Do you get bored doing the same old exercise routines? Well I do so Idecided that I would give a try belly dancing. You know me I'll try
anything. Not only is belly dancing fun but it's also a great way to get some exercise. Believe me you work every part of your body. Well I can't get fully into it until I have the right gear, so I'm making a belly dance skirt that I can wear under my coin scarf. Yes, I need the coin scarf too. I want all the noise to go along with my belly dancing routine.I looked online and there are several sites to buy them from, but now I can make one with just the colors I want. Not that anyone will see me in this but I'll look cute doing my routines.
Shimmy shimmy shake shake
These are instructions for making one of those endless dreamy skirts that no matter how much you pull, tuck, turn, or whip ‘em there’s still plenty left. Follow these instructions for a perfect hem, no wasted fabric, no pattern necessary and no bunching at the waist. Made from 5 seamless half circles, it gives you much more to dance with than a plain old circle skirt. This is an amazingly simple full circle-circle-circ (that's two full circles and a half!) skirt for belly dancing. For sheer fabric, it’s a way to give you more coverage without layers. Worn underneath, these skirts can compliment a skimpy skirt that sometimes comes attached to a belly dance belt.
- Select your fabric. For instructional purposes 5 different color panels, 2.75 yards (2.5m) each, were used. You will probably want one solid color. This fabric had some gold sari-like brocade trim on it, which for the most part will not be a part of the main skirt. With the leftover fabric, you will be able to make a petal-like over-skirt. You will need approximately 12 to 14 yards (11-13m) of 45” (1.14m) wide fabric (see Tips about costs). If you are very tall and your favorite skirt is 42” (1m) or longer, you may need to buy 60” (1.5m) wide fabric not 45". Polyester chiffon is the popular choice. It comes in a variety of colors, you can wash it, and it doesn’t wrinkle like silk. Silk chiffon works as well and it is great for stage when accompanied by a large silk veil. For a tribal style, plain old black cotton sheeting can be used, but you must add extra inches to each panel, since cotton doesn't roll like chiffon, and you must make a folded hem.
- Cut the panels. Measure around your hips (C) and the length (L) of your favorite belly dance skirt. Calculate your hip diameter (D) by dividing your hip measurement (C) by 3.14. Use this formula to calculate how much fabric you need for each panel: (2 x L) + D = one panel, add 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) to each panel for seam allowance at hips and a rolled hem (or add 5-6" (12-15 cm) for cotton/folded hems). If you can, let them cut the fabric into panels for you at the store. The length of each panel is most important. Be generous and round up. Skimping on fabric does not make a less full skirt, it makes an uneven hem with shortness at the seams. Add some extra to the last panel for two waist-bands.
- Fold each panel in half. Calculate the hip portion you will cut from each panel by dividing your hip measurement by number of panels. Then divide this number by 2. For mathematicians: [C/(NUMBER OF PANELS)]/2. You divide by two because your fabric is folded. Use this number as your arch. At the top folded corner, using a tape measure as a guide, cut one small portion of your hip circumference from each panel. (click on photo to see more detail).
- Sew your panels all together in a row, selvage to selvage starting at the hip cut, ignoring any difference at the bottom, as this is the side you will cut and hem. Mind which side is inside and which side is out, if your fabric has sides. Pin then sew a waistband casing tube to skirt, and sew together the final selvages. Thread elastic and finish. If what you have now looks like a giant Amazon handkerchief skirt, you did it right!
- Put your skirt on a clamping slack hanger and hang it high. Let it grow longer for a week or two. The weight from the extra fabric will stretch the bias. You can help by pulling down on each of the fabric points hanging down. You are accelerating something that would eventually happen with age, thus making a new skirt with a perfect hem uneven with time. Letting the fabric hang and grow will keep your hem straighter for years longer.
- Put on your giant, uncut skirt. Stand on a low stool so that the pointed ends of the skirt can touch the floor, but the place you are marking should hang freely. Recruit a friend to operate the hem marker. Aim the marker one inch (2.5cm) or more below your intended hem. This allows for you to roll your hem. Aim two inches (5cm) or more below your intended hem for cotton fabric with a folded hem. Your friend must carefully "poof" a chalk line around all 25 yards of hem (this is the approximate circumference of a 5 panel finished skirt; you'll need to know this if you want to add some decorative trim). Save your leftover fabric to make the petal over-skirt.
*Alternatively, you can use fabric chalk or pins to mark the hem, but a hem marker will give your skirt a professional looking edge.
Hem the skirt with a machine by rolling the fabric between your thumb and forefinger and guide it through the machine without stretching. You may also serge the hem.
- Make an over-skirt from leftover fabric. You will find two usable, somewhat triangular pieces leftover from each panel. Cut them into uniform shapes and hem. Attach them to a waist-band and thread with elastic.
- Put on your full belly dance skirt, the over-skirt, and a belly dance belt and you are ready to dance!
- For flattering leg openings sew two panels together to wear up front, and three together to be worn in the back.
- Fourteen yards of fabric does not include any extra for accessories such as a veil. If you don't find it on sale, this can be an expensive amount of fabric. You can see why vendors must charge so much for an item like this, and a truly full skirt like this is difficult to find. These instructions can work for a 3 panel skirt to save money (perhaps you want silk) as well as a 6 panel skirt, and theoretically even more panels for something amazingly theatrical.
- Seamstress chalk hem marker
- Fabric tape measure
- Sewing machine
- 3/4" or 1" wide elastic for main skirt waist.
- 1/2" wide elastic for the over skirt will keep things less bulky.
- About 14 yards of polyester chiffon