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Ask the Costume Goddess

Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess

Ask the Costume Goddess:

Attaching Coins, Beads, Bells

by Dina Lydia



The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

I'm having trouble finding a strong but unnoticable way to attach my coins, beads, and bells. They stay fine for a while but then begin to fly off which is dangerous and costly. Someone said to use dental floss but if I leave enough slack for the shimmy the floss shows and looks tacky! Any suggestions?

--Loose Coins In The Fountain



The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Loose,

You're right - coins, bells, and beads will shake and jingle properly only when sewn to your garment loosely, leaving about an eighth inch of slack. The thread needs to be stronger than plain old machine sewing thread, because flying ornaments do distract from your performance.

As far as I know, dental floss comes in white only (except for the green, mint-flavored kind!) and although strong, it's not designed to hold the weight and friction of heavy ornaments over time. So unless your costume is white or green, and your coins are very light, I think it's not a good choice.

The heaviest weight of beading thread, available in bead and craft shops, is a suitable thickness and comes in black as well as white. I've also had good results with button thread, which is very thick and waxy and comes in a variety of colors to match or blend into costume. You can get this at fabric stores.


Make sure the thread is anchored securely to the costume edge through several thicknesses, using a knot and several backstitches. Some like to wax their thread for extra resistance to friction. Go through the coin or bell twice or more with a double thickness of thread. For a bead, go through as many times as the bead opening will easily allow.

A trick you might use, if the design of your costume allows, is to sew a narrow, attractive trim loosely over the uppermost row of coins to cover the exposed threads, making sure to leave the threads free to move. The threads on the lower rows, if any, should be covered by the coins above.

As always, examine the costume well before each wearing for any sign of damage or loose threads, and fix it.

--The Costume Goddess



Related Articles

Other articles on this web site related to attaching ornaments to costumes 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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