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Learning from the Goddess,
Book Review
of Dina's #2
by Ignatia

I recently became privy to Dina Lydia's addition to the annuals of belly dance costuming, the "Costuming Goddess Tells All" series. Although I was skeptical, that much new information could be added to the topic, I was pleasantly surprised with her second book in the series of seven, "Easy Costume for Bellydancers". The manual gives a good outline for how to put together a tasteful performance-quality costume without bankrupting your life savings.

The book begins with sewing basics:
ˇ         a survey of fabrics,
ˇ         how to take your measurements,
ˇ         and the various supplies you'll need to make a costume.

Dina has included very clear illustrating photos, even at this 50% reduction! Here she illustrates the same dress on differing figures.

Each of the following chapters reviews variations on individual pieces of the costume from tops, bras and belly covers to sheath skirts and veils. The chapters are thorough and broad. Even though the book is in black and white, the pictures of fabrics and other adornments are helpful. It helps to standardize the wide variety of names for sparkly fabrics and other adornments. When Dina suggests a certain type of fabric, the reader can easily comprehend the difference between liquid lame and glitter dot fabric.  She really focuses on teaching the costume maker the basics of construction and the problem areas to avoid while leaving a lot of room for creativity and self-expression. She gives ideas for modifying ready to wear clothing as well as patterns for less easily purchased items like harempants and the  Beledi dress.

Stylistically, the Costume Goddess is all over the map. She acknowledges the variety of styles from Cabaret to Tribal and all shades in between. Those of us who prefer to visit all of the camps find kindred spirits here.This is especially true in her section on veil draping. She has pictures of 10+ different methods for wearing a veil. No matter what your body type, there is a style in there for you. This is the first reference guide I have ever found of this sort.

The line drawings are also very clear and with amazing personality! This is a 60% reduction from the original illutraton of possible "bellydrapes" in her first book in this series.

Above all, Dina stresses good judgment. Certainly, in the belly dance community, there are a wide range of notions of good taste. However, some things are unarguably universal. For instance, Dina touches on the necessity of underwear and its altered construction, avoiding ugly knots in finger cymbal elastic, and the inappropriate use of bras and gym wear as costumes.

If there's anything this book left to be desired, it was a full skirt pattern. She focused on the sheath skirt, which is nice, but not well suited to all figures. However, in true performer style, I know she had to leave us wanting  more. She has another 5 books in her series to come. Also, the construction of the book is not very durable. The plastic coil binding  takes a lot of abuse from everyday use. I'd be willing to invest a couple of extra dollars in a more secure binding.


All and all, this book is a worthwhile addition to your library. For those of us who like to take sewing shortcuts, the Costume Goddess shows us the essential elements and various ways to simplify the belly dance costuming technique. While her first book in the series, "Flattering Costume for Bellydancers" is already available for purchase. The other five books in the series; "Cabaret Belt and Bra for Bellydancers", "Choli & Full Skirt for Bellydancers", "Arm Costume for Bellydancers", "Thrift Shop costume for Bellydancers", and "Headpieces for Bellydancers", are yet to be released. I hope the quality and thoroughness of this book carry through to each of those.

(ed- Dina has just sent us Book #3- "Cabarret Belt and Bra for Bellydancers". The review will be coming soon!)
Dina's web site -

Ready for more?
On the Costumer’s Bookshelf
by Dawn 'Davina' Devine Brown,
The Splendor of Ethnic Jewelry. For the reader or researcher interested in ethnic jewelry, this sumptuous coffee table book is worth every penny of its rather steep price. This is the first in a regular series by Davina!

Yousef Mustafa, Master of Percussion by Jawahare
When the musicians came from Egypt we promoted this type of music for the shows here too. So, now it has become more popular.


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