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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:

Working with Glitter Dot Fabric

by Dina Lydia



The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

I would like to know how to sew on fabric that looks like it has sequins on it, but is really painted or glued on? I tried sewing this type of fabric and the glue gummed up my needles causing my thread to break. What do I need to do to sew on this particular type of fabric? I am trying to make a beledi dress. Thanks and have a great evening.

--Glittery Fabric



The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Glittery,

The fabric I've seen labeled "glitter dot" is a metallic knit or a velour that has a pattern of reflective dots fused onto the surface. It catches the light beautifully, similar to real sequins, but at a more modest price. It makes a glamorous caftan-style coverup, scarf, or skirt.

In the photo, my turban is made with glitterdot fabric. Click on the photo to see the turban in more detail.

The adhesive will indeed gunk up your needle while sewing. For this reason a garment with few seams is more suitable than one with darts and fitted sleeves.

Photo of Dina Wearing Headdress Made with Glitter Dot

I have a list of tips found on a flyer at the fabric store, which may be helpful:

  1. Choose styles with simple, classic lines. The beauty of the garment will be in the fabric itself.
  2. Make fitting adjustments on the pattern. Alterations will mark the fabric (with holes).
  3. When pinning pattern, place pins between seam line and edge (to avoid holes that show).
  4. Use a size 12 needle in sewing machine.
  5. Place a drop of "Sewer's Aid" (a lubricant) on needle and bottom of presser foot for ease in sewing.
  6. Set stitch length slightly long.
  7. Avoid top stitching.
  8. Sew at a very slow speed to prevent friction from the needle, causing it to get warm and create a sticky build-up.
  9. If needle develops a sticky build-up, use nail polish remover or alcohol to wipe needle and re-apply "Sewer's Aid".
  10. If needle becomes dull replace it with a new one.
  11. When pressing use a low heat setting.
  12. Always press back side of fabric.
  13. Do not touch iron to sequins.
  14. Finger-press seams to open them and lightly press tip of iron to back of seam, using a presscloth.

I have to add that the dots can peel off from heat, rough wear and handling, or washing, so handle with care. Hand sewing a hem will be easier than trying to topstitch it - or just sew trim over raw edge.

I've used this fabric to cover a belt and bra by hand with beautiful results, but it was difficult, and my finger was sore for days. (No, the CG does not use a thimble.) I would recommend this only for experts at sewing!

--The Costume Goddess



Additional Thoughts

After this article was originally published, another dancer offered some input of her own on glitter dot fabric. Here it is:

  • A well-known maker of beaded costumes named Vicki Horiuchi doesn't think much of the glitter dot as is, but she likes to use the ready-made grid pattern to add beads onto, making vertical, horizontal and diagonal patterns. It ends up looking much more expensive.
  • If you layer an openwork lacy fabric, especially black lace, over the glitter dot, just the sparkle shows through the lace, subduing the polka-dot gaudiness of the glitter dot. It's a gorgeous effect on stage. A sheath skirt or dress would be the perfect piece to use this technique.



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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