Belly dance costumes

on Mon, 19 Sep, 2016

During the year I work as a school teacher, which means that my pile of sewing grows from a mole hill to the size of a mountain. A lot of what I sew becomes belly dance costumes or clothes that doubles for both my normal life and my belly dance life. Below are ten projects I worked on this summer.


1. Polka Dot Bloomers

Do I really need another pair of bloomers? The answer is “Yes!” In order to save myself some time, I combined a pair of pajama pants and curtains from Value Villages’ Memorial Day sale. Their clothes and household items are half off on holidays. I have gotten a lot of use out of these pants this summer—for belly dance and elegantly bumming around the house.

belly dance choli

2. Belly Dance Choli

This was a tank top that I cut the bottom off a couple years ago. This one had been sitting on the pile of to-dos for two years because the lace that I sewed on it didn’t fit the way I thought it would and it flared out. To fix this, I tucked it under in strategic places and had to keep trying it on and tucking in more and more places until it fit the way I wanted. The other problem with this choli that delayed my finishing it was that I had accidentally cut it too short and it didn’t stay in place when I lifted my arms while dancing. I couldn’t tuck it under and put elastic in it because it already was too short, so I looked in my scrap box. I still had the elastic waist band from a pair of pajama pants and used that to make an empire waist under the bust. Ironically it wasn’t the same polka dot pajamas from the last photo. I have a lot of polka dots and stripes.


3. Second Choli

I liked the Asian print on a thrifts store shirt, but it was too tight in the stomach so I cut off the waist. I used the waist part of the fabric for something at some point. I still had the top half and found it recently. I folded over the edge and put elastic at the bottom so the waist would stay in place.

4. Dark Blue Bra

I started this project over ten years ago. My incentive to finish it was the blue skirt I was given for Christmas as a gift. I knew that if I finished this bra I could wear it and it would match the skirt perfectly. The ornaments on the bra were cut from a pretty shirt I once wore but didn’t like the fit of. I finished it just in time for the June No Shame Anniversary show.

5. Orion Slave Dancer Costume

Every summer (and sometimes winter) I have danced as the Orion Slave Dancer for Trek Theatre’s Eugene productions. This character I perform as was the green dancing woman you always see in the original Star Trek credits. Ever since I made this costume, the bra fit more snuggly than I intended. In fact, it fit like a corset, which is not practical if you want to do this thing called BREATHING. The mistakes I made in the creation of this was a huge learning curve. My main lesson was that bras are elastic so they stretch. The material you cover one with has to be equally stretchy material OR you can choose not to cover the back that hooks together OR you have to stretch the back of the bra as you sew it to a longer and larger piece of non-stretchy material. This is the third year I have worn this bra and it didn’t fit any more this year, even as a corset. My remedy was to go through my scrap bag and attach more fabric. I moved the hook and eyes, added the fabric, reattached the hook and eyes and voila—I fixed it. I am so glad I don’t throw away fabric scraps at times like this because I still had enough little pieces of the same fabric! See, being a packrat pays!

6.Steampunk Skirt

I have had this beautiful cream and red lace skirt in my upcycled sewing projects for several years. I inherited it from another belly dancer who was very petite. I wore this skirt once about five years ago. I should have worn it more while it fit. I have been looking at skirt ideas on Pinterest. This is a combination of a petticoat idea used to fill in the gap and a medieval skirt that laced up the side.

For examples of merchandise I currently sell, whether it is bloomers, hair fascinators or steampunk jewelry, visit my other website:

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