Oldies, part 6: renewing a saidi dress

In 2008 I renewed my first saidi costume. I had not worn it since my first performance in 1997. None of my dancers had any costumes that would go with this one, and I had no use for a solo galabeya of this kind. Yet, I loved the fabric.

old saidi dress

This is where I took off. The galabeya had a very small neckline, but otherwise it was quite nice.

old saidi dress pinned up

I decided on cutting it open in the front. Headpins are a girl’s second best friend (safety pins are the best, by the way).

old saidi dress about to be cut

This is the part which takes some courage. After taking the scissors the costume will never be the same again.

old saidi dress cut open

Had absolutely no idea, how low to cut the dress. So I did some cutting, and…

trying on old saidi dress when cut

… tried it on. Looks just about right – less cutting wouldn’t show enough of the bra underneath, but more would go too low.

Next I sewed some fabric underneath to make the turns nice and firm. Would have been easier the other way round – first sew on fabric and then cut it open – but would have needed to know in advance how low the cutting would be going. A bit trickier this way, but worked out fine after all.

The final touch was to cut the sleeves open from the top to make them more open and up-to-date.


Part two was making the bra underneath.

old saidi dress

Bought a bra I thoght would look nice when covered with fabric.

old saidi dress

Sewed fabric by hand on the bra and round the straps. Should have done some inlining, too, but didn’t have enough time at that point…

old saidi dress

Sorry about the terrible photo.


performing in the renewed saidi dress

Photo copyright Sami Perälä 2008.
This turned out to be quite a nice saidi costume for solo performances, too.

Oldies, part 1: ancient dance costumes

Time to present my dance costumes. We’ll take off with the oldest ones, that is, pre-teaching.

This will be a sort list (both photos were taken in 2002).

First my pink balady dress from 1997, decorated with string of silver sequins.

pink balady dress

Dark red glittering galabeya with saidi sleeves, underneat wide silvery harem-type pants from 1997.

red saidi galabeya and silver harem pants

The latter has been renewed into a more fashionable dress. The process is presented in its own blog post.

Fabric, yarn, beads and sequins

I have been into handicraft of all sorts since my childhood. As a kid knitting and crochet became familiar, as well as embroidery and cross-stitching. Later on I took up sewing, and at some point I sewed a huge portion of my clothes.

In university, oriental dance entered my life, and along with it came the sequins. Oriental dance costumes are decorated with sequins, and I found sewing them by hand both fairly fast and rewarding. (Yes, I know that most of the people wouldn’t describe sewing sequins as ‘fast’, but it is fast compared to embroidery, for instance.)

A few years back, somewhere around the end of year 2004, I finally realized that one can make jewellery herself. Within a couple of years I was totally hooked with beads, chrystals, semi-precious stones and silver.


So what to expect from this blog?

The plan is to introduce handicraft both from my personal and business fields. There will be

  • sewing – most of them for myself and kids, but occasionally there will be some garments and accessories for sale, too
  • knitting – there are always a few UFOs
  • dance costumes – either folk-style or fancier costumes decoreated with beads and sequins
  • jewellery – some made for me, most made for sale
  • and other FOs and UFOs which somehow relate to handicraft

The plan is to present both newly made items as well as favourites (and disasters?) from previous years. Hopefully over the years this will become an archive of handicraft items I’ve made.