How to make a tribal belly dance bra

Make Your Own Belly Dance Bras - Must Read Blogs & Vlogs!

Today I ran across a fabulous bra-making tutorial on the Assiut Group on Facebook.  I really enjoyed her tutorial, and I thought it would be great to make a list of a few other of my favorite bra tutorials from around the web.  If you are looking to create a masterpiece from Assiut, or if you are more sparkle and glam, there are many different styles to choose from in this collection.

When I saw this blog post shared on the Facebook assiut group, I immediately went over to take a look!  Not only is this tribal bra full of crusty coin and chain goodness, it has some beautiful assiut base cloth.  Her mission was to take a larger cup size down to a smaller size is a fairly common alteration in my studio, and it’s nice to see how another designer tackles the project.

Jo has a great eye, not only for the design of this costume piece but also for the step-by-step photos that she shares in this post.  I particularly love that Jo has chosen to share how she’s pieced the design together from fountain motifs.   She really maximized the number of silver embroidery stitches would show beneath the rows of coins.  Be sure to watch her video on a portable device to get the full effect!

Jo, many thanks for the shout-out for my book too!  That made my day!

Are you making a tribal fusion style of bra using recycled, upcycled, and repurposed materials?  Then this is a vlog for you!  This lovely costume piece is by Joanna Dyndor.  Her video follows her process of using a heavily embroidered ribbon scrap, a handful of beads, ruched fabric, and repurposed chain.  The result is a lovely performance bra in shades of brown, tan, and cream.

This blog post steps through the process of taking making a halter style top with tie back. This assiut bra elegantly uses a basic silver-dotted fabric accentuated with coins and gilets.

One of the common problems for dancers looking for new costumes is the lack of options at larger bra sizes.  If you are a dancer who can’t find bras for bigger curvier women, this is a great example of how a lingerie bra can be transformed for more zaftig physiques.

This illustrated costuming tutorial walks the reader through how to cover a basic belly dance bra using Shushanna’s technique.  Virtually every lingerie style bra needs to be covered before it’s embellished and this method really works.  If you learn best from step-by-step illustrations this blog is not to be missed!

Mao has created a great free resource for dancers interested in creating their own glam-style belly dance costume bras.  There are many more free and paid tutorials, demos and classes available on her site.  So if you are more sequins and stones, rather than coins and chain, than this website is a great resource.

Studio Davina – Bra Tutorials

Of course, over time I’ve put up a few bra demos/tutorials as well.  Here are a few featured here in past blog posts:

Student Grade Belly Dance Bra – Need a cheap and cheerful costume for a student performance?  Need the costume fast and affordable?  This is the style of bra I teach in classes for students who need a “one-shot” bra suitable for performance with a minimum investment.   The key?  Start with a lingerie bra the color you want and simply embellish the cups!  Read more details.

Designing a Lavender Bedlah Ensemble – Although this four-part tutorial is for a bra and belt set, the bulk of the images and directions are about the bra. There are a lot

I constructed this bedlah set using more hard-style professional techniques for the bra and belt.  This is a very different approach from the student grade costume in the post above.  It’s nice to have some different approaches to reach for that accommodate different budgets and timelines. Read more details.

Three Day Assiut Challenge – When I was working on the build for the book “The Cloth of Egypt” I made this costume for a last minute show.  I wanted to promote my upcoming book, and yet, I didn’t have an assiut costume that fit!  So I took my sewing kit with me on the trip and made the costume in the days leading up to the show.  While this wasn’t my first assiut bra, it was the first made for the book!  Read more details.

Embellished Bras – The book

Of course, If you want to read the book that accompanies my basic bra building class, it’s available on both Amazon and on Etsy (if you want a signed copy)

If you already own a copy of my Embellished Bras book, thank you very much for supporting my business!  But I really believe in the motto, “There’s more than ONE way to do it the RIGHT way!”  It’s always nice to explore the internet looking for new tips, tools, and techniques.  I’m always open to learning new methods, especially if they save time and/or money!

If you find any wonderful resources, be sure to let me know.  The best way to share costuming information is either by joining me in the Studio Davina Facebook group, or you can drop me a line via email – [email protected]

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 16, 2018



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How to Make a Belly Dance Bra Pt 1: Materials

by Mao on  in DIY Belly Dance Costume Blog, Uncategorized • 0 Comments

Want to make a belly dance bra that fits you perfectly on a budget?

In this series of articles and videos, you can see how to make a belly dance bra that looks beautiful, fits you well and lasts a long time.

The Ultimate Guide will show you the following topics:

Part 1: Materials you need (this article)

Part 2: What to measure, how to cut a bra base, how to make side & shoulder straps

Part 3: How to cover your bra base with fabric

Part 4: How to decorate your belly dance bra

*This Ultimate Guide is pretty long, so if you want to download the PDF version of the entire 4-part series, you can! Download it for free from here.

So let’s get started!

How to pick the correct type of bra

First, you need a bra that serves as a base for your costume bra. You can use your own old bra or new, but the important thing is that the bra is firm. This is going to be a costume bra, so you want to make sure the bra is firm enough to hold its shape and most importantly, you feel safe and comfortable while you move around and dazzle your audience.

An appropriate bra base should have cups made from foam and keeps the shape without being help up.

If you are still not sure, try the smartphone test. If you can put your smartphone on the cups, and the cups don’t sink in, the bra passes the test!

What type of fabric to use for strap bases

Your bras are most likely made from stretch straps, but belly dance costume bras should have no stretchy parts. Some costume bras may have stretch straps, but it is this type of straps that scream underwear.

So we will make straps to replace these bra straps. To make straps, you will need interfacing. Interfacing is a type of material that is often used to give structure to clothing or hat or costumes. Your local fabric stores would probably have a section dedicated to interfacing. It comes in different thickness and fusible or non-fusible. I tend to use medium weight for bra straps and strengthen it with other materials for added texture and security.

Fusible one saves you time of sewing, as you can just use the heat of an iron for it to stick to other fabric. For bra making, I use fusible one, because it will be all covered, so I don’t worry about it coming off. But you can use sew-on interfacing by all means. When I didn’t know about the existence of fusible interfacing, I used sew-on all the time.

The other materials include felt. I don’t recommend using just felt, since fragile felt can stretch and rip. This should be used to add thickness when you use interfacing as a base.

Also, you can use canvas, denim, or even non-stretchy old cotton shirt. You can use anything that is non-stretchy and sturdy, and gives some thickness. If these fabrics have printed patterns on them, be careful because the patterns can show through even after they are covered with another layer of fabric.

For shoulder straps, I recommend grosgrain ribbons. Grosgrain ribbons are relatively thick and strong, and have horizontal stripes. It doesn’t matter if you use grosgrain ribbon or interfacing, because these will be covered with fabric later, but some interfacing can rip when it is cut thin, so be careful!

What type of fabric to use for bra covering

Based on my own experience, the easiest material to work with is stretch velvet! Velvet gives nice, rich colour and texture, and the fuzzy finish hides small imperfections. The stretch helps too, when it is time to cover the bra with the fabric. So I recommend stretch velvet as your first choice, if you are trying this for the first time.

Once you have tried velvet, you may want to venture out to other types of fabric. You can try satin – stretch or non-stretch – or metallic lycra is nice and shines nicely on the stage. The key thing here is to pick opaque material. If you want to use see-through material like chiffon, then you will need to somehow cover the bra base first with a different material or the bra and strap bases will show.

Tools and other materials you need

So other materials you will need to make a belly dance bra is pants hooks and eyes and snap buttons. I like to use a combination of pants hook and eyes and a set of snap buttons for belly dance bra, because just having one or the other is simply not secure enough. You can use small hooks and eyes like your ordinary bras, but professional costumes use pants hooks and eyes and not only are they sturdy, but they hide well too.

And of course, you need your sewing kit. That includes needles, matching colour threads, lots of pins, scissors, measuring tape, marking pens. If you are extra cautious with your bra hooks and buttons, use button & carpet thread for sewing these.

Alright, so now you are ready to get to work. If you find this article useful, please share it with your classmates, and check out the part 2 of this series for how to measure, cut the bra and make straps!

Oh, and before you go, did you know you can get all of the How to Make a Belly Dance Bra series in one PDF document?

Click here to get the PDF version of the entire Bra Making Ultimate Guide for free!

We create a belly dance costume with our own hands

Almost every modern woman is looking for a hobby to her liking. Someone embroiders with pleasure, someone bakes pies, and someone goes to dances. In this article, I would like to tell women who are mastering oriental culture how to sew a belly dance costume with their own hands.


First of all, you should decide on the details of the costume. It will definitely be a long skirt and bodice. However, if it is not possible to make all the details beautiful, you can safely get by with just one belt. You can prepare a veil from accessories, you will also need a huge number of different jewelry for hands, ears, legs - earrings, rings, chains, bracelets, etc.


If a woman is going to make a belly dance costume with her own hands, the work can start with preparing the bodice. For this, an ordinary opaque bra (preferably foam rubber) may be suitable. If it is already the right color, it will only need to be decorated. However, it is better to pre-sheathe it with the desired fabric so that it does not look ordinary. It will be impossible to create a single piece of skin, so it will consist of several parts. The first is a detail for cups. It is cut out in a rectangular shape and bent over the finished product. To do this, you will need to make several folds of fabric according to the principle of creating a tuck. You will also need fabric for the straps. To do this, cut out long rectangles that simply wrap these parts on all sides. The pieces are already sewn on the bra, you can even sew them on with a decorative stitch. "Ponytails" are hidden under the details for the cups of the bodice, which are sewn on last. We go further, creating individual details for a belly dance costume with our own hands. When the bra is completely wrapped in new fabric, you need to start decorating the product. Everything that the lady likes will come in handy here. It can be just beautiful embroidery with threads or beads, or it can be glued sequins in the form of fish scales, etc. Here the woman herself decides what she wants to get as a result. However, you need to remember that everything should be fairly securely attached, because in this costume you will have to dance, that is, actively move.


Tailoring of the belly dance costume includes making a long skirt. To do this, you need to take a fairly thin transparent fabric that drapes well, such as chiffon or crepe chiffon. Now you need to decide what kind of skirt you want to make. Two options can be considered. The first is an ordinary straight skirt with slits on the sides, the second is a sun skirt.

In any case, you need to prepare the belly dance costume patterns beforehand. So, for a straight skirt, you will need to take two pieces of fabric that will be sewn along the sides to about the end of the thigh. Unsewn sections and the bottom are simply hemmed. From above, you can provide the usual wide belt, which must be made of elastic fabric, because it will most likely be on the hips, and not on the waist. To do this, you need a piece of fabric twice as wide as the belt itself. The fabric for the belt is bent in width with the wrong side inward. Next, the belt is sewn to the skirt. To do this, first the inner part of the belt (which is adjacent to the body) is sewn with a skirt, then the fabric allowances are tucked in, covered with the front of the belt, and everything is overcast. If everything went out neatly, a decorative stitch is started along the front of the belt. Oriental belly dance costumes also suggest the possibility of creating a sun skirt. You can sew it in the same way as the previous one, but the fabric will take a little more, about 2.5 times. After all, the sun skirt is a circle with a cutout for the waist in the center. The top of the skirt, along the waistline, can be gathered. The bottom is hemmed with a narrow scar, a wide belt is sewn to the top. That's all, the skirt is ready.


When preparing a belly dance costume with your own hands, it is important not to forget about such a moment as the design of the belt. It is this detail that gives the costume a special appeal. How to make it? To do this, it is better to pre-prepare a full-size pattern. The top must be straight, and the bottom of the belt can be triangular, figured, rounded - whatever you like. The length of the product is calculated: this is the waist circumference plus approximately 4 cm for the fastener. You can make tucks so that the product sits perfectly on the figure.

The fabric is also selected: for the base of the belt - dense, cotton can be used, and for the top - something light and beautiful, for example supplex, satin, crepe-satin. You will also need a dense interlining for gluing the product, it will be attached from the inside to the front of the product. When the parts are ready, they need to be folded with the right sides inward, sewn, turned inside out, through the hole left, baste and insert the fastener (the belt can simply be tied). Now it remains to decorate it in the same way as the bodice.


What other details can oriental belly dance costumes suggest? Of course, these are special decorations. Earrings, bracelets for hands and ankles are definitely needed - the more the better, because when a woman dances, they ring pleasantly. By the way, they can also be made independently from beads or beads. It is necessary to decorate the neck with chains or coarse beads, and fingers with rings. However, it is important not to overdo it with decorations so that the figure is not too bulky. Of course, we must not forget about bright makeup, where the eyes should stand out especially.

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If your daughter decided to go in for oriental dancing, it means that you need to buy or sew a bright, memorable costume. Many sew it themselves. An oriental costume for a girl and a girl will look good enough both on stage and in competitive competitions. The type of costume, of course, will depend on the budget, desire and complexity of execution. The article will discuss how you can independently and relatively inexpensively create such an outfit.

Costume base

Typical stage oriental belly dance costumes are based on a base, which includes a bodice and belt. How convenient is the creation of such a foundation? The bodice and belt can be worn with a variety of trousers and skirts. If the base of the costume is made in gold or silver colors, harem pants and a skirt can be of any color. If the base is made, for example, in emerald or purple, the skirt for this outfit must be matched to match.

A less expensive costume for beginner dancers is one that is decorated with sequins and beads, as well as glass beads, coins, fringe, braid and beads. Inexpensive acrylic stones can be added. In a more expensive version, Swarovski stones are used on jewelry. You can find a copy of the stones in the Chinese version of production. They are also glass, the quality is not worse, and the colors are different. It remains to decide on the color that will be the basis for the costume of the oriental beauty.

How to make a bodice?

If the costume is made for an adult girl, you need to buy a regular bra, one size larger than the bust of the dancer. Why more? Because after the bodice is sheathed with decorations, it will decrease both under the breast and in the cup itself. Some girls involved in oriental dances prefer to sew the bodice on their own by buying cups in the store. But this is a very difficult job. It’s easier to pick up a ready-made version of a bra for your chest, and then make a bodice for a suit out of it. You should pay attention to how he sits on his chest. If something is wrong, it is better to choose a different bra.

First of all, cut it as shown in the photo below. We cover the cups with fabric selected for the suit. To do this, place the fabric face down on the cup to make tucks. They are marked with a dotted red line in the photo. Stitch them on a typewriter. We turn the fabric right side out and put it on the cup, cut off the excess fabric just enough to fold it in and hem it.

Side straps are made as follows. Cut the cut side straps on any dense material, lengthening in the fastener area. This is done in order to have a fixed length of the strap, and not stretched, as in a bra. Put this cut on a dublerin or any adhesive fabric. Trim off excess fabric.

Iron the adhesive base to the wrong side of the fabric, which will be used to cover the side straps. Fold the side strap with the fabric planted on the adhesive base. Turn the fabric over and sew. The edge that will be sewn to the cup is processed with a zigzag. The photo shows that the edge with the fastener is not tucked. It is drawn up at the end of the work, when the bodice is ready and the comfortable length of the straps is determined. Hooks for a fastener or loops are sewn on the ends, into which the lacing is pulled, which is convenient for adjusting the tension. The shoulder straps are made to the length you need, from an adhesive-backed trim, and can be embellished in the same way as the bodice itself.

Sleeve in costume

There is one more detail to the oriental costume for girls - sleeves in the form of lanterns. Usually they are sewn from the same fabric as the skirt or harem pants. They give the dancer grace in the dance. The flashlight is made either as a separate element of the costume, or sewn to the shoulder strap. The sleeve should not fit the arm, but be lush. In this case, in combination with a skirt or harem pants, it will look rich. The sleeve may have a non-sewn cut along its upper part. Along the cut, you can make the same decorations as on the cut sides of the bloomers.

Belt for oriental costume

Felt can be used for the base of the belt. There is a softer one, but it will not hold its shape as well as the one that is denser. But thin can also be used by folding it in several layers. Felt needs to be bought in a large size (it is usually sold in pieces). It should be enough to form the hip belt of an oriental costume. The easiest option is when a narrow belt is made. You can make it a wave. It is better to create a belt from two parts: front and back. When stitching, you need to make a small margin so that, if necessary, the belt can be slightly increased or reduced. Usually the stock is done on the side in the fastener.

Material for sheathing

The next step is the selection of the material with which the base of the oriental costume will be sheathed. As a rule, it can be a supplex fabric from which swimwear is sewn. The entire bra is sheathed with this fabric, and not just the cup, so it is important that it does not lose elasticity and stretch. This fabric is also used on the belt, only in this case it does not stretch, but is fixed according to the felt belt pattern.

Many people use satin, thick silk and velvet as the material for covering. Undoubtedly, these fabrics look very nice, but are more suitable for sewing the base for children's oriental costumes, where there is no bra, but the upper part is sewn in the form of a cropped blouse that covers the chest. Moreover, the more beautiful the fabric, the less effort is needed to decorate it. In a suit for a girl, you can sew a belt along with bloomers, as in the photo below.

Design of the costume

After the base of the costume is covered with material, it is time to decorate. It should be decided what will be sewn or glued on the bodice and belt of the oriental costume. Beaded stones with hanging beads look much richer than a suit embroidered with sequins. Work on embroidery with sequins in combination with beads is the most time-consuming. The bodice of the costume is decorated with the chosen material.

There are belts that have an embossed pattern with curved ends, as in the photo below. If you are going to sew with your own hands an oriental dance costume with a complex belt, in which there are cut-out details, you need to think about how to make the openwork part solid. No matter how dense the fabric of the belt is, under the weight of the embroidery it will sag and the back surface will be visible. Here you need clamps, they can be wire or whalebone. In this case, the form will hold.

The belt in the photo is embroidered with intricate embroidery, and the hanging is made not with tassels, but with waves of small beads. The belt of an oriental costume has a center from the back. The front part of the belt does not have a center, which is convenient in case the young dancer gains weight or loses some weight and needs to increase or decrease the volume in the side seam.

The flower, shown in front, lies as if from the side and looks impressive. It is more difficult to make changes to the belt, centered in front and behind, in case of a change in the volumes of the dancer. Therefore, before you start to embroider the belt, you should think about the above problem. You can make a fastener on the back with two strong Velcro. In this case, you do not need to embroider or narrow the belt. Just move the Velcro. From afar, this will not be visible, and the belt looks solid.

Additional accessories for the costume

To create a memorable image of a dancer, bracelets on arms and legs, golden cords, beautiful elongated earrings are used as additional decorations for the costume of an oriental beauty. The monisto decorating the neck of the dancer looks original. It emits a characteristic ringing during the dance and matches the color and style of the costume. It can be made from pearls, coins and glass beads.

To add charm and charm to an oriental dance costume, dancers use many different accessories: shawls and scarves, scarves and headbands, sleeves and gloves.


To sew bloomers, you can use the loose pants pattern. The best material for them is translucent light silk, knitwear or gauze. The details of the legs can be expanded, as the top will be made with an elastic band. The length of the legs is taken 15-20 cm more so that there is an overhang at the bottom. On the sides, the seams should not be continuous in the area from the middle of the thigh to the ankle. Unsewn sidewalls of the legs can be decorated with metallic jewelry, sequins, or any jewelry that is harmonious with the basis of the costume.


Oriental dance skirt is another option in an oriental dance costume.

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