Egypt for our costumes. I've gotten 2 costumes from him, and I'm really happy with both. They're the green one and the blue one I danced in recently at the restaurant, both pictured on this blog. The blue one was a tad long and I needed it taken up an inch or so, but it wasn't a big deal. Others in my troupe were less happy with their costumes and the way they fit, so we decided to go with a different designer this time. Claire had ordered 1 costume from him and it was very nice and fit well. His prices were comparable.

So, we all got measured and picked a costume. Claire gives us the freedom to pick whatever costume design we each want, even for our group numbers. She wants everybody to feel comfortable in their costume. We all just order the same color. The dark green was our previous group color, now we chose gold.

Naturally, I spent weeks poring over costume pictures. I prefer the separate top and skirt sets, rather than a one-piece gown, so I honed in on those. There were at least a dozen that I liked, but in the end I chose a bra and belt set. What that means is that the hip belt is separate from the skirt such that you can pair it with other skirts and change up the look of the costume for very little money. I'm all about maximizing my investment, especially with more restaurant gigs hopefully in my future, so I thought I'd give this a try. With our color being gold, I knew that the bra and belt would match with any skirt that I bought, plus I already own a wine colored chiffon skirt I could wear it with. Win-win. Order submitted.

They arrived last week. Friday night before class, we all sat in the waiting room staring at the box of costumes while Claire finished up with another class. Claire poked her head in and told us to have at it, and within seconds, an explosion of sequins heralded the costume distribution. Costumes were tossed to and fro as we tried to figure out whose was whose. By process of elimination I found my costume. I didn't recognize it because:

(1) It had bronze accent beads, which I didn't order. I didn't care, they're pretty, but...

(2) It's not a bra and belt set.

I mean, the beading design is somewhat the same as the photograph (again, no matter, because it's lovely). But the belt is attached to the skirt. So I can't layer it with other skirts like I was planning.


We'll be using the gold skirt for our group performances, so I can't be taking it apart just because I want to wear it with other colors. It's not just tacked on there, I mean, it's heartily sewn into a gold lycra skirt as a single piece.

That immediately threw me for a loop, but I can even get over that. The larger problems presented themselves shortly thereafter.

Back to our story. Claire's other poor class comes into the waiting room to find a group of half-dressed women shimmying into gold lycra. A surge of gold-clad bodies pressed into the main dance studio to have access to the mirrors.

I hold my top over my boobs and frown again. Amy, my smaller-busted compadre, came over to sympathize. The bra tops are always so inflexible and stiff. The larger busted ladies are always spilling out and having to sew extra material into their tops. We small busted ladies, on the other hand, are always terrified of the ominous "Side Nipple" conundrum. Sorry, does this post need a "You Must be 18 Years Old to Read This" label?

"Side Nipple" is the phenomenon whereby the stiff (and never correctly sized) costume tops gap open and anybody with a side view can see right into your bra cup. Not exactly the view that you want your audience to see.

I've been worried about this with my other costumes, but with some tightening of the snaps in the back and straps they've been ok. This top was not looking promising. But I knew I could confer with my sewing mother-in-law for solutions. Onto the skirt...

Usually my skirts are all lycra that pull up to my hips and zip. This skirt, since it has the stiffer belt thing going on in the hip area, is just open on one side and you're supposed to sew in some hooks to close it. Well.

I wrap the skirt around my body. I quickly realize that it's at least 5-6 inches too small. I tug on it, hoping for some elasticity.


I was measured at the beginning of September. I haven't gained any weight. There is no way they correctly used my measurements to make this skirt. It wasn't even close.

Meanwhile, a scene of costume carnage was going on around me. Gowns were slipped over heads, but instead of ending at one's ankles, they were pooling onto the floor. And not just a little bit. I mean, *inches and inches* of excess fabric. Some could barely move their costumes were so tight. Breasts were decidedly NOT covered by tops. Areas of sheer fabric that were supposed to be in non-objectionable areas were revealing...body parts that the recipient had NOT intended. It was BAD.

Claire was horrified (even though it's totally not her fault) and immediately offered to sew for us. GOD BLESS HER. She took my skirt home and sewed in a whole new panel of coordinating copper material to make my skirt fit. We found an arm band that matched my belt that she could close the upper gap with. I haven't seen it yet, I'm hoping it looks flattering. :)

I enlisted my mother-in-law for Operation Gappy Top. First, she sewed hooks into the back and straps for me. Huzzah. Except the gap somehow got worse. This meant a trip to JoAnn's in which I spent an uncomfortable 10 minutes in a crowded aisle holding large foam bra pads up to my boobs to see what would work best. I'm now the proud owner of gel-filled bra inserts in my costume top, and the gapping problem is solved. I mean, the top still isn't perfect, but no nipples show, which is the important thing. This is a family friendly art form, I assure you. I look voluptuous, to be sure, but the top just gathers funny in the middle now.


I'll have bra and skirt reunited again on Friday and I'm hoping that everybody looks nice together. I really, really hope so, since our hafla is in a week and a half.

*eyebrows scrunch*

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