make YOUR ultimate belly dance outfit!
This page will help you find patterns, sewing tips and suggestions for making your own belly dance costume, including how to make tassels or how to sew on mirrors for your belly dancing belt. Not only is making your own dancewear a good way to save money, but it allows you to create the exact belly dance costume you picture in your mind.
There are also links to sites that sell ready-made belly dance costumes for those who want to embellish or only make part of their belly dance outfit.
Pattern Links - find just the pattern you need!
- Belly Dance Costuming
In this section are websites that contain directions and patterns on making Belly Dance costumes and websites that sell Belly Dance patterns. Have fun creating your own costumes.
- Dancing Patterns.
habithat.co.uk sells sewing patterns including national costumes, medieval costumes, Dancing Patterns.
- Choli Pattern
Choli Pattern, adaptable to many sizes
- ethnicpatterns.com - Belly Dancing Sewing Patterns
Ethnic and worldwide sewing patterns.
- Costumes: Harem Pants & Cabaret Skirt
Costume Tips from Sheikhani, Harem Pants & Cabaret Skirt
- Belly Dance Costume: Free Choli Pattern
Black Swan Tribe: Free Choli Pattern for panne velvet choli or stretch velour choli
- MidEast Ethnic Patterns
Online patterns and instructions for a Ghawazee coat, Shalwar, Blouse and Hip Belt.
- frankencholi tutorial
make a choli out of a fitted tee shirt - great for bellydance, yoga, or a summer day
Making and Decorating Your Tassel Belt
- Free "How To Make Tassels" Instructions from Fiber Images
Very simple and clear technique for tassel-making with illustrations.
- (auralynne) how to make a tribal tassel - tribe.net
directions and illustrations for making your own tribal tassels
- How To Make A Hip Scarf
This link is a PDF on how to make a hip scarf, so if you click on it, your browser will begin to download a file.
- How to Make A Cabaret Belt
Caberet Belts are best used in a nightclub setting and for most private parties.
- Corset Belts: The Pattern
Tempest's Corset Belt is a unique costuming element and corseting system for the hips that allows for a close, comfortable, and firm fit that truly conforms to your body and stays put!
- Tassel belts, a variety of colors and forms.
Tassel belts are an integral part of an American Tribal Style Belly dancer's costume wardrobe. They can be almost any shape, the only limitation is your imagination.
- How to make a Tassel
How to make yarn tassels, with great instructions for making the pattern/guide so you can make a whole bunch that match.
- Try Your Hand at Tassels
Instructions for making tassels using rayonette fringe.
Let Your Hips Ring with a Coin Scarf - the classic belly dance costume accessory
I've learned there are two types of dancers in the belly dance world: the ones who buy bags of accent coins and sew them onto hip scarves, and those who buy coin scarves from the people patient enough to sew them. For those of you who aren't into the sewing part, eBay can provide the finished scarf. For those of you into sewing, keep an eye out for bags of the loose coins, ready for you to sew onto whatever you wish!
Beautiful Accessories Don't Have to Break the Bank
Homemade Panel Skirt
My homemade panel skirt is a great example of how a fun and funky belly dance accessory can be created from thrift store finds and with a minimum of sewing skills! What you see here is the inside and outside waistband of my panel skirt.
The panels are from a table runner/fringed piece of cloth I found at the Goodwill for less than $1.
The waistband/hip ties are scrap fabric that was leftover from a pillow project my mom had sewn.
The silver dangles were earring/accents I found at a neighborhood jewelry store when they were having a clearance sale. Each packet of eight dangles cost me about $2.50.
The silk "yo-yos" were found at a street fair and were 12 for $10. I picked interesting blues, taupes and grays and improvised from there.
Altogether, that puts my materials costs somewhere in the $16-17 range. The waistband required that I know how to sew in a straight line and the dangles were sewn on by hand afterwards. Total construction time was maybe an hour, and I did the hand sewing while watching a couple of DVD movies at home.
How easy is that?! Keep an eye out for bits and pieces that you can assemble and it's very easy to make parts of your own dance costume very cheaply.
Construction and Sewing Tips These links are for construction and sewing, focusing on tops (choli), pants and skirts.
- Learn to Dance - Learn to Sew
Not long after I started belly dancing I discovered three fundamental principles of costuming: (i) costumes are expensive, (ii) no matter how high the quality, constant repairs to the beading and sequins is required, and (iii) some things (e.g. great
- Sewing for belly dance | sewing and tailoring
making belly dance costumes for the beginner.
- Belly Dancing: Costume Corner
Tons of how-to articles on Belly Dance costuming
- frankencholi tutorial
make a choli out of a fitted tee shirt - great for bellydance, yoga, or a summer day
- TUTORIAL: Shirt into Peasant Shirt - a set on Flickr
This top has adjustable sleeves and an adjustable top so that it can be worn for dance or any piratey/ren faire costume event. This top is created from a secondhand shirt. Depending upon the type of/size/fabric shirt you use your results may be diff
- HSC Online - Indian textiles
Shisha is the traditional name for mirror embroidery, as found in India and the Middle East. It was thought to help trap and/or ward off the "evil eye." Here are some great instructions for how to do Shisha.
- Sugar Petals Dance Accessories Home Page
A great source for belly dance costume items. Sugar Petals carries costume parts for the do-it-yourself dancer as well as finished items.
- Belly Dance Costume & Dancing Supply with Moondance
MOONDANCE BELLY DANCE & BELLY DANCING COSTUME SUPPLIES: The inexpensive way to shop for belly dance & dancing supplies, including: jewelry, hip scarves, coins, bells, bras, belts, music, books, veils, skirts, harem pants, music and more. Free
- The Belly Dance Shop - Costumes, Hip Scarves, Veils...
belly dance costume, hip scarves, belly dancing, harem pants, costume jewelry, zills, veils.
- Belly Dance Hip Scarves - Costumes - Dancing Isis Wings by Isis Exchange
belly dance hip scarf, Egyptian costume, belly dancing Scarves, Skirts, Choli Tops, harem pants, costume jewelry, zills, veils and coins all handmade direct from the manufacturer Isis Exchange.
- Flying Skirts Tribal Belly Dance Costumes
The Flying Skirts line is known for high quality construction, gorgeous colors, natural fibers, authentic tribal embellishments
- Desert Dancer Imports
From pantaloons to flying tier skirts, cholis, fringe belts, dreads, and even turban pins; we have it all here for you. If you want to do some creating on your own, we have some tools to help you do that also. Please let me know if I can help you in
Costume Sites - For those who would rather buy a belly dance costume
Here are links to ready-to-wear belly dance clothing and costumes. A very vibrant community of "one woman" sewing operations are thriving online and selling at regional events.
Costuming Tips and Comments
Belly Dance on September 03, 2014:
I make my belly covers using crushed velvet and a teeshirt you take the reality cut off the arms rip the side seams make a “U” shape where you’re bra will be then pin to fabric outline with chalk unpin put the two pieces of fabric rightside in and sew with a zigzag stich .
Gloria Freeman from Alabama USA on March 08, 2014:
What a fun costume, I have not sew anything in a long time.
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on December 30, 2013:
@salsa-dancing: Costuming takes as much effort as you want to out into it.
Salsa Dancing on December 30, 2013:
Seems like it takes a lot effort! But the results are very nice.
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on March 01, 2013:
@WeeCatCreations1: Just like belly dancing, sewing takes time and practice to master.
Susan Caplan McCarthy from Massachusetts, USA on March 01, 2013:
I tried to learn to sew specifically so I could make costuming. Alas, my sewing skills are too poor to create what I envision in my mind.
Pam Irie from Land of Aloha on May 20, 2012:
I think the belts are so cool, especially. :)
Miha Gasper from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU on April 07, 2012:
Belly dance costumes are great start into great party. Fun lens!
brynimagire on March 19, 2012:
Interesting information ! Wonderful lens !
anonymous on March 10, 2012:
Great lens, I'm also a belly dancer and I've made some belts and bra's for my self but this is really useful...I'll try to make some more with new ideas. Thank you!
Rae Schwarz (author) from Seattle, WA on February 04, 2012:
@anonymous: I'm looking... but so far I'm just finding nothing but links to that one missing page...
anonymous on February 04, 2012:
The frankencholi link is down. Does anyone have a link to it somewhere else?
dreadnaughtdarling on November 21, 2011:
Kaylah Lena from Australia on November 18, 2011:
thank you for all the useful information and beautiful costume pictures :-)
JoyfulReviewer on October 18, 2011:
Great ideas and DIY information. Thanks for the fun costume lens.
GypsyLyric LM on September 20, 2011:
Okay, I know now how to make my outfit -- I only need to learn how to belly dance. :)
miaponzo on September 16, 2011:
Wow.. thanks for all these dance costume links and all this info! Great stuff :)
LouiseKirkpatrick from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom on August 12, 2011:
I don't dance myself - but I know someone who does! A superb resource - blessed by this Squid Angel as part of the "Back To School Bus Trip"!
manfield3 on July 26, 2011:
These look awesome..
anonymous on June 12, 2011:
@GioiaMulas LM: You can do it, you can even begin learning in the privacy of your own home! Check with your Public Library, see if they've got a Belly Dance DVD you can check out. I live in a very small town & even in "cowboy country", we've got some good ones. Also, a Bellydancer (5 yrs) & a Polynesian dancer (28 yrs); I can "secret" to moving your hips is in your knees, bend the knees! GOODLUCK! :)
Amy Fricano from WNY on April 16, 2011:
Delightful. Instructive. Thanks.
AdeleW on April 11, 2011:
Great, fun lens. I used to belly dance, it was a brilliant way to get fit
WorldVisionary on January 28, 2011:
This is such a fun lens! Belly dancing is really interesting to me! Blessed by a Squid Angel
dahlia369 on January 17, 2011:
Not something I would attempt but I definitely enjoy the final results. Nice lens!! :)
GioiaMulas LM on December 08, 2010:
I spell in front of the TV when I see dance belly dancing ... And 'magic and I would like to be able to learn, but I feel awkward and stiff as a stick: (
anonymous on November 08, 2010:
I've always wondered about learning to belly dance because I love the outfits and all dancing is good for us. You have great design ideas!
Rose4u on July 02, 2010:
Wonderful lens, i also enjoy belly dancing and dedicated one of me lenses to this dancing art. :)
inkedskin on March 31, 2009:
i think it would look more authentic if belly dancers sport some tribal tattoos. those costumes really looked awesome though.
beachbum_gabby on December 02, 2008:
Lovely outfit. very interesting to try.
Belindance on October 15, 2008:
Great len's about bellydancing costume design. Lot's of resources, I have a len's about bellydancing 101 so I favorited yours!