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Belly Dance Sleeves

One of my favorite costume accessories here at Studio Davina is a pair of dance sleeves or gauntlets.  During the summer, I made this rhinestone encrusted candy-pink bedlah set with a matching skirt and set of sleeves.

Left: San Francisco/Bay Area dancer Shalimar in custom bedlah set, skirt and sleeves from Studio Davina.

Sleeves are a super easy sewing project that can be completed in about two hours from start to finish.  They work best with 4-way stretch fabric, but you can make them from 2-way stretch as long as you lay the direction of greatest stretch across the sleeve so it stretches around the wrist and biceps.

Although I custom made the pattern for this Goblet skirt, to speed up the production I pulled out my Glove and Gauntlet pattern for the sleeves. When I purchased the fabric for this skirt, I simply added 3/4 of a yard to have enough fabric to make the full-length sleeves.

Making the Sleeves

I use my standard sewing machine, using a medium stitch length with a narrow zig-zag.  Although using a serger is nice, and will give you the best finish inside the garment.

These sleeves are designed to visually lengthen the arm by coming down to a point over the back of the hand.  The tip is held down with a loop of elastic that wraps around the middle finger of the hand to hold them in place. The upper edge has a narrow casing for 1/4″ elastic.  I run the elastic through the casing and safety pin them until fitting.  Once the size is perfect, I stitch the elastic together, forming a ring, and then seal the casing.

One of my tricks is to use a permanent marker to “color match” the finger loop.  I keep this narrow, 1/16″ elastic cord on hand in basic white and black. The white can be easily “colored in” with a marker.  I keep a set of fine-tipped Sharpie brand marker set on hand so I can pick a fairly close match.  I also keep a set of Tombo marker portrait set to turn the white into a flesh color.

Once I have customized the color of the elastic, I use my sewing machine to stitch the elastic on.  This is the place in the sleeves that have the greatest amount of strain and tension on it so I make sure to really nail the elastic down.

Gloves and Gauntlets Sewing Pattern

So if you’re interested in making a set of sleeves – give it a go.  If you would like to pick up a copy of my pattern, it’s available on my Etsy store for $5. It can be the accessory that you make to freshen up an old ensemble, or to add that over the top drama for a new look your making or buying for yourself.

Now it’s time to hit the sewing table and make a bedlah set!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Nov. 3, 2017

PS:  Shalimar loves these sleeves so much, even when she’s wearing different skirts, she will pop them on.  I recently caught her pairing them with a white two-tier skirt.

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