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A few old articles mouldering in Saqra's back files.

 And here are two more tips emailed to lists recently:



by Saqra

General tips for optimum snake performance:

1) Play with a snake before you buy it. Each snake has a distinctly different personality.

2) Keep your snake healthy and well fed to prevent striking injuries to you -- snake bites are uncomfortable and can be dangerous (for example, in the eye area).

3) Do not allow your snake to wrap around your neck, even if it is small and poses little danger to you (or is a mammoth snake with a sweet personality). It sets a very dangerous example for children and the general public.

There is also the potential for forgetting to prevent a BIG snake from wrapping around your rather vulnerable neck until too late to prevent damage to yourself or to the snake (by the way, they unwrap from you most easily if you start from the tail tip instead of the head).

4) Do NOT hand your snake to anyone with whom you are not completely familiar. In addition to the obvious potential theft problem, there is a possibility that that person who says they own big snakes, or that friend who has been around your snakes "hundreds of times" is an incompetent handler -- potentially damaging your valuable pet and maybe worse yet risking an injury to themselves and/or others for which you are legally liable.

5) One option when faced with "Can I hold him? Can I hold him?" is to let them pet the snake. Keep a hold near the head of the snake to try to prevent people from frightening the poor thing by sticking their hands and faces in the snake's little face and to keep the head safe --also to prevent striking with an unfamiliar or flighty snake.

Watch for children (and mean or ignorant adults) who may pinch or squeeze the snake, and do not forget the parts of the snake you cannot see, like the coils behind you.

6) Know the health requirements for your variety of snake and accommodate them when you travel. Temperature is very important, and snakes must never be left in a hot car.

If many of these subjects seem like common sense, I would like to point out that I compiled this list from observation.

Remember, a snake is an animal, NOT A PROP.



by Saqra

In the course of belly events, we discover that someone has to set the line-up of dancers, or the order of appearance, for every show.

The prime thing to decide: is the line-up for the dancers or for the audience?

A "dancers" line-up usually runs from lowest ranking to highest ranking (a judgement based on the experience, quality or even popularity of each dancer).

This gives the show producer (and let me remind you that the smallest student night is a SHOW) a definite guarantee of increasing quality for the audience.

Unfortunately, the costs of this method of creating a line-up can be high for both the dancers and the audience.

Ranking dancers is going to cause (not "may cause," it WILL cause) competition and hurt feelings. The veteran dancer who reads between the lines (or the line-up positions) when she is suddenly on BEFORE that new, talented little whippersnapper is going to feel some hostility.

As for the audience... The audience does not usually appreciate a ranked show as much as a planned one, especially at about the fifth beginning dancer!

Beginning a show slowly and dragging it out for the first half hour is a way to be certain that those people who suddenly "have to go, now" (and boy, will they ever run -- or worse yet, want to) will remember your dreary event and have going to your NEXT event on their eagerness list somewhere after a dentist visit.

Let's walk through the actual mechanisms that can be used to create a varied line-up.

First, count your dancers and count up your breaks -- an audience needs a break after four dancers, but will survive through six.

Space your breaks (5 to 15 minutes is usually sufficient. People seem to wander off if the break is beyond 20 minutes) evenly through the evening.

Now break your dancers into 3 categories: 1) Strong dancers, 2) Specialty performers and 3) Normal dancers.

"Strong dancers" designates people who will really excite/fascinate your audience, for whatever reason: high quality dancing, or especially good audience skills, or perhaps someone from out of town.

The rest of your dancers make up the remaining 2 lists -- "Specialty performers" will be performing an unusual dance, dancing with a prop, using unusual music, or maybe performing some sort of novelty dance. I include troupes and duets on this list.

What I call "Normal dancers" consists of beginners, plain cabaret-style performers and the infamous "I-don't-know"s (someone about whom I have no information).

The strongest dancers are placed at the beginning and end of each "set" of performances (a set starts at the beginning of a show -- or after a break -- and ends at the end of a show -- or the next break). If you have a surplus of strong dancers, place the extras evenly at the ends of each set. Try to place different dance styles next to each other -- "fabulously fluid" next to "high voltage", for example.

Now evenly space the specialty performers throughout the middle of each set, padding in between the specialty performers with the remaining "normal" dancers.

Other factors can crop up at the time of the event: similar costume colors, same music choice, inability to perform at a later/earlier time, and sometimes these factors must be a accommidated, but remember as you do that each change may be weakening your overall entertainment value, and THAT is what keeps people coming to your events.

Example of an interesting 10 dancer show:

-Strong dancer

-Normal dancer

-Specialty performer

-Normal dancer

-Normal dancer

-Strong dancer


-Strong dancer

-Normal dancer

-Specialty performer

-Strong dancer



by Saqra

"...and then she did a backbend to the floor while doing undulations and a two-footed freeze shimmy! Can you do that?"

Ah, those dreaded words that make teachers cringe: CAN YOU DO THAT?

Those words of challenge have led many a dancer to later prolonged agony as she tosses out a confident, "well, sure," and drops a lovely backbend to the floor with all the trimmings. Of course, her husband finds her later sitting in her car in the driveway, unable to exit the vehicle.

Which leads to the subject...


You can't treat all your injuries yourself, and you should definitely see your doctor if you have:

Severe pain from any injury (may be a broken bone or a dislocated joint).

Persistent pain in a bone, joint or muscle due to physical trauma: a fall or blow, or perhaps a wrenching, twisting or tearing (you know it when you do it).

An injured part that no longer works (can't bend your elbow...).

Popping noise accompanied by unbearable pain when you try to extend your limb (you may have blown a tendon).

Quick, sudden swelling.

Any traumatic injury to the head, neck or back.

Well, since we have now covered the Turkish drop...

Most injuries are simple (though perhaps excruciating) sprains, strains and pulls that you may treat yourself -- though if a bone, joint or muscle continues to hurt for longer than two weeks, to the doctor you must go.

First aid for injuries? RICE!

Rest! Ice! Compression! Elevation!

Rest: prevents further injury

Ice: slows the flow of fluids through damaged tissues, decreasing swelling, bleeding and bruising and decreasing pain by slowing nerve impulses

Compression: pressure on the injury slows swelling by pushing fluids out of the injured area

Elevation: keeping the injury above the level of the heart allows gravity to drain away fluids and further decrease swelling

NEVER APPLY HEAT to the injury within 48 hour of when you hurt yourself -- no heating pads, no "soak in a hot tub." When injured, apply ice packs as soon as possible. Commercial ice packs can be kept in the freezer against future need. Crushed ice or frozen non-squishy vegetables like lima beans (obviously in a bag. A box would probably not conform to the injury site) are good alternatives to commercial ice packs.

During the first day or two it is best to perform cold therapy to the injury, and repeat the six steps every four hours:

1) 10 min - Apply ice packs, held firmly in place with an elastic bandage, elevate the injury above the heart

2) 10 min - Remove ice, re-bandage, elevate

3) 10 min - Apply ice, re-bandage, elevate

4) 10 min - Remove ice, re-bandage, elevate

5) 10 min - Apply ice, re-bandage, elevate

6) 10 min - Remove ice, re-bandage, elevate

Do not apply ice for more than 10 minutes at a time or your body will have an antiİfreezing reaction and send lots of nice warm blood to the area -- this makes the skin turn red, burn, itch and increases the swelling instead of reducing it. Ice will not actually freeze your tissues (unless you have unbelievably poor circulation) because it is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and living tissue freezes below 25 degrees -- as long as ice is melting (even incredibly slowly) you know the temperature is hovering around 32 degrees and you are safe.


By the third or fourth day, after the swelling has passed, you can now use heat to rehabilitate the injury. Heat increases the blood supply to the site of the injury, allowing more white blood cells in to remove by-products of the damage and also eases pain and muscle spasms.

Heating pads and baths should feel pleasant and warm --in temperature ranging about 100 degrees since you begin to cook at 113 degrees. If it hurts, it is too hot. 15 to 20 minutes gives the maximum effect, but that does not mean you have to quit if it feels good!

When it no longer hurts just sitting there, gently start moving the injured area. Stop if you feel ANY pain, don't try to "work through it."

If the injury is too stiff to bend in some direction or is too weak to hold you for at least 20 seconds it is too early to re-train.

Otherwise, slowly increase your work load until you are back to your pre-injury training level -- stretching and strengthening the specific area injured being an additional focus with a special attention to stretching the area after workout and icing it for 10 minutes even if it is free of pain until you are all the way back to your original level.

Remember, in case of injury: RICE - Rest, Ice (10 min on/off), Compression, Elevation.

Take all of your injuries seriously, or you will feel all of your  injuries forever.



by Saqra

Copyright 1995 Saqra Studio

Arabic - "Sagat"

Persian - "Zang", "Sunouj"

Turkish - "Zills"

Students - "Trouble"


1) "Egyptian Cabaret dancers!!"

Though not completely true, this exception to cymbal playing has a clarification: the dancer hires a band and the band includes someone who can, and will, play the finger cymbals when necessary -- and you'll notice that it is "necessary" enough that that base is covered. Egyptian dancers usually DO play their cymbals at some point in their shows to prove they can.

2) Someone who CAN'T play

Everyone has different abilities that they bring to the dance, and if trying to play the cymbals well while remembering dance steps, listening to the music, bending your knees, lifting your ribs, relaxing your shoulders, holding your arms correctly, not looking at the floor, wearing a pleasant facial expression, keeping a diagonal presentation, covering the floor, executing smooth transitions, making level changes, moving your hands and remembering to breathe is one too many things to do, then forget the zills in performance for now.

If you do not play your zills well, they can undo all the other great things you are doing right for the audience. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent the possible damage!


Many teachers do not teach playing finger cymbals in the first year of belly dance. Many more do not teach zil playing at all.

There seems to be an extra measure of difficulty for the advanced dancer to add the zills to her dancing as compared to learning to play them from the beginning levels.

Apparently the advanced dancer has already established the way she thinks while she is dancing, and adding a new and complex task to her repertoire seems to stay something that needs conscious effort to do. This seems to be something like changing from an automatic transmission to a standard transmission -- you are only adding two more tasks (clutching & shifting) to a BIG list of tasks being performed, but those two tasks may occupy most of the driver's attention for the next few years of driving.

Bearing it in mind that learning to play the zills as an advanced dancer may cause accidents...


Finger Cymbals are made by a variety of manufacturers, but they fall into some general parameters that will be detailed here.

Most high quality zills range in size from 2 to 4 inches, and weigh in the range of 4oz. to 3/4lb for a set of four. An average "professional dancer" style zil weighs nearly 2oz. per cymbal and is about 2-1/2" in diameter.

Finger cymbals are most often made from solid brass or silver plated brass, but specialty metals are also used -- Saroyan Mastercrafts features solid silver zills made of a German silver alloy and there are a very few manufacturers that hand work copper pieces into zills.

Machined zills usually have a shiny finish that you can maintain with brass polish or wax and usually have a "matched" tone (all the cymbals will sound identical when played two at a time), while cast cymbals have a rough surface (that you do not have to maintain) and have an earthier tone that is unlikely to be matched to the other cymbals because of the process of manufacture.

It is perfectly acceptable that the cast zills do not sound identical (and in some ways may be more traditional) but you MUST be certain that they sound okay to yourself and others. It is possible for the zills to be at tones that do not work together pleasingly. You MUST play cast zills before purchase.

One cymbal manufacturer is working to achieve cast zills with matched tones, and we are looking forward to the success of that venture!

Some general shapes of cymbals include: Persian - a deep dome shape, Arabic - gently flared/conical, and Turkish - with turned up edges similar to a sombrero. The shapes affect the pitch (note) of the zil, plus how long it will ring and how loud it will play.

Other things that affect the sound of the zills include age and wear, and the temperature they are being played at.

Cast zills and zills of unaged metal will change tone over time.

One last factor that affects the play of your cymbals is the one hole versus two hole selection. Cymbals come with either one hole or two holes to attach the elastic.

One hole zills have a distinctly different sound compared to two hole zills -- more of a vibrating tone -- and are less stable on the dancer's hand and more likely to turn out of position. The sound is rather unique, but they can not be used for precision high-speed cymbal work.

Two holed (or slotted) zills spread the pivot point of the cymbals across the width of your finger and allow more stability in action and a more stable bell-like tone. Two slots also allow the use of wider elastic which means you can decrease the tightness of the elastic without risking damage to your audience from flying zills!

A side note: you can perfume your zills by putting your perfume on the inside edge of your cymbals before you perform or practice with them. You will be literally beating the essential oils into the metal, and the scent will soon become permanent.


Beginning dancers will want a small size zil or a lightweight version of a large zil for your first finger cymbals (as they really are heavier than you think), while intermediate level and above dancers who have been regularly working their hands in their dance can select whatever sound pleases them (small zills and lightweight versions are also a little more quiet, if you prefer to play a little less obviously, while cast zills must be played carefully in order to not deafen your audience playing in small rooms indoors).

Elastic (preferably 3/8 to 1") is run from the cupped inside of the cymbal, through the hole, fitted around the finger, and back through the hole to the cupped inside of the cymbal again -- where it is either tied in a square knot, sewn, or pinned with a tiny safety pin. The elastic is then trimmed to about 1/8" from the fastening and the cut end of the elastic can be edged with fray check or super glue to prevent unraveling.

The zills are worn on the thumb and middle finger between the fingernail and the last joint of the finger, and should be tight enough that they do not shake off when you shake your hand moderately. It is safe and normal for your fingers to turn blue and cold during extended playing -- medical personnel have assured me this is no problem for two hours!

Place your cymbals on your fingers so they touch flat face to face when you bring them together, then rotate your thumb zil down a little around your finger -- this aids in getting them to ring by ensuring they are NOT hitting each other flat.

-- I am going to assume we are all right handed for this article.

Left handed dancers: Yes, you DO have to do everything mirror image as is usual. I know you will have no problem turning the instructions around as you are forced to do that every day of your life. You are also going to have to be more versatile than anyone else if you join a troupe of righties as you may need to be playing on the same hand in a routine, but you are used to challenges.


Strike your zills together and pull them apart quickly to check you have a good ringing tone. Your left hand will want to clack instead of ring -- keep an eye on your sneaky non-dominant hand.

If the bottom side of your forearm hurts after playing you are working your thumb too hard, if the back of your hand hurts you are working your finger too hard -- try to correct the balance so get the most endurance (and the least discomfort)!

Your basic gallop pattern should be played:  R L R, R L R, R L R, R L R, with the count falling on the second R (the next section will explain that, if that does not make sense to you).

Your urge will probably be to play R R L, R R L,. If you give in to that and do not correct it when you start it WILL affect your speed in the long run, so why not watch it at the start?

Note: if you happen to be a musician -- they are not triplets, they are three sixteenth notes and a sixteenth rest with the count falling on the third sixteenth note: and a one, and a two, and a three, and a four.


Now we are going to walk with it.

We are, too.

Start your zills: R L R, R L R, R L R, R L R...

Now play that second right WHILE you step and say:

R L (step)(pause) R L (step)(pause) R L (step)(pause) R L (step)(pause)....

Then you will try saying the normal count:

R L (ONE) (and) R L (TWO) (and) R L (THREE) (and) R L (FOUR) (and)....

Your walk should be with the normal count of the music

Stomp about like Frankenstein until you are ready to start trying steps, and when you start adding steps do not get fancy and try to do anything but the foot pattern -- in other words, don't swing your hips or move your arms or even smile while doing an Egyptian basic step. Just: touch step touch step (or however YOU learned it) with your feet while you try to mesh the zills in.

Remember: this really stinks to learn, but it WILL get easier.

Take every chance to tap your fingers together while you walk when you are walking around during your regular day -- it's not as noticeable as you would think!


There are three things to play while you dance:

1) The rhythm

The actual rhythm that the drummer is playing (Beledi, Chiftatelli, Ayoub, Karsilama, etc) or what you think you hear the drummer playing -- but do NOT play the melody of the music(what the other instruments are playing).

2) Counter rhythms

Playing things that go with the rhythm and do not conflict (gallop, rolls -- a quick alternating of L and R). They may also match with a specific step you are performing -- like rolling your cymbals during a shoulder shimmy.

3) Body accents

Accenting a movement you are making with sharp, non-rhythm related zil strike -- playing once for each hip drop would be an example.


Don't wait until you are completely confident with your playing to take your zills to the stage with you. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE THEM: just take them and WEAR them in less crucial situations.

This will give you the choice to try them without feeling committed to playing them the whole time. Just ding them a couple of times and forget about them.

If you do try to play and are afraid you will look unprofessional if it goes bad during an attempt, there are ways to cover it up: as soon as you hear your zills going stinky simply interrupt the step or step series you are executing with a small, dramatic spin or turn (during which you can conveniently quit playing), then continue dancing until you have enough nerve to try again!

The other reason you should try carrying your zills into performance before you are really planning to use them much is to develop the ability to perform the other sections of your dance with your cymbals on.

I firmly believe that removing your zills during a performance is distracting and inelegant and should only be done if you have no other choice -- a special handwork series, snake work, MAYBE double veil (though many dancers have no trouble with it) can all be legitimate reasons to ditch your zills -- but simple single veil work is not difficult with even a LITTLE practice.

Use the index finger against the tip of the thumb or the ring and pinky finger on each hand to work with your veil.

How many times have you watched a good dancer doing hip work to the music while she tries to screw her zills back on the correct fingers for the finale?


Not all the time throughout your entire routine (especially if you only know the gallop pattern).

Not during quiet, slow music (even if you DO know the rhythm).

Not during LIVE drum solos (you're stepping on the drummer's chance to shine if you haven't already okayed it with her).

Not near people with hearing aids.

Not at 2am in an apartment building.

Not during someone else's dance without their permission.

Not while your instructor is speaking.


Finger cymbals can make a good dancer WITH them competitive with a GREAT dancer without them. Be it the excitement the sound automatically creates in the nervous system of anyone listening, or the involvement with the music that the playing makes for the dancer -- whatever the cause, finger cymbals can add an amazing extra dimension to your dance.



by Saqra

Rushing the music is one of the easiest flaws to identify in a dancer -- cutting off movements, looking self-absorbed in fast sections, veilwork that looks as though she is swatting at mosquitos.

Why is it a flaw? Some would say it is simply a personal style, but...

The purpose of our type of dance is to provide a visual counterpart to our music -- making the music three-dimensional, so to speak.

Rushing the rhythm breaks the energy pattern that the watcher senses. In other words, the music and the dancing are no longer one work, but instead appear to be two unrelated and separate things -- usually too much to pay attention to for the watcher, and the audience immediately stops trying to watch.

Several things can cause rushing, the most obvious of which is stage fright.

I am completely convinced that the adrenaline coursing through a terrified dancer could not only light Los Angeles, but may actually change their perception of the music itself -- they actually hear the music as slower than it is to the audience, and they are thinking so fast they have the ability to think of every step they know on every single beat!

Things that can help stage fright include experience (sorry, but that still is the best one), practice (increases your confidence), and using techniques to re-pattern your dancing behavior.

1) Slow your music

Try slower music than you usually prefer -- especially if you are addicted to speeding 9/8s!

2) Slow your dance

Try doing each step 8 times in practice, instead of constantly changing from step to step.  Repetition really can be too predictable on stage, but it is essential to develop calm and smooth transitioning.

Try suddenly changing to half speed with each step during practice and give special attention to making the step "work" even at low speed -- really making the movement performance level while moving slowly.

Try taping a 20 minute routine with long songs (no shimmy for this -- this is for speed practice) and as you dance to each song you will find that as you tire you begin thinking while you dance (hopefully thinking, "SLOW DOWN!"). This is best done while imagining an audience consisting of professional dancers, the most critical amateur dancers you can think of, and your mother-in-law.

Feel your music Another cause of rushing is not feeling your music.

This often happens when the dancer is focused on a difficult step or series of steps and is more interested in "doing" them than in dancing. Sometimes because of over practice of a piece or a routine.

One way to develop more feeling in your dance is to practice dancing to a highly emotional american piece and really listening to the words and dancing them.

Part of the problem we have with feeling and the music is that most of us are not Middle Eastern, and we need to learn to use our steps to convey emotion --emotion we have to fight to recognize in foreign music.

Feeling your music will lead you to dance WITH it rather than TO it.

One last motivation to slow your steps: you spent a lot of effort LEARNING your steps, let other people SEE your steps!  



-Sit down

-Set the sword up on edge across your legs and let it keel over towards whichever side it wants to.

-See the flat side which is now up? Take the middle of that flat "up" side and place the middle of that flat "up" side DOWN against the thigh of one of your legs (two legs is too big a surface, so get rid of one of your legs... don't chop it off with the sword, though <giggle>).

-With the sword held flat against one of your thighs, gently press the hand and point ends downward just a teeny bit.. not very hard.. And then test by letting it stand up on edge. Do it a number of times until it stands up nicely when released. Better to do it in small increments.



-----On an email list someone was discussing treating a costume with vodka to "neutralize" sweat... someone else implied vodka was liquid sugar... this was my own reply. Please use any of my advice herein with caution.-----

Hi guys!

First, regarding the vodka/Febreeze thing... I know nothing about using vodka on costumes except that all vodka is comprised of is ethanol (a type of alcohol) and water. It should actually leave absolutely no residue but moisture .... BUT with either vodka or Febreeze you are going to want to be very careful about making a habit of repeatedly spraying a costume with either one. No matter how carefully you try to spray just the inside, there is bound to be some overspray that gets on the decoration and can eventually ruin it due to a lack of color-fastness of the decorations themselves.

Vodka would NOT "neutralize" sweat, but I suppose it could potentially WASH sweat out of the fringe threads if applied to the extent of saturation.

Okay.... I'm just gonna spit up everything else I can think of regarding costuming tips ....hope something is helpful to someone out there. Remember, this is only what *I* do/the rules *I* use...

If anyone needs or wants better explanation on any of this, just holler...



I use regular old cheap people shampoo and cold water to wash my costumes (both the bedlah and any tulle bi telli aka "Assuit")... Woolite is terribly harsh, as is BABY shampoo (did you know you can perm your hair with baby shampoo? That it will take the grease off your driveway? Nasty...). Regular people shampoo is designed to remove skin oils.

Stir around the shampoo in a sink of cold water, then dunk and gently swish the costume in the soapy water. Refill the sink with clean cold water, dunk and swish, then lay out as flat as is reasonable on a towel in a normal temperature room (cold room may mildew the costume) until completely dry.

I love garlic... but I only eat it when I will not be in costume for a week. If garlic sweat gets into your costume, burn it. Nothing will take it out. You can't wash it out, you can't sell it, and god forbid you forget and store it touching another costume. You can try covering the smell with perfume, but that can have just as disgusting results as just plain reeking of garlic. I have a costume I can only wear when I am on a stage away from a live audience. Continuing on....

Many plain old spots will come out with Naphtha (lighter fluid). Test in an inconspicuous place first. Wax can be removed with wax removal products from the sewing store -- look in the notions department, usually.

Tarnished silver plated jewelry NOT on fabric backings can be put into a dish lined with aluminum foil, sprinkled with quite a bit of baking soda, then covered with boiling water to remove the tarnish. Be careful with some of the tribal import jewelry as the stones are sometimes set with wax (that's also a problem with leaving them in hot cars).


Never store your costumes in plastic bags or closed suit-type garment bags unless actively transporting them. They need to breathe. I store all my costumes in cloth sided storage closets (get 'em at Target) for the increased airflow.

A sock full of baking soda and rice will help absorb both odors and moisture. Just put the sock in one bra cup and fold the other over so it closes it in somewhat... then I store the bras and belts in separate compartments of a hanging cloth closet shoe caddy... it hangs from the closet rod in the portable storage closets and usually has about 8 square compartments one above the other... you may have to look at the storage section of the discount store to see which ones I mean. I have several, plus a rack inside one of the closets --- the one devoted primarily to bedlah sets -- that I lay costumes that are still airing out/drying from performance out on.

Taking the time to baste in a thin felt liner you can replace occasionally is REALLY worthwhile, too in both bras and belts.

When I hang veils prone to wrinkling (I use the French Lame' ones a lot, and I DO iron them because a steamer really doesn't do the job) I use a clip hanger and hang the veils from two spots about 2.5 feet in from the outside upper corners -- where you usually hold or tuck the veil in performance -- and allow the veil to softly curve. Then any wrinkles that go into the fabric from hanging are naturally curved instead of a sharp line... saves ironing time by a big margin.


When I purchase a costume I immediately hang it upright on a clothes line and spray it lightly with clear plastic spray paint -- bead fringe and all  -- with special attention to any sequin in the armpit area. Then if it has pailettes I treat them with a three stroke per side clear nail polish application (test this first. It takes practice to not make it go streaky or crackly, and definitely don't get it on the thread) because pailettes and sequin, along with some types of coated beads, are NOT colorfast.

If the beads don't seem properly and securely tied at the ends of the fringe strands, I go through and put a very small dot of Dritz FrayCheck on each fringe end.

Then I do the fittings and reinforce all strap connections -- I do it AFTER treating the costume so if I undo something later for resale it will all have been treated the same.  -- On the same note, if I have a costume custom made I always get the bra band larger than it should be for me so I can re-sell the costume. I have a large bust and a really small rib cage - 23" - that makes it hard to fit to someone else. And I never cut a skirt down or make a skirt to my own size, even though I am quite short. I buy or make it for someone about 5'6" and baste it up at the waistline... same thing... resale value.

The gold chrome and silver chrome nail polishes can be used to repaint any of those metallic coated plastic beads that flake to their white base. Using the nailpolish trick on beat-up pailettes with smooth and restore much of their original appearance and gloss (once again, remember the practice thing -- and I've got costumes with pailettes that look brand new after years and years of abuse).

I also carry a small container of waxed dental floss with a needle in it when I travel for emergency repairs. You don't need scissors to trim or cut the floss since it has it's own cutter and it goes right through airport security if you need to do repairs on a plane.

To pack bead fringe costumes I usually roll them in a towel or my skirts to protect the bead fringe.

On the cheaper metal coin belts you will find they have jump rings that are not completely closed. If you take the time to mix clear epoxy and put some on each jump ring opening you won't have to spend time with a pair of pliers whenever you use it.


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