How to Make a Belly Dance Belt - A Re-fashioning Resource

the first belt I made from a vest
the first belt I made from a vest | Source
closeup of the beading and sequin work I did.
closeup of the beading and sequin work I did.
Closeup of the fringing.
Closeup of the fringing.
what a vest looks like before I cut it up.
what a vest looks like before I cut it up.

Creative minds are a wonderful thing

I am a belly dancer even if I feel like I have two left feet sometimes. I have always swooned at the sound and sight of bejeweled and costumed exotic women shimmying and dancing to the drum beat of mid eastern music. I was hooked, so two summers ago i found myself going to belly dance classes every Saturday with one of my gal pals. Little did I know at the time that the "tools of the trade" so to speak, the hips scarves, skirts, belts, bras etc are usually sold ala carte either through stores or venders and of course on places like Ebay as well and would add up very quickly. Quality pieces or professional costumes cost a small fortune of which I can't afford. But being the clever artist with a creative mind and a "think outside the box" spirit I came up with a plan and a unique alternative to a least creating the belt portion of my costumes which I will be sharing in this Hub.

I happened to be at my local clothing consignment store one day and spied an embroidered vest like the last one pictured at the bottom of the photo gallery of this Hub. All my mind could think of was, Wow, what a beautiful belly dance belt that would make. I bought it for pennies on the dollar. ( I have a whole pile of beautiful vests waiting in the wings to become fancy belly dance belts :) )

*The CostumeGoddess kindly allowed me to add this pattern to my Hub page with reference to her web site. I didn't really use one when I made my first belt ( the purple one pictured) I simply knew that each vest front piece was long enough to become the whole front and back of my belt. That way the belt would end up with both a front and back equally as beautiful. I cut the vest at both shoulder seams leaving enough of the satin fabric portion to sew both narrow ends back together. Then I cut the side seams so that all you have left is a right and a left vest fronts. I then cut down each long side of the vest to give it the shape I wanted. (the back portion of the original vest was not used at all)

When you are happy with the "shape" of your new belt piece seam the shoulder seams back together making sure there is enough total length to go all the way around you with a bit of overlap. *If you are a full figured gal you may need to add fabric at the side seam.

The next step was to hold the belt up around my hips to do any tucks or pleats so that it would conform to "my" shape and lay flat against my skin with no gaping.

Then I sewed on new gold binding ( as the binding on this vest was shot). I hand sewed on the desired embellishments, which in this case was beading and the application of sequins. Finally a high quality row of 9inch glass bead curtain along the bottom. A final fitting to figure out where to put some strong hooks and eyes, paired it with a beautiful circle skirt and top and I am ready to dance!

copyright © 2011 lvh All Rights Reserved

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Comments 10 comments

Amanda 5 years ago

You are so internet savvy- I didn't know you had a blog! (Followed the link off your facebook). How generous to share your belly dance costuming experience with others! - AManda

P.S. as a plug for anyone trying this; I've seen the belt in person and it comes out beeeeaaauutifully

Marisa Wright profile image

Marisa Wright 5 years ago from Sydney

Wow what a great idea! The belt looks absolutely fabulous.

The slight catch for me is that I'm not sure I've ever seen an embroidered vest like that here in Australia - but I'll sure be keeping my eyes peeled for one now!!

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 5 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you Amanda and Marisa for the lovely comments and visiting my Hub pages. So happy to hear my belt idea has your stamp of approval :) Stop by anytime. lvh

mepperly profile image

mepperly 5 years ago from Vancouver,WA

great hub... I love ideas to upcycle items and I am an eBayer so this gives me great ideas when I find great stuff there. Thank you.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 5 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you Mepperly for commenting on my Hub,and following me. Yes, I guess the cat is out of the bag now as far as my resourses. Lol, maybe we will be bidding on the same vests in the future ;) lvh

instantlyfamily profile image

instantlyfamily 5 years ago

You are so creative. Nice hub!

Rob 5 years ago

Such a well-written article and stunning result as well I'm very impressed.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 5 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

Thank you for stopping by Rob and leaving a nice supportive comment on my Hub ;) lvh

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jenubouka 5 years ago

This a well written article! I loved the fact you design your own, not to mention actually belly dance. I hear it is a great work out especially for the abdominal area. Very, very cool. Voted up.

writinginalaska profile image

writinginalaska 5 years ago from southeast Alaska Author

thank you jenubouka, yes belly dancing is fun, a good workout and really doesn't feel much like exercise but it sure is! lvh

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