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A Review of

The Costume Goddess Tells All:
Easy Costume for Bellydancers

by Dina Lydia




Dina Lydia suggests a variety of ideas for easy-to-make belly dance costume pieces, suitable for students. Cover



Fact Sheet


The Costume Goddess Tells All, Volume 2:
Easy Costume for Bellydancers, 2nd Edition


Dina Lydia




Dina Lydia & Blair Johnson


Nonfiction: Costume Instruction



Number of Pages


Published In





For this review, I used the Second Edition of the book, which was published in the autumn of 2002. I never saw the First Edition, so I really don't know how applicable my comments below would be to it.

This is Volume 2 in a series of books about belly dance costuming written by Dina Lydia, The Costume Goddess. It focuses on how to create belly dance costume pieces that aren't very time-consuming to complete and don't require much sewing skill. It's a great starting point for belly dance students who aren't ready to invest the time or money in acquiring professional-quality costumes, and it also provides many good ideas for a troupe that wants a uniform look for its troupe costumes without spending a lot of money.

The book opens with basic information for people who don't know much about sewing. It describes the types of fabrics that are available, decorating materials, some basic stitches, and supplies. If you're already reasonably knowledgeable about sewing, this section will serve as review. But for people who don't know their way around a fabric store, it contains some valuable information.

The part of the book that provides instructions for specific garments is divided into several sections: tops, tummy covers, cover-ups, skirts & pants, hip scarves, dresses, scarf tricks, and accessories. In each section, Dina provides instructions on how to make several different simple garments, and includes photos of what many of the completed garments look like. Although most of the photos show the garment being modeled by Dina herself, there are also many photos of other dancers. I think my favorite is a page in the Baladi Dress section that showed the exact same dress being modeled by three different people with entirely different figure types.

Some of the costume items in this book are suitable for dancers who are proud of their figures and would like to show off their hourglass shapes or lovely legs. Others provide a more covered look, suitable for dancers who prefer not to show so much skin. Students of all sizes and shapes will be able to find ideas for flattering garments.

Dina explains exactly how to make each garment shown in this book. When appropriate, she includes details explaining how to size it to fit your own measurements, and the book is loaded with diagrams that illustrate exactly how to do things. Even if you've had very little experience with sewing, this book provides the information needed to create attractive outfits you can wear for class, home practice, and student recitals.



Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You want to make costumes suitable for a belly dance student recital.
  • You are a hobbyist wanting to make inexpensive costumes for your performances at haflas and other amateur events.
  • You are trying to select troupe costumes that are affordable and easy to make.
  • You enjoy Dina's Ask the Costume Goddess column here on the web site.
  • You found the costuming section of The Belly Dance Book edited by Tazz Richards to be valuable. (That section was written and illustrated by Dina.)


This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You're looking for instructions on how to make costumes suitable for professional shows.



What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • Dina offers instructions for making an enormous variety of garments, including simple arm decorations, headbands, assorted tops, skirts, and dresses.
  • In addition to describing the basic form of a garment, she offers many suggestions on how to vary the sleeves, neckline, and decoration for creating different looks from the same fundamental style.
  • Everything is here to make a complete starter costume, from the accessories on the head all the way down to the fringe on the lower edge of the skirt.
  • Dina shows that "easy" doesn't need to mean "boring" or "cheap" looking. In the photos of herself and her models, she shows that many of the garments described can indeed look quite attractive if made from suitable fabrics and decorated with the right trims.
  • Although most of Dina's books generally focus on the nightclub-style costuming look, many of the garments shown in this book would be perfectly appropriate for inexpensive Tribal costumes, if made from the right fabrics. She shows how to use coins, fringe, and tassels as decorations.
  • In using some of her fellow dancers as models, Dina shows how some of her garment suggestions look on different body types, including a more full-figured look.


What I Didn't Like:

  • Like many other belly dancing books, this one is bound with plastic spiral binding. Although this binding does help keep the cost of the book down, it takes more space on my bookshelf than other binding types and it's hard for me to tell which book is which when I'm looking at the spines of several spiral-bound books side-by-side.




Belly dance troupes, hobbyists, and student dancers alike face a dilemma in creating easy, inexpensive costumes for student recitals, haflas, and other amateur events. This book offers a variety of ideas suitable for dancers who don't wish to spend much money or invest much time in creating costumes for their performances. It's a valuable resource, and I'd encourage teachers to recommend it to their students.




My association with Dina (the author) began when she offered to write an Ask the Costume Goddess column for this web site. She is a valued contributor, and I much appreciate the many articles that she wrote for me.



To Buy It


Contact Information

Dina Lydia
P.O. Box 30878
Seattle,WA 98103-0878

Web Site:


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