When it comes to costuming for either tribal belly dancing or fire dancing, the secret comes down to one thing: layers. They give the audience’s eyes something extra to take in when you’re performing, and each layer is an opportunity to include a variety of texture and color, so that even in those artful moments when you artfully pause, no one can take their eyes off of you.
I’ve shared my instructions for how to make a skirt out of men’s ties, and it’s one of the most popular articles here at CherieDawnLovesFire.com. While that particular skirt can easily be worn on its own (I’ve even worn it to the office), I’d like to share another article on how to make a tassel skirt, such this one. Score: it’s easy and cheap.
Dance Costume Idea: How to Make a Simple Tassel Skirt
1. Go to your favorite thrift store. Sadly, my favorite one closed years ago (I called it Newport Lazarus). Look for a cotton skirt that’s short enough to be well above your knees if you want to layer it with other pieces. I chose a pink skirt that had an elastic waist band. It was all of 75 cents.
2. Wash it to make sure you’re not bringing anything extra into your house.
3. Get a pair of scissors and run to your skirt. (JK – don’t run with scissors!) Depending on how long/wide you want the tassels on your skirt to be, cut the skirt in vertical strips from the bottom seam up. I cut this fabric at one-inch intervals for the width, and then up vertically about 4 or 5 inches.
4. Tie each strand into its own knot.
5. Wash the skirt again. This time the washing will give the tassels a nice, worn look. They’ll get a bit wrinkled and will be more noticeable as individual tassels, rather than just fabric that’s been cut into strips.
I’ve worn this pink skirt over purple leggings for circus gigs; I don’t recommend it for fire dancing because of all the dangly bits that could either get caught up in your tools or grab a moving flame. For tribal belly dancing, it’s a great add-on; you can wear a pair of Melodia yoga pants for your first layer, then a long skirt that will fly nicely during your turns, then the tassel skirt. Depending on the pattern of your tassel skirt, you may want to add even another layer on top. This solid skirt, for example, is more flattering when I wear some sort of hip shawl or large belt to break up the large horizontal line that the top and bottom of the skirt creates around my hips.
Play around – especially if you shop at a thrift store – and experiment with different materials, colors, and patterns. When you make your tassel skirt, show me! Post a picture HERE on Facebook and let me know what you think.
Peace, love, and dance,