In this post, I’ll show you how to make a belly dance skirt by using two squares of sheer fabric. This skirt has two tiers and a lot of fringe that will move while you’re shimmying. You could also add a more traditional coin trim if you prefer.
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Materials used to Make a Belly Dance Skirt:
- 1 yard of fabric for the outer tier (I found this at a thrift shop).
- 1 yard of fabric for the inner tier (I got this from Joann Fabrics).
- Black waistband elastic
- Fringe or coin trim
- Rolled hem foot (mine came in this set of presser feet).
Prepare Your Fabric to Make a Belly Dance Skirt
Cut out a square that is 36 x 36″ from each piece of fabric. Since you bought a yard of each, you’re all set on two edges already.
Cut Out the Waist on your Belly Dance Skirt
For this project, you’re basically making a square circle skirt. That is, you’ll cut out the waist in the same way that you would for a circle skirt, but you’ll leave the edges in the shape of a square.
If you’re making your first circle skirt, use this tutorial by Simple Simon and Co to figure out your waist measurements for a circle skirt. Fold your skirt in quarters like you’re making a giant snowflake (this is a great analogy from the Simple Simon and Co tutorial linked above).
Add 1/4″ to 1/2″ to your waist measurement and mark your skirt, measuring from the tip. You want your skirt to be bigger than your waist, so that you can gather it with the elastic waistband, which will allow your skirt enough stretch to easily slip on and off.
Since I’ve made circle skirts before, and I know what size I want it to be, I just used the cutout from a the waist of a previous circle skirt. Save your cutouts, too, and making more circle skirts will be easy!
For the top tier, fold your fabric into quarters and iron it flat, making a large triangle. Don’t iron the fabric after cutting the waist out–you’ll use the fold lines later on.
For the bottom tier, fold your fabric into quarters and iron it flat, making a large square. Don’t iron the fabric after cutting the waist out–you’ll use the fold lines later on.
Your tiers will be staggered like this in the final skirt:
Hemming the Fabric for Your Belly Dance Skirt
Sheer fabric can be difficult to hem. I used my serger to finish the edges on the top tier around both the waist and the bottom hem. You’ll be putting fringe over the bottom edge and a waistband around the top, so it doesn’t matter what color thread you use.
For the bottom tier of the skirt, my serger stitches kept pulling out, since the fabric was very loosely woven. I’ve heard that you can use tissue paper as a stabilizer, but I decided to add a hem using a rolled hem foot. Just go slowly and feed the fabric evenly. You may need to practice a bit if you haven’t used a rolled hem foot before. Again, it won’t really be visible, so don’t worry about any mistakes.
Adding a Waistband to Your Belly Dance Skirt
Cut a piece of waistband to fit comfortably around your hips (or your waist–wherever you want the skirt to sit). Sew the two ends of your waistband together. I used my serger to finish the edges on this, but the elastic won’t unravel much, and you can always zigzag over the ends if needed.
Earlier on, you folded your skirts into quarters, and you left the creases in the fabric. Those will come in handy now. Divide your waistband into quarters as well. Match up the quarter marks on the waistband with the fold lines on the bottom tier of the skirt.
The waistband will be smaller than the fabric. As you sew, stretch the elastic to fit the length of the fabric on the skirt. This will gather the skirt fabric along the waistband.
The two tiers of the skirt will sandwich the waistband so that the edges of the fabric are facing downward. Here’s what it looks like inside the skirt after both tiers are sewn on. Once you fold the tiers down, none of the edges are showing.
When adding the top tier of the skirt, be sure to stagger it so that the points of the lower tier show in between the points of the top tier.
This is what it looks like with both tiers sewn on.
Adding the Fringe to Your Belly Dance Skirt
To start sewing the fringe on, I folded over the end of the fringe, so that it wouldn’t unravel later on. I sewed with the fabric on top of the fringe. The fabric is sheer, so you can see both layers while you’re sewing.
When you get to the corners, pull out a little extra fringe and fold it back.
It’ll look like this, with a little fold on each corner.
When you get back around to the beginning, fold over the end of the fringe again to butt up against the first fold.
Make a Belly Dance Skirt: You’re Finished!
Here’s the finished belly dance skirt.
Try These Projects After You Make a Belly Dance Skirt
See my other posts on making Circle Skirts for more ideas: