Sewing for belly dance

sewing and tailoring

More circle skirt ideas

Dang,,getting older,,,this is my costume from Dancing on the Edge,,the bra was purchased for 20 dollars at Sirens,,,,straps replaced with lengths of chiffon.

The skirt,,,,,,,,,LOTS of chiffon,,,,,,fuscia and peach,,,,,,,rag flounces added..............dang,,this thing MOVED.  Had a life of it's own.

Instructions to follow,,,,,circle skirt pattern used.

Here is a circle skirt and veil


The bra and belt patterns will be added to this site at a later date, but for now, a basic circle skirt and straight skirt.


circle skirt pattern

Measure from hip to floor.  You will need 4 times this amount in fabric.  Cut  or tear off  2 1/2 in strip off the cut edge.  Cut or tear the remaining fabric in 1/2.  ( if you have 4 yards, you will end up with 2, two yard pieces).  Fold in 1/2 and lay on top of each other with the folds lined up on top of each other.  Measure around the largest part of your lower body ( yeah, I know, I hate that too!).  Divide by 4.  Mark inner circle at about 5 inches  from corner at fold using a string and marking instrument like a compass.  Measure the curve.  If the measurement is less than the divide by 4 measurement, mark inner circle at 6 inches ( you get the idea, the deeper this curve the bigger the opening at top of skirt)  Next, using string and marking chaulk, or pencil, mark large curve at in diagram using the hip to floor measurement you took earlier.  Your fabric should look like the diagram.

  Cut along the lines, you should end up with two half circles with a small half circle cut out of the top. 

 Hem the straight parts of the skirt pieces.  Fold the 2 1/2 inch piece you removed earlier in half lengthwise.  You should end up with a long strip doubled.  This is sewed on to the waist part of the circle skirt, raw edges together.  When one half is sewed on, start the other circle without a space.  This is the casing for your elastic.  The extra step is worth it.  Folding down and sewing an inner curve like that is very difficult, this is much easier.

Use a safety pin to thread through elastic.  Wrap skirt around your hips where you want to wear it.  Fit elastic so it is tight enough to stay up, pin all together and slip down to make sure you can get it off.  Sew through all thickness at pinning towards the inside.  Fold the edge over to one side and sew down flat (topstitch).


Roll hem or hankerchief hem the bottom edge of skirt and you are done.  Or.............try mermaiding the skirt for a differnt look.  Especially if you want to mix two colors.  Here is where you make your cuts. Try to make them as even as possible.  Fold  once , then cut the center cut on the fold.  Fold again to cut the two side cuts by cutting the new folds made when you the circle is reduces to quarters.  This will keep them even.

This diagram shows the finished cuts.

Or try adding another half circle or two.  Remember, the more panels  you use the less measurement you need at the waist.


Love a long veil ,,but find yourself tripping in it?

I love loooong veils,,at least three (3) meters.  But if left rectangle, I find them hard to dance with.  I keep stepping on the ends.  I also don't like the "flow" through the air.

My solution is to trim the lower half corners with half circles.  It takes the "ends" out of your way and makes the veil catch the air much better.  I use a rolled hem on my serger for trim,,and they  look GREAT if you decorate them with dots of paint.  See,,,crochet, etc.  However,,a hankerchief hem is okay too,,but it is time consuming and takes practice.  Don't forget to use a coffee filter under the stitch area to support the sheer fabric and keep it from going down in your machine.  I also sew loops or beads at the top part corners,,,,,,,so I know which side is UP.  The sharp corners.  FINISHING THE EDGE IS VERY IMPORTANT.  It's how you grip your will slip through your fingers without it.  Even if you "paint" the edge,,,

You will need,,,,,,,,,,chiffon,,lightweight,,up to three meters (if you find it too long,,,you can always cut it down).  Or use this method.  Extend one arm out straight from your shoulder in the fabric store, get another person to drape the chiffon over the arm,,the end touches the floor,,,the uncut part (left on the bolt) where THAT touches the floor is where you should cut.

Lower end,,,,,,,,,,use a dinner plate as a pattern,,,,,,,,,,,,

Fold chiffon in half.

Mark using dinner plate, as shown,,,,,,,,,,,cut both at the same time...........



NOW try dancing with your very long veil.

No tripping,,,better float.

Tribal skirt with ruffle

Here is a tribal skirt with ruffle,,,I used 10 meters of lightweight cotton.

I used 4 half circles,,,gathered them evenly around the band.  I made the ruffle of 5 inch fabric and attached to the bottom of the skirt.

Straight skirt with front dip, the skirt that "smiles"

This is a basic straight skirt with a front dip to show your belly button.   I like to wear this skirt with a plain coin belt, hip scarf , or even decorate the top part as if if were a belt.  ( pictures of examples will follow.)

I find the straight around the hip style shows too much of the junk in my trunk if you know what I mean.  This is much more flattering to the fuller figure. 

The trick is also the fit,  it should grip the hip only slightly at the waistband and loose everywhere else.  Don't be afraid to fit this one again and again until it is flattering. 

Don't lock your stitches until you are sure about the fit either.  It's much easier to just pull out the threads if you have to start over.

You will need:

Enough medium to heavy weight stretch fabric to go from your waist to the floor.  You will need two pieces with the fabric stretching side to side.

1 inch wide elastic,( or wider) heavy enough to match the weight of the skirt fabric.  Enough to go around your hips plus a couple of inches for good measure.


Start by getting a friend to pin the two pieces so they resemble a skirt, use your seat as the guide of how high the waistband should be.  You are only using 1/4 inch seam allowance, so just put the fabric at the back where you find comfortable..  Sew from the knee down if you want so, you can keep front and back in order.  This also helps to keep the grains of the fabric straight for when you finish. 

Mark where pinned.  Cut if you want but 1 inch more than the marking. 

Work on the back of the skirt first.  Attach the elasic to the right side of the waist.  The elastic should sit on top of the edge of the skirt on the side that will show..  Stretch slightly when you sew.  Stretch more if you have a larger seat.

Use pins, starting at the middle, go to the ends, then pin between these keeping the ease ( this is the part that is stretched out to fit) even across your work.

The elasic when finished should only pucker the fabric SLIGHTLY.


Fold the elastic towards the the inside of the skirt fabric.  Leaving a little roll of fabric above the elastic, stitch while stretching the same amount you attached it with. Try to stay on the edge of the elastic. Use pins if needed, inserted on the diagonal.  The raw edge of the fabric should be in between the fabric and the elastic.  The elasic stays flat.

Now for the front.  Cut the dip as pictured.  Mark the most flattering place for the front of the skirt to end.  I like 2 inches down for myself.  It cuts just under my belly button, you may need more or less.  Fold in 1/2 with the center on the fold.  Mark a curve starting at the center mark, ending about 1 1/2 inches from the side edge.    I call this making a "smile" on the front of your skirt,,,very flattering.

Attach elastic as in the back piece, use pins to pin elastic before you sew.  This will keep your stretch even.

It should look like this when finished.  See the SMILE??????

Pin front to back right sides together.  Use safety pins at the markings going down the sides.  Match elastic, pin for ease and stretch.  Make sure you can get the skirt on and off.  Sew through all thicknesses at the sides.

Notice the elastic is on the inside of the skirt and only attached at the top.  Don't attach the elastic at the bottom, the skirt is made to hang off the elastic while the elasic hugs your body.  This is what keeps this skirt from showing your rolls.( and I don't mean belly rolls)

There are many ways to finish this skirt.  Hem straight.  Mermaid inserts ( see mermaiding).  Open the sides for splits and topstitch seam allowances down.  Or make it a short skirt and do a full mermaiding ( see mermaiding) 

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