Easy Handmade Dance Costumes

by Cathy Welch

Need a dance costume that is inexpensive and simple to make? There are many ways to make homemade dance costumes that are easy and assembled from readily-available supplies. If you have an old dress or an assortment of fabric, you are only a few steps away from a finished dance costume.

Belly Dancer

Re-purpose an old, strapless dress to make a simple belly dancer costume. The bust area is cut out and has a bra glued in place. The raw edges are trimmed with sequin trim. Lightweight beads are hung from the bottom edge of the bra cups and bead garland is attached in two or three swags under the bra cups. The skirt is cut away from the bodice and glued to the bottom of a rib belt -- you can purchase a rib belt from a medical supply store. The belt should fit snugly when hung low on the hips leaving the belly exposed. Attach multiple tiers of fringe and bead garland. The belly dancer costume is topped off with a pillbox hat covered with sequins. A black scarf can be attached on one side of the hat and will cover the wearer's face when pulled across and velcro-fixed on the other side of the hat. Add small bells to the rib belt for a touch of the tinkling sound expected from a belly dancer.

Hip-Hop Dancer

The hip and cool aspect of hip-hop dance translates easily into a dancer's costume. Layering is a key component of hip-hop style. Start with a pair of baggy jeans or cargo pants. T-shirts, crop tops and tank tops are worn in combination with net shirts and hooded jackets. Top the look off with a ball cap or a Fedora-style hat. Sneakers finish off the look and are comfortable for dancing. Add sparkle or "bling" with dogtags, pendants, chains, bracelets and rings.

Dance Hall Girl

Just a few simple steps will take an old satin evening dress to a dance hall costume. Apply black fabric paint along the front of the neckline and down about 6 inches in a half circle area above the breast. Cutout the middle of this black half circle once it is dry leaving a 1/2-inch border to cover with black stretch lace. This creates an alluring decolletage. Gluing fringe and a flower at the throat dresses up the look. Hem the front section of the skirt 12 inches shorter than the sides and back and add a few layers of black fringe from the waist down. Add a large black or red silk flower to the side of the smallest part of the waist.

Hula Girl

One or two fabric leis hot glued to the top band or cording of an inexpensive grass skirt is the basis of this dance costume. Use fabric glue to attach individual lei flowers to a bathing suit top. Measure and tie silk lei sections to fit each wrist and ankle. Make a small wreath of silk leis to bobby pin in the dancer's hair. An alternative head dress may be made from silk leaf garland. A necklace of small shells and a sprinkling of shells glued to the bathing suit top, waist of the skirt or headdress will add a fun tropical touch.



  • "How to Dress Dancers: Costuming Techniques for Dance"; Mary Kent Harrison; 1999

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