Belly Dance General Publications

The “Gold Book” Flip Through – Part 1

“The Belly Dance Costume Book” by Zarifa Aradoon c. 1978

This book is a time capsule of belly dance-consuming information c. 1978.  I love having this book in my collection as it is part of my belly dance costuming journey.  When I wrote my first book, “Costuming from the Hip” this book was already out of print by 15 years!  This was a legendary book.  In 1992, I had heard about it but at that point, hadn’t seen it.

The “Gold Book” a Gifted Copy

Fast forward to 2009, I received a copy of the “Gold Book” from my dance friend and former troupe-mate Kay in Reno. When I finally got my hands on it, I could instantly see why folks sometimes compared our books. We both followed the typical style of a costuming DIY sewing or costume-making book, just with a belly dance spin. So they have a similar look and feel due to the format and content.

The Gold Book – Two Patreon Flip Throughs

As a former college professor, further readings weren’t just suggested, they were required.  But here in our belly dance world, many books from past eras are out of print and difficult to find. So in July and August, I’m presenting the “Gold Book” in a chatty flip-through with my commentary about the content.  This book is over 200 pages, so I split the flip-through into two separate parts. The first half discussion is already available on Patreon.

Costuming From The Hip: 30th Anniversary Rewrite

The “Gold Book” is definitely having some impact on how I design and layout the next edition of “Costuming From The Hip.”  I really love that Zarifa included a little bit of costume history at the start of her book.  This is a feature that I’m including in my rewrite. So the next edition of CFTH will include and illustrated time-line of belly dance stage costuming.

I also am inspired to include an appendix that includes the current price listings and supplies. There is a  “time capsule” effect of including prices makes this book very dated.  But as a historian, I love this historical data.  So, with that in mind, I’m going to include an appendix that reflects the kinds of materials and supplies that are happening right here and now.

I hope you enjoy the “Gold Book” quick flip.
If you want to see more, consider taking digital classes with me over on Patreon. 
Thank you for supporting my ongoing work as a dance historian, costumer, and author!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
August 2023




Belly Dance General Publications

Fanoos Magazine, Spring 2021


Today I woke up and was thrilled to discover that I made the cover of Fanoos Magazine.  The production team over at the magazine approached me in March to schedule an interview.  They sent me a list of 10 thought-provoking questions that really made me stop and pause for reflection.  If you would like to read this piece, click through to the Fanoos website.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
April 15, 2021



Belly Dance General

Design Process: Sourcing Supplies for a Tangerine Bedlah

Over the past month, I’ve been working on this tangerine bedlah set. I’ve been sharing tons of in-progress photos over in my Studio Davina Facebook Group.  If you want to see more details about the construction of that costume, come join the group and do a search on “Tangerine” to see all the posts.

The Design Brief

My client, Shalimar, provided me with a simple design brief, “Professional Quality, Orange, Sparkly, and Expensive-Looking.”  When you are making a costume for yourself, a design brief will include a list of features that you want or need.  Starting with a design brief helps designers keep on track as they work through each step in the design process.

Design is a Process

In a nutshell, design is a process.  Design is the act of making choices that narrow down your options from everything possible to exact details. When I am teaching costume design classes and workshops, I focus on breaking down the process of design into several large phases, and then in each phase, smaller easy to accomplish steps.

Research Phase

In the world of belly dance costuming, the second phase is research. During this phase you will focus on gathering information in these three areas:

  • Cultural or historic research to find out what elements are necessary to complete the goals of the design brief.
  • Gathering images for the mood or concept board to inspire and inform your costume design.
  • Sourcing Materials to locate all the fabrics and embellishments needed to complete the costume.

Design Resources

As a designer, I keep a list of reliable dealers, sources, stores, and shops that I know and trust and can refer to time and again. Back in the day, this was a three-ring binder full of flyers, handwritten notes, swatches, and business cards. In the digital age, this has become a note on my computer where I park all the websites and email addresses of my favorite dealers.

For instance, whenever I need to buy Egyptian Fringe, I go to this Google document and click through to my absolute favorite source for Egyptian Fringe is Scheherezade Imports. Don’t let the vintage vibes of the website fool you.  They have a ton of stuff stored in their warehouse so if you know what you need, Lucy the proprietress will check her stock for you. Lucy offers a full-service custom shopping experience.

Other places where I regularly purchase products include the venerable JoAnn Fabrics  A local mill-end store called “Fabrics R Us” with no website, and Mood Fabrics in Los Angeles. There are many many more entries in my design book. Professional designers consider their book of sources part of their business assets and keep the entries a secret so they can access elements that are completely unique to their designs.

Use the Power of Search

No matter what website I’m using, I like to harness the power of the search bar to find exactly what I’m looking for.   When I first started hunting for affordable acrylic and resin rhinestones and embellishments, I went to the Amazon search bar and simply typed exactly what I wanted.   My search was for “Orange sew-on rhinestones” and I found several assortments to choose from.  You can see the four sets I selected below.

Get this Look

Like fashion, sewing supplies, fabric colors, and embellishments change with the seasons.  The materials that were available in July 2020 might not be available when you are ready to go shopping.  Over time, this link list is going to stop functioning as products go out of stock. This is especially true of

If you live in an area that doesn’t have great options for a wide variety of beads, baubles, and stones, the internet will be your best option. Also, if you already have an Amazon Prime account, it’s a good place to stop and check out the options.  When I was working on this costume, it was the best choice during a locked-down, and then socially distanced time.  As you know, I sell my books on All the links below are affiliate links.  Using these links helps support this blog and my ongoing research.  Thank you!

Fabrics and Embellishments on Amazon

This bedlah set was made out of micro sequin tablecloths!  These are an affordable option that cuts down on sewing time because they come pre-hemmed and you can work that hem into cutting, especially when using round tablecloths for skirts.  For this ensemble, we use gold and orange.

To have the most texture and color in the scattered rhinestones and resin pieces, I bought four assortments.  You can see some of these pieces in the close-up images of the belt.  In addition, I pulled a handful of pink and gold stones from my already existing back-stock of stones.  You can see in the image below the assortments I purchased and how I applied them to the bra in a bilaterally symmetrical scatter pattern

I hope that this insight into the design process I used for this lovely two-toned tangerine bedlah set.
Best of luck in all of your costuming projects,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
September 8, 2020

Belly Dance Publications

Belly Dance Bundle 2019

Hello Gang!

I’m freaking THRILLED to announce that my book, “Zills, Music On Your Fingertips” has been included in a prize package to promote the launch of The Bellydance Bundle 2019.  The line-up of dancers included in this year’s Bundle are really a “Who’s Who” of the intelligentsia of the belly dance world.  My book will be paired with cymbals from my favorite dealers Saroyan Mastercrafts and Turquoise International!

I’m also contributing a workshop to this year’s bundle!

I’m simply thrilled to be part of the Belly Dance Bundle 2019 lineup.  I’ve chosen a topic near and dear to my heart, the history of finger cymbals.  My Facebook theme for September has been Finger Cymbals: History and Technology and I’ve been sharing facts and images from the ancient history of zills.  And bonus, the subject nicely ties into the giveaway too!

History of Finger Cymbals: From Antiquity till Today

So, for this year’s contribution, I’ve put together a digital workshop, an image-heavy slideshow with voice over.  It will include my favorite primary sources that informed the research and the illustrations that appear in my Zill’s book.  If you’ve been picking up the Bellydance Bundle every year,  you are familiar with my Zills book. This talk includes photos of zills from ancient examples, artworks through the ages, early photography and movie clips.  In addition, this lecture includes a printable handout. I’ve also created a links list to museums and archives holding examples of historic cymbals.

Visit the Belly Dance Bundle to find out more the amazing collection of dancers and scholars who are including offerings in this year’s bundle.

Thank you for your continued support of my research!  
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Sept. 18, 2019


Belly Dance Costuming DIY

Pink Floral Belly Dance Costume in Action

Hello Gang!

I love it when I get to see my creations take the stage.  As a costumer, I don’t always get to every event, and sometimes I make belly dance costumes that I never get to see in action.  But this time I’m in luck!  Shalimar sent me some footage of her performing at a live event on the east coast.

Belly Dance Bra with Rouching

For this costume, I started with a typical Olga plunge bra with underwire. (Recently I’ve been LOVING working with the Olga “No Side Effects” Contour Bra, it offers great coverage and support)

I covered it with the left-over holographic stretch fabric from her Pink Mermaid ensemble.  I really like using as much of my off-cuts and scraps as possible to save my client’s cash.  It’s also good for the environment, so in making two costumes, we were able to really stretch the budget.

After covering in the spandex base cloth, I used very affordable flat tear-drop shaped sew-on rhinestones (similar to these) and round pointed or Rivoli shaped stones (similar to these) to create a “floralesque” pattern along the tops of the bra cups.  Once these stones were in place, I pleated the floral georgette border print onto the cups and straps.

Two Pink Belly Dance Costumes – Two Different Vibes

The cost of the rhinestones, beaded fringe, pink holographic spandex, and floral georgette were shared between two costumes. The georgette costume used the “leftover” sew-on rhinestones and spandex.  So when you are planning your next costume and want to save some dollars, I recommend picking a color that you like and design a pair of costumes.  Best part?  She can wear either skirt with both bedlah sets, adding in some versatility to her wardrobe.  Learn more about those sleeves.

Shalimar in two pink costumes by Dawn Devine of Studio Davina

Please take a moment to like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel for more belly dance performance and costume video content!

Best of luck on your costuming adventures!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
August 6, 2019

PS:  Oh, and thank you for clicking through to Amazon – using my affiliate codes doesn’t cost you any more, but it helps me cover the expenses of running a large website!  I couldn’t do it without your support.