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Ask the Costume Goddess

Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess

Ask the Costume Goddess:

How to Make an 8-Point Skirt?

by Dina Lydia

 

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The Question

Dear Costume Goddess:

I have been taking belly dance lessons for a year and a half now and would like to make a few costume pieces for myself. In a catalog I saw a lovely eight point skirt made from chiffon. I really liked it but couldn't afford to buy it. Would you have an idea on how to make one?

---Eight Point Question

 

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The Costume Goddess Responds

Dear Question,

Yes, I have several ideas how to make one, depending on your sewing skills and time available.

A pointed-hem skirt is flattering to all, but especially for short-legged dancers because the points break up that horizontal hemline.

Handkerchief Skirt (Square Skirt)

One easy way to get that effect is to hem two squares of chiffon, each having of course four points (called a "handkerchief" hem) and layer them as illustrated for an eight-pointed look. The two layers could be the same color or harmonizing colors, such as blue and purple. Experiment with swatches before you decide. The top layer could also be trimmed shorter than the under layer for a tiered look. Each point could be decorated with paillettes, sequins, trim, etc.

Click on the image at the right to see the illustration in more detail.

How to Make a Handkerchief Skirt

Gored Skirt

Another way to make an eight pointed skirt would use a classic full-length eight-gored flared skirt pattern. You may have to use a size or two bigger to allow for a loose fit with elastic, or use the zipper closure if you prefer a close fit. Cut the waist lower to sit on your hipline, and cut each panel into a pointed shape as illustrated, and decorate. Again, I suggest you first make a cheap prototype out of muslin or another inexpensive fabric.

If you underline each panel with lining, the skirt will be opaque. If you don't, it will be sheer, and you can wear harem pants underneath. But you don't want an ugly raw seam edge showing through, so finish each seam nicely.

Click on the image at the right to see the illustration in more detail.

What an 8-Gore Skirt Looks Like

By the way, georgette is a nice alternative to chiffon for a skirt. It has the same texture but is less sheer, like a double layer of chiffon, and a bit easier for a non-expert to handle.

Multipoint Skirt

My third skirt illustrated is more of a challenge and my own design. Each sheer panel is separately finished off with a tiny narrow hem, and they are assembled onto a band in a pleasing fashion. The panels overlap, with the shorter ones on top. Each is finished with a paillette at the tip. Use eight or ten wide panels, or as many as twenty or thirty narrow ones can look lovely.

This is best worn with pants underneath, because the feathery panels fly all around as you dance. I used real silk gauze, but a sheer, non-raveling knit fabric would be easier to finish and would look as pretty on stage.

Click on the image at the right to see the illustration in more detail.

For more detailed information about making this skirt variation, see the separate "Ask the Costume Goddess" column devoted solely to this skirt.

Drawing of a Multi-Point Skirt

I don't know about you, but after all that work I'm ready to relax with a diet root beer and get ready to graciously accept my compliments!

--The Costume Goddess

 

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Related Articles

Other articles on this web site related to skirts with multiple points at the bottom include:

 

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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 www.costumegoddess.com. For reviews here on Shira.net 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:

 

All about belly dancing! Explore belly dance!

The contents of this page are copyrighted 2009 by Dina Lydia. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is forbidden.

 

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