Have you always wanted a Dina-style belly dance costume? I love the cute, playful look of the Dina bra. This style of belly dance bra is often called the Dina bra, because a legendary belly dancer named Dina would sport it and has become an iconic look. Nowadays many designer costumes use this style.
I’ve always wanted to make a belly dance costume that looks like it. So I was searching through the internet to find a base for this style of bra, but I quickly learned that many dancers are having a hard time fitting it properly, mostly because the bra base is made out of a very hard material.
So I decided to do an experiment to make a Dina bra out of an ordinary bra, one that I would use for any type of belly dance costumes. You will see how I made my Dina bra base, and lessons I learned from my own mistakes.
DIY Dina Bra Base
Full coverage bra
Fabric to cover the bra
Interfacing and felt – if you don’t have interfacing, you can also use strong non-stretch fabric like old denim and canvas.
Your sewing kit – pins, needles, thread, scissors, measuring tape
1. Draw the shape of Dina bra on your bra
First, draw the shape of Dina bra you want on your bra with a marker.
Important characteristics of Dina bra is that
1. bra cups are nice circles, as opposed to an oval shape that many belly dance tops have
2. And the round cups create a gap between the cups.
2. Cut the bra cups
Once you are happy with what you drew, cut out the sections you don’t need. And this is why you need a full coverage bra, because we will be cutting the bra cups, which I think is easier than adding coverage to smaller cups.
Initially, I wanted to save the underwires for a better support, but I quickly realized it’s a big mistake. The wires sticking out prevents you from creating the gap between the cups. You can keep them and hide them with fabric that you will cover the bra with, but depending on the design, it may compromise the Dina look. Bra underwires are made of a very sturdy piece of wire, so you can’t cut it with scissors or small pliers. So just cut everything off the bra cups, and if you bra cups come with extra fabric around the foam like mine, cut the fabric off too.
3. Make a base for the bra cups to be sewn on
Another characteristic of the Dina bra is the straight bottom line. We can create it with a piece of interfacing. Cut a rectangular piece of interfacing, long enough to hold the cups, and wide enough to give half a centimeter or so below the bottom of the cups and cover at least half of the cups. Pin the cups to the interfacing.
The interfacing I used worked for this experiment, but it is too thin for this type of project. I recommend using a thicker type, or sew a piece of felt cut into the same size onto the interfacing, so it gives a nice, sturdy texture and does not get pulled by pins so much.
Make sure you are comfortable with the amount of the gap between the cups. If you are not comfortable, move the cups and pin them again before sewing.
4. Sew the interfacing onto the cups
Then sew the interfacing along the curves of the cups.
5. Cut out the gap between the cups
Draw lines that extend nicely down from the cups and create sharp corners to emphasize the Dina design. Cut out the section and also cut out excess fabric inside of the bra cups.
6. Create side straps with interfacing
Next, I created side straps with interfacing. To make the straps, I basically took a measurement from the end of a bra cup around my back to the end of the other cup. Divide the measurement by 2 and gave about 5 cm for overlapping section where you attach hooks and a snap button. Add a couple of cm for seam allowance to the section which will be attached to the bra base, and this should be the length of 1 side strap. Again, I would add a piece of felt onto the interfacing to strengthen the side straps.
So just pin the side straps onto the cups and sew them together.
7. Cover the whole thing with fabric
I like the professional look of belly dance costume bras, created by lack of seams. So first I cut out the fabric large enough to cover the whole thing. Here, I used light blue, non-stretch satin fabric. Pin it to the bra from the centre.
Feel free to cut excess fabric. Also, it helps to add a few small slits where the line curves. For example, the center of the bra should be cut like this to accommodate the sharp corners.
Make a fold (i.e. dart) at the bottom of each cup to create a nice curve. If you use stretch material or flatter cups, you may not have to make folds.
Sew the fabric onto the bra base.
8. Make shoulder straps.
For this costume, I wanted straps that go over the shoulders and cross at the back. So I basically made spaghetti straps and inserted ribbon inside for added strength. Sew straps onto the bra and it’s done!
I love the look of it, it has the cute, Dina look and fits on me nicely and comfortably. Try this style when you make your next costume, and if you make your own Dina bra, please share a link to the photo of it in the comment section below!
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