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Costume Tips

from Delilah

Check out Delilah's Costume Video Workshop, a must-have for all belly dancers who want to make their own costumes

Where do you think sequins came from?

Small pieces of tin and pot metals have been used to decorate clothing and adorn the body since ancient times. They provide sparkle, design, a pleasant jingling sound and weight to the cloth that is found to be sensuously pleasing. These pieces of metal could be paper thin, or they could be the coins in or out of circulation that have tiny holes drilled in them for attachment. They could be coins, bangles, or talisman charms. It is from these ancient origins the modern laser reflective sequin has come to us.

Coin belts are either made using jump rings and chains or fabric forms that coins may be sewn onto, or scarves that have rows of crocheted edging with coins attached. Of course combinations of these techniques - or wherever your imagination may take you - may be applied. The sturdy belt protects the threads from breaking and the metal from rusting due to sweat and various wear and tear. Dancers doing a lot of dancing often prefer a more sturdy belt form on which to sew coins, jewels, findings and decorative trims.

A Simple Coin Costume

Here is a relatively inexpensive way to make a fast durable bra and belt set with accessories.

Bra, Belt, Headband, foot and /or wrist cuffs, and maybe even add a vest.

Below are a few recommended supplies and general amounts that will have to vary according to size and design:

  • A store-bought colored bra to go with design theme.
  • Two compatible or matching crocheted coin hip scarves and/or 1/2 yard of brocade or other decorative fabric for the base of the belt and accessories. Use one scarf for the belt and the second for covering a bra and accessories.
  • 1/2 a yard of Pellon interfacing for a belt form (more if you desire to make the belt thicker by using multiple layers of the cut belt form.
  • Add decorative trims, jewels, beads to your hearts desire, or keep it simple and let the coins serve themselves.
  • 3/4-2 yards of vest fabric for vest and lining. It will depend on the pattern and whether is has a short shoulder cuff or sleeve.
  • Large sturdy hooks for the belt.


• On Absolute Beginning video there is an example of wearing two hip scarfs tied at each side. This gives you an accent at each hip and adds weight and comfort .

• Design and cut a belt form out of medium weight Pellon to fit your hips. I cut a pattern out of news paper in two pieces and attach at an angle at the side for shape. There are lots of ways to make belts. Sometime darts are made in the back to give more shape to the belt. This way it will cup around and hug one’s derriere better.

• Cover one side with a layer of decorative fabric and turn in the edges all around so it’s smooth (glue or sew).

• Cut the crocheted coin trim off of a scarf and re-arrange to fit chosen belt design. You do this by cutting the fabric and sewing to belt form.

• Cut and sew coined crocheted trim to compatible colored bra.

• Add extra trim and decorations as desired.

• Ad hooks and line the belt when finished. I often use a fabric remnant or another article of clothing I don’t mind cutting up for this purpose.

• Sew a vest that fastens under your bra and features the coin decorated cups. You can adapt a pattern or buy a specific costume pattern. Decorate the vest as desired. Example is Delilah’s costume in Fire at the Iao concert video.

• Use elastic when designing head gear for security while dancing.

• See “Delilah’s Costume Workshop” Video for innovations on head wraps.

• Gripper snaps work great for securing wrist and ankle cuffs.

Calling all costumers!

Coming soon will be photos of a costume made by Delilah using the idea of 2 coined hip scarfs. If there is a dancer out there who has comes up with a costume using these parameters, we will gladly post her picture in her costume creation.

Coming soon also is a photo of Laura Rose taken when she was a young teen. Her costume is made by cutting up only one Egyptian coin hip scarf. Part of the scarf was used on the belt form and the rest on the bra.


Find a bra that fits well and is durably made. If you can find a color that is compatible with your design it can save you a lot of headache covering your bra. Turn it into a halter so you don't have to deal with straps falling and you can tuck a veil easier into a halter at the neck line. You can cut the webbing out of the bra and get a nice effect. Try to retain as much elastic quality in your bra. It’s important for athletic freedom of movement.


Check out the local thrift store for circle skirts. You can often find Chinese and Indian silk skirts that are often circular in their design and are great for bellydance. The best way to find them, says Sarah Teller, is to bend down and scope out the bottom of the skirt rack because the long skirts hang lower and the ones you are looking for will jump out at you! You can sometimes find nice full skirts for $5. Look at old formals for possible transformation into skirts, vests and trim details.


Just go to the yardage store and buy 3 yards of a lightweight transparent poly-chiffon and hem the raw edges leaving the salvage edge alone. If you hem the salvage edge it will cut through the air with a bit of a drag. I prefer mine light.

Visionary Belly Dancing
4115 Fremont Ave N, Seattle, WA 98103 USA

A Companion to Absolute Beginning Bellydance with Delilah