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Ask the Costume Goddess

Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess

Ask the Costume Goddess:

Making a Multi-Point Skirt

by Dina Lydia



The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

I wrote in with a question on making an eight-point skirt and you provided three wonderful ways to do this. I have just finished making a skirt with 2 squares of chiffon layered and it turned out beautifully.

I am interested in trying your multi-pointed skirt design [as shown to the right] and have a question about it. Since one side of the panel is straight do you assemble the skirt with all the straight sides going in the same direction or do they all come in towards the center? Could both sides of the panels be cut curved like a bird's feather or is it better to have one straight? Thanks for all your help, and I am looking forward to trying your multi-pointed skirt design.

--Linda Poynter

Drawing of a Multi-Point Skirt



The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Linda,

Thanks for your wonderful feedback.

The multi-pointed skirt can be done any number of ways. I sewed my panels with one straight side simply because the curved side is a little trickier to get looking smooth. But both sides could be finished with a curved bottom to resemble a feather, as you say.

I assembled the panels in random fashion, not putting much importance on which side was towards the center. Try pinning the whole thing together on a band and see which way you like it, before stitching.

I'm lucky enough to have an industrial Juki machine available to me, which has a tiny feed dog and foot that edge-stitches fine fabric like silk beautifully. Some sergers have a setting for a tiny overlocked thread edge. With a regular home sewing machine it might be more difficult. Buy a small sample of whatever fabric you want to use, and try making some narrow double-turned hems, including curves. I do these in one operation, but doing it in two steps is fine too. (Turn once, edge-stitch, trim closely, turn again, edge-stitch.)

If it's making you tear your hair out, use an easier fabric. Instead of silk chiffon, try sheer knit chiffon (called "stretch" chiffon), a lingerie-type of fabric which doesn't ravel and might need only a single turned edge instead of a double turned edge. (Beware, this can melt from a hot iron). Experiment with any fabric you like. I chose silk because it's so "floaty", but in general knits will be easier to handle, because they don't ravel much and have some "give" which makes hemming curves easier.

Drawing of a Multi-Point Feathered Sleeve

It's also not out of the question to make the edges square instead of curved, (have you heard of a "carwash" skirt?) or pointed at a 45-degree angle. If you have straight angles on your belt, or square or diamond-shaped jewels, it would all work together.

Another thing I've done with these feathery panels is sew "tufts" of them on the bra straps to make feathery shoulder decorations, or on a sequin armband for feathery arm decorations, as illustrated above.

--The Costume Goddess



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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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