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Ask the Costume Goddess

Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess

Ask the Costume Goddess:

Making a Ghawazee Coat

by Dina Lydia



The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

I want to make a ghawazee coat, but hate to buy expensive patterns for every new garment. How do I convert another pattern to make the front of the coat look right? I have several vest and bodice patterns.

Thank you for providing this info. It's great!!!!!

--Northwest Newbie



The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Newbie,

A ghawazee vest or jacket, for those who don't know, is cut out under the bust to show the decorative bra or blouse underneath. It looks good on almost anyone, and is perfect for those occasions when a cabaret-style bra is just too bare. The jacket is generally long and flared; the vest usually midriff length.

No need to buy a separate pattern, if you are an accomplished seamstress. To convert a regular fitted jacket or fitted vest pattern to ghawazee, make a cheap muslin mock-up using the original pattern pieces, Make sure it fits snugly, with front and back darts. Then draw a line with marker (easier with a friend to help) starting at the top of the shoulder, then curving out around and under the bust. (See illustration, click on it to see more detail).
Ghawazee Coat

Cut fabric away on this line, then try on mock-up with costume bra, making sure the edge of vest or jacket comes just above bottom edge of bra without showing extra skin. Make corrections if necessary.

Now you can use this piece as a pattern, remembering to add a half inch or so to the edge as a seam allowance. Finish this edge on the final piece by staystitching on seamline to prevent stretching, then adding a facing, a lining, a bias binding, or simply serging or zigzagging the raw edge, and covering it with decorative trim. Don't forget that like any curved edge, it must be clipped in order to lie flat when turned under.

--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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