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Make Your Own Bellydance Costume

Updated on July 21, 2017
Ilonagarden profile image

I took bellydance lessons and performed, then became interested in costume. The historical relationship of dance and culture is fascinating.

Big Girls Get To Play Dress-up

Most of the time adults only get to play dress up at the occasional Halloween party, but for women who make their own bellydance costumes for performances (or just fun), any day is a dress up day. Anyone can create a spangled, colorful bellydance costume, and how they decide to use it is entirely up to them. Use it for practicing dance moves in style or as part of a bellydance class performance recital? Or for personal entertainment ... who knows? I know it would the the hit of a costume party.

When I took part in making my own costumes, for the dance classes, I thought it was some of the most fun I'd had in putting together fantasy outfits. More than any costuming done since I had dressed up for Halloween as a kid.

Fringe, luxury fabrics, sequins, all sorts of creative fun with just basic sewing skills were all that had been required. In our dance school the mistress of the school designed the basic pattern, but the students all created their own outfits with the decorations, fabrics, and colors they chose. My favorite was the basic bra and belt with split skirt over harem pants and a bolero vest over the top. I love the tribal look costumes, too.

Are you ready to start on making your own fabric fantasy creation?

photo from Alaskan Dude

Ten Costume Essentials - Countdown to a perfect performance costume


  1. Belly dance hip scarf
  2. Skirt -made of velvet or chiffon
  3. Belly dance top -coin bra, choli top, bolero tied tops, beaded bra
  4. Pantaloons- harem style pants of some sort
  5. Beledi Dress -a full dress that doesn't bare the midriff
  6. Khalegi dress -long, very full and wide caftan
  7. Headbands or turbans
  8. Dance shoes - a barefoot-like sandal or dance heels
  9. Sarongs- like a hip scarf,but longer
  10. Hip belt with fringe or coins- can be made of heavy material or of metal

Bellydance Belts

Make your own hip belt with a simple pattern, fringe, and applied sequin appliques

The Costume DooDads - Important Glitz For Bra and Belt

At the time I made my costuming bra and belt the greatest challenge was in finding quality beaded fringe and sequin appliques to dress up the costume with the requisite glitz and glamor. With so many online source available there is no color or look that is out of reach.

Davina Devine's Bellydance Belt Tutorial

Here are some chosen examples from many ... if you don't see your color take a look at related choices on the pages of these offerings.

The Costume Bra

Normally, when making a costume bra, our company used a basic, well constructed bra, then removed the straps. New straps made from the cover material were constructed. A cover was made of the desired material, often velvet, which matched the hip belt. Fringe, and decorations were added, sewn on by hand.


Beaded Fringe For Bra and Belt

This is the one element that sets your creation apart from the rest- the movement of the fringes give accent to your dance. Usually attached to the bottom of the hip belt, fringe can also be used on the top. Every dancer is different in what she likes in costuming, but the addition of fringe is the one thing in common.

This is the glass beaded type. It is used in Cabaret costumes. There are many styles and colors available on Amazon.

Buy The Beading Already Made

You can buy ready made sequin trims and applique them onto the hip belt and bra. It is a very economical way to create a beautiful costume without all the work of sewing each bead and sequin on separately.
They come in all sorts of shapes, colors, and combinations.

Essential Fringe to Accent Moves

3" Variegated Beaded Fringe By Shine Trim
3" Variegated Beaded Fringe By Shine Trim

Beaded fringes may be hard to find locally. The 3 " length is excellent for a bra top. I would want a longer fringe for the hip belt, but this length can used in combination with a longer one for belts.


Costume Inspiration

Costume Belt Inspiration


DIY Tribal Costume

A Sewing Machine Will Whip a Costume Up In No Time - Don't have a machine?

A Sewing Machine is needed for the skirt, pants, and vests:

Bernina is a great brand. So is the reliable Singer brand.

Other costuming such as the Baladi dress is also made with a machine, while the hip belts and costume bras are usually sewn by hand (but not always).

From Turban to Toe Ring
From Turban to Toe Ring

A guide for designing and making tribal-fusion belly dance wear. From Turban to Toe Ring contains numerous hints, tips, and directions for making, designing, and assembling a tribal-fusion costume, including:

* A country-by-country breakdown of tribal jewelry styles from the Berber people of Morocco to the Ribari of India.

* Pattern making directions for several different choli and salwar designs.

* Directions for traditional surface embellishments, including applique and shi-sha.

* Mehndi (or henna), from mixing the paste to creating your design.

* Adapting Indian textiles, such as the toran and chakla, for tribal-fusion dance wear.

* Extensive bibliography and guide to historical research of Middle Eastern costume.


Practice makes perfect- put together a library of home bellydance classes to get the most from your costume efforts.

Dancing Skirts and Pants

A Basic Costume Pattern - Harem Pants, Skirt

Nothing is easier to make for a bellydance costume than the harem pants and veil, but the skirts can be a little more complex. Using a pattern makes your efforts pretty much failsafe. Simplicity includes some details that will make your costume stand out from the rest, and help achiceve professional results.

I don't sew very much, but it was important for my budget and bellydance look to pull out the old needle and thread and create my costumes. I was surprised at how much fun it was... and I think a pattern helps the results , a lot.

Simplicity the Dance Studio Andrea Schewe Pattern 2941 Misses Belly Dance Costumes, Sizes 14-16-18-20
Simplicity the Dance Studio Andrea Schewe Pattern 2941 Misses Belly Dance Costumes, Sizes 14-16-18-20

I made these- and there isn't anything easier! A simple pattern makes construction a snap.


A filmy veil, floating gracefully around a whirling dancer is a special ethereal vision

How To Sew - Each essential of the belly dance costume

I made my own circle skirt and I harem pants as well as other costume pieces and I don't sew well.With these easy guides you can do it yourself, and even better if you have a talented seamstress best friend who will help you.

Bellydance Patterns - to make your own Bra and Belt

This is where you will really save money

The Dance Bra and Belt are the most expensive items if you buy them ready-made. Hundreds of dollars is common to spend for one, let alone a set. If you don't mind spending a little time you can make your own professional looking one for a fraction of the cost.

Truly inexpensive "coin" hip scarf that you make yourself, following this tutorial.

Embellished Bras: Basic Techniques
Embellished Bras: Basic Techniques

Why buy a book to make your bellydance bra? Because along with the hip belt this is your most expensive item if you were to buy it from a professional costumer.

The sets go from about $200.00 and up, so you see how buying a book to learn how yourself is going to pay you dividends.

Who knows? You may like to sell your creations and start a business.


Make Your Own Tribal Costume - A little different from the other costumes

Belly Dance Costuming Includes Jewelry

Remember that you can use pieces of jewelry to embellish your costume. Try East Indian or Tribal jewelry for the coins, and dangles, use the chains on hip belts or draping from straps across your chest. Attach dangling earring to your headress- Get creative!

Make Your Own Costume Guides

Costume Accessories

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