Over the years I’ve made quite a few belly dance belts for myself (and others).
And maybe we aren’t supposed to play favorites, but I certainly have my favorite belts that I’ve made for myself.
Before I detail my dance belt favorites, I’d like to explore what I think makes a “good” dance belt.
A Good Belly Dance Belt
When I wear a belt with my costume (and honestly, I prefer to wear a belt, though I don’t always wear a belt)
I like my belt to “cap off” the costume. I think it adds that final touch of polish to a put-together dance costume.
I often think of it as the little metal thing on the top of Christmas ornaments that has the loop for the hook and hides the unpainted rough edge of the top of the ornament.
The belt can hide all the uneven layers of the bottom part of the costume. This is especially true if you wear multiple things like pants, skirts, scarves, and other wraps. It’s difficult to get all those things to be even or look like they are intentionally disheveled.
A good belly dance belt has to fit.
It has to physically fit my body.
Granted, there will be some fluctuations in my body and a good dance belt needs to fit through these fluctuations. But, I’m not expecting miracles. If a belt was made for me at a size 20 pounds different than I am now, I won’t hold it against the belt for not fitting.
In addition to the belt fitting through minor size fluctuations, it has to also be the right “shape”, the right curve for my body.
A belt that isn’t curvy enough for my body will gap at the back or have to be fastened in a dip in the front or side to accommodate my curve. Likewise, a belt that’s TOO curvy will flap at the bottom and not hug the body there.
A belly dance belt has to compliment the dance piece.
It has to fit the mood of the piece and not distract the audience. And it has to fit the persona of the performer in that piece.
So, I won’t be wearing pastel pink flowers if I’m dancing to a heavy metal song. Granted. I probably won’t be wearing pastel pink flowers regardless of what I’m dancing to. Unless I’m making fun of something, probably me. I digress.
If you aren’t wearing the belt to perform. It still must fit your personality.
A belly dance belt has to function properly.
As in, it can’t fall off. I don’t want it breaking. And I don’t want it flipping up on the bottom or down on the top.
Typically, I only use 3 safety pins on my belts to hold them in place while performing. I center one in the back and use one on each hip bone (or thereabouts). For the most part, the safety pins are there just for safety. Just in case something does go wrong. And sometimes they are there to prevent the belt from sliding up my rib cage when I do a headstand or somersault. And yes. I’ve done some of those things in performances.
So, without further ado, let’s take a peek at my 3 favorite belts (that I’ve made for myself).
My Metal/Gothic/Badass Belly Dance Belt
This is the first belt I ever made.
I was inspired by a belt I saw at Tribal Fest in like 2009? or something.
I don’t remember exact details, but here’s a crappy quality photo of it from back then.
(Not my Belt)
(Not my Belt)
The belt was over $200. And as pretty as it was, and as nice as it fit, It wasn’t quite what I needed at the time, and I didn’t buy it.
The belt in question was dusty teal and beige and maybe brownish and was made with lace and what not and it wasn’t symmetrical, and the pattern that the decorative lace pieces were added to the belt was not geometric or floral or anything, it was just… random looking.
It’s hard to see how that influenced my first belt.
My first belt is black and silver and has a snake-skin embossed fabric as the backing fabric and has studs and dog collar chains decorating it.
I love this belt. For one, it’s my first.
And it’s held up over a LOT of performances. I’ve used this belt for at least 4 different pieces and multiple performances of a few of those pieces.
It’s really sturdy. And the belt supports the heavy chains and metal ring decorating it.
The metal chains make a really loud sound when I hit the floor with them. Which occurs more often in some of my dances than one would imagine. But all my rolls and Turkish drops can sound rather dreadful with the chains. But, I’ll be honest, if I’m wearing this belt, chances are, the dance isn’t exactly a delicate piece.
Alas, like most of my belts, it is starting to “not fit”. You can see it’s a little big and droopy at the top, but also flappy at the bottom.
If I were to make this belt again (or a belt like it). One of the biggest things I’d do differently is plan the overlap of the front.
When I made this belt, I really didn’t think beyond getting something around my hips. I only knew I wanted to snap it shut.
The whole making it asymmetrical overlapping front was sorta just something that happened as I made it. And that could have been executed better.
Another change I’d make is how I added the studs on it.
Back when I made this belt, I didn’t even know you could order studs online and painstakingly insert them onto your own things. And maybe it wasn’t as common back then as it is now. But I’ve learned that I could do that.
What this belt was made of was a LOT of scraps, scrap fabric, scrap yarn, and scrap metal studs I peeled off a “normal” belt that I had used so much it broke. Then I glued those pieces onto the belt. So, that definitely could be executed better.
My Awesome Belly Dance Belt
So this belt was made for a very specific piece.
My dance partner and I had just done two very serious, angsty, and dark pieces. And we thought we’d make fun of ourselves a little bit. So, we grabbed a couple of our friends and put together this piece.
(I made 3 of the 4 costumes in this from scratch. Including the bras. But that’s a different story.)
The “rules” I gave the girls for picking their costume colors was that they should be bright colors. (Like lego blocks.) But not all primary colors.
I really like the geometric designs of this. I mean. Legos.
The chains and sparkle are nice as well. I really like the copper chains with the purple.
Unfortunately, I made this belt too big from the start. Probably I made it while wearing a pair of sweat pants or something.
Anyway. This piece was performed twice, and I had to take the belt in for the second performance.
I really like this belt. And aside from having made it too big, to begin with, the only other thing I’d do differently would be to consider leaving more space between decorations to make size adjustments.
My “Old Artist” Belly Dance Belt
This belt was also made for a very specific piece to a song called “Old Artist”. It’s a really pretty song.
It’s the first belt I made that I really feel is close to a “traditional” bellydance Belt. For one, it’s the first I ever glued rhinestones on.
With the sparkly bits, the belt reads well on a spotlight lit stage too.
It’s also the heaviest belt I’ve made. It weighs in at a whopping 494 grams which is just over a pound. By contrast, the gothic belt above with its big metal circles and dog chains only weighs 330 grams which is close to 3/4 pound. And the Awesome belt doesn’t even make it to 0.7 pounds.
I didn’t draft the pattern for this overlap (again) and probably could have executed it better. It’s more difficult to wing that kind of thing when you add piping on the edge as this belt has as well.
Other than making a belt like this that is easier to adjust for a change in size, I don’t know anything major that I’d do differently.
Probably I’d have glued on some of the rhinestones a little better. But, it’s a learning curve (gluing rhinestones).
These are my top three belts that I’ve made for myself. Two of them have covered bras that match, and one has a matching bra I made from scratch. Check back as I add to my dance costume portfolio on this site.
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