Sleeve Variations

by Dina, The Costume Goddess


Dear Costume Goddess,

On your main page, you're wearing these long "drippy", almost handkerchief style (sleeves???) gauntlets. They're not really the "sleeve" type, though, and don't cover the arm at all (except for where the "points" hang down over the upper arm and some of or close to the elbow).

Any suggestions for making gauntlets are very helpful since I really don't have any "accessories" for any of my costumes. I've seen some really beautiful "sleeves" that are like big chiffon "bubbles" that are slit lengthwise down the arm, attached at the top and bottom (from just under the elbow to the wrist) with what looks like sequin covered elastic, or perhaps elasticized sequin bands. I've attempted to make these, using only what I could visualize from the video that I saw it on, but can't seem to get it right. {{{sigh}}}

--Jalilah Sahar


Women of all sizWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

Dear Jalilah,

I'm a big fan of sleeves and arm adornments, which can make the difference between a bra top that looks like a real costume piece and one that looks too much like beaded lingerie.

Here are a few ideas for easy arm coverings that don't require the construction of a fitted sleeve:

The drapes that you see in my main black and white photo are simply triangular shapes cut out of sheer fabric (silk chiffon being the most beautiful, nylon "stretch" chiffon the easiest) as illustrated, with two sides on the straight grain at right angles and the third side on the bias. The edges are narrow-hemmed as small as possible. When hemming the bias edge I stretch it a bit (almost impossible not to) so that it appears slightly wavy. The edges may be ornamented with small pailettes or sequins. When the triangle is suspended from one point of the bias edge, it will tend to form a pretty spiral. In the photo, my costume has three triangles on each arm. Two are tacked onto the upper armband at front and back of the band, and one is suspended between the upper armband and the wristband, like a small "wing" with the arm extended.

Dina With Chiffon Sleeve Drapes

In this later, color photo, I'm wearing long fitted lace gauntlets with the same bra, so the triangles have been moved to the bra straps, where they drape over the shoulder at front and back.

My triangles measure 20" by 12" on the right angle, but I have short arms. I suggest you cut the triangle shapes out of a cheap fabric first, to determine the proper size for you.

Dina With Sleeves


Using the same idea, any strip or several strips of soft, lightweight fabric can be gathered and sewn to a wristband and armband, or wristband and bra strap to form a sleeve effect. TIP: the use of wide stretchy sequin trim, though easy, can look amateurish. A more elegant armband/wristband can be made with other trims, or jeweled fabric bands, that are tacked to a hidden elastic (armband) or fasten with hidden snaps (wristband).

One can do the same with multiple strings of by-the-yard-beads or pearls.

Making Sleeve Drapes

A bias strip of chiffon or other soft fabric folded into pleats and sewn to front and back of bra strap will form a shoulder drape.

--The Costume Goddess


Women of all sizWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

About the Costume Goddess

To learn about the Costume Goddess and her bellydance costuming books, please visit the Costume Goddess' own web site.


Women of all sizWomen of all sizes can bellydance! Try it even if you think you are overweight!

The contents of this page are copyrighted 2008 by Dina Lydia. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is forbidden.