Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Ask the Costume Goddess:

Costume Advice & How-To's for Belly Dancers


Table of Contents



About "Ask the Costume Goddess"

The Costume Goddess, written by Dina Lydia, is an online column addressing reader questions regarding belly dance costuming. In these articles, Dina generously shares her years of sewing and costume design experience. All the questions featured in The Costume Goddess were received from real readers.

Dina no longer accepts new questions for this column because of her busy schedule. However, she has published a series of seven books about belly dance costuming which provide vast amounts of additional advice beyond what appears on this web site.



Costume Designs that Flatter

In this section, The Costume Goddess offers advice on what types of costume designs look best on various figure types or best fit certain dance styles.

Figure Types

Dance Personality



Making Your Own Pieces

Don't look like everybody else! Follow these Costume Goddess instructions for making your own unique costume items!




Arm Decorations


Blouses, Vests, & Cholis

Other Items

  • How To Make A Veil. Make a belly dance veil.
  • Hip Drape. Just what kind of hip drape was the Costume Goddess recommending in the article about the pear-shaped figure?
  • Headdress Ideas. Don't step on stage with hair that looks like you just came from your office. These headdress ideas will make you look like a dancer from your head to your toes.



Fitting & Alterations

Is fitting your costume giving you fits? The Costume Goddess offers tips on how to alter your costumes.

  • Falling Gauntlets. What to do about gauntlets that keep falling down as you dance?
  • Battle Of The Hip Bulge. What can you do about it when your hip elastic fits too tightly and makes your hips flow up over the top?
  • Tight Sleeves. How do you handle the sleeves on a fitted midriff top so that your top doesn't ride up when you raise your arms?
  • Shopping for a Large-Sized Bra. What if you have trouble finding a bra to fit a large bustline?



Sewing Technique

You don't exactly consider yourself a wizard with a needle and thread, but you would like to try making your own belly dancing costumes. Here are some tips to help you choose supplies and work with the exotic fabrics that make beautiful belly dancing costumes.

  • Machine-Sewing Sequins. How do you use a sewing machine to attach sequins to a costume item?
  • Glitter Dot Fabric. This fabric with reflective dots fused to its surface looks beautiful in belly dance costumes, but presents challenges when sewing it. Here's some advice on how to work with it.
  • Making Beaded Fringe. Use crochet techniques to make your own beaded fringe.



Other Costume Issues



About the Costume Goddess

Dina has been sewing for more than twenty-five years (yes, she started as a toddler!)

She's also an artist (Maryland Institute of Art) and perfected her sewing techniques apprenticed to various designers, freelancing for small theaters, restyling vintage garments, and altering wedding gowns.

Dina fell in love with belly dancing costumes upon her very first lesson. Now the pleasure of wearing her own designs, and seeing others wear them, offers as much pleasure as dancing. She's become expert as well in altering those troublesome ready-made Egyptian costumes, and modifying designs to flatter individual figures.

She holds workshops in Seattle to teach design and construction of cabaret costumes, and analysis of figure characteristics. She will also give private lessons, or resize or repair a secondhand costume. She's thus earned her Costume Goddess title.

Photo of Dina Lydia, The Costume Goddess

Photos of Dina in many of her costumes appear in a two-part costume gallery here on this web site:


The Costume Goddess Tells All Costuming Books

Dina has published six books of her own on belly dance costuming as well as writing nearly all the costuming section for The Belly Dance Book. For information on her series of books, The Costume Goddess Tells All, see her web site at For reviews here on of some of her books, see:

Photo of Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess




Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Advice >
Index to the Costuming Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Advice > Index to the Costuming Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |