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

Ask the Costume Goddess

Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess

Ask the Costume Goddess:

Falling Gauntlets

by Dina Lydia



The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

My gauntlets keep falling down as I dance. What's the problem?

--Falling In Fallbrook



The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Falling,

What could be more distracting than being obliged to tug repeatedly on any part of your costume as you perform? The gauntlets must either be elastic all over, as Powernet or stretch lace, or have a half-inch elastic in a casing at the top which is tight enough to stay in place, but not so tight that it functions as a blood pressure cuff! Replace the elastic if necessary, safety-pin it in place and practice. If still too loose, adjust the tightness. When it's correct, stitch the ends securely and tuck in.

Keep in mind that heavy fringe will tend to drag the gauntlet down if it's not elastic and tight all over. (Tip: the elastic can be dyed or colored with permanent marker to match skin, if it shows.)

For those with more sewing skills, consider alternatives: Some gauntlets work better just above or below the elbow instead of at the upper arm. Or make a full sleeve reaching shoulder level, using a fitted sleeve pattern, cut a bit out under the arm, and attach it to your bra strap at top only, about three inches either side of center. Keep trying on and adjusting until correct, as always.

(About the photo: Dina is modeling velvet gauntlets with a chiffon scarf attached that matches her pantaloons.)

Dina the Costume Goddess

--The Costume Goddess



Additional Comments from Shira

Some dancers use adhesive products to hold costume items into place. The disadvantage of using these is that the sticky residue can accumulate on the garment. Therefore, it is best to first try other options such as those Dina suggested above.

One product that many dancers use to keep gauntlets, bra straps, and other costume pieces in place is toupée tape. This double-sided tape was originally created for men to use in holding their hairpieces in place, and therefore is designed to be kind to the skin.

Another product used by some dancers is a roll-on liquid body adhesive called "It Stays".



Related Articles

Other articles on this web site related to costuming for the arms include:



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

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

Costume Goddess Photos

To view a photo gallery featuring pictures of Dina, costumes she has designed, and her friends, either click on the choices below or visit her web site:


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The contents of this page are copyrighted 2009 by Dina Lydia. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is forbidden.



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