Assiut in Fashion – Toroz


Toroz – Modern Egyptian Design
Traditional Assiut Details

I recently discovered an amazing young designer Lobna Zogheib, founder of the label Toroz.  These lovely garments are modern and fashionable featuring accents of traditional embroidery from Sohag and Siwa oasis.  Lobna strives for her garments to be, “a gateway between cultural iconic craftsmanship and modern-day fashion style.”

Toroz is making an impact in the Egyptian fashion scene, with key figures collecting and wearing her pieces.  One of the most prestigious collectors of Toroz is the Egyptian Minister of Culture, Dr. Ines Abdeldaym.

If you’re interested in learning more about Toroz, or even picking up a piece for yourself, visit the company’s Instagram account follow, and DM them directly for more information.

Until The Next Post!

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
March 2023




Shimmy On The High Seas: Progress Report

Can You Write a Novel?
Challenge Accepted!

Many years ago, my mum challenged me to create a work of fiction. Of course, I said “Yes!” My mom wants to read a non-DIY or History book by her one and only daughter. How could I possibly say no?

We brainstormed together and settled on a few key features for this project. These general parameters were going to inform the shape and scope of the book. 

  • Cozy Mystery.  Both mum and I enjoy reading a silly-fun cozy-style mystery.
  • “Write what I know.”  I took this excellent advice and set the event at a belly dance festival.
  • An Exotic Setting. Let’s put it on a cruise ship! Many years ago, I attended a belly dance event on a cruise ship.

Shimmy On The High Seas

I bounced the idea around with my co-author and cruise travel buddy Alisha Westerfeld, shown below looking out onto a ship’s wake with my mum. She gave it two thumbs up and the work began. Between Alisha, my mum, and me, we came up with the title of our mythical event, “Shimmy on the High Seas.”

The story takes place on board a 15-day round-trip cruise to Hawaii.  The belly dance event, Shimmy on the High Seas would take place on days 1 – 5, and 11-15.  Between the 6 – 10, the ship visits several ports throughout the Hawaiian islands.  But this fun event is interrupted by the tragic death of one of the event instructors!  *gasp and clutch pearls here*

NaNoWriMo 2018

In November, I took on the Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge and managed to get nearly 30,000 words of the novel completed. Raw and unedited, it needed plenty of work, but I set it aside in early 2019 to work on the rewrite of Costuming From the Hip, getting it ready for its 30-anniversary rerelease.  

Booked a Cruise & Personal Writing Retreat

In 2019, after much nudging from my mum, I booked a cruise for her and me to set sail from San Diego to Mexico. The mission was to eat a bunch of food and work on Shimmy on the High Seas.  We picked our ship, and we bought tickets, for March 2020. 

I don’t think I need to explain why THAT trip got canceled!

In 2022, mum and I decided to finally book that replacement cruise, so we booked for March 2023. The main mission is to eat a lot of food, see a lot of great entertainment, and make significant progress on the unfinished manuscript for “Shimmy on the High Seas.” 

Let’s get this book finished in 2023!  CHEERS!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
February 13, 2023





Who Dunnit?


Assiut Belly Dance Bra: Fusion Style

Assiut Belly Dance Bra: Fusion Style

This month I’m tackling this lovely pleated assiut bra for a local dancer. For this bra, I used some lovely assiut scraps to cover the center front. The sides of the cups are made of striped assiut fabric that I’ve pleated to bring the assiut stitches closer together. The pleats also accommodate the curved shape of the bra. At the bottom, the stripes overlap while at the top they spread to reveal more of the black ground tulle.

When a bra is bristling with pins, I call this the “Porcupine” stage.  As I hand sew, moving from the center front outwards, I’ll take each bra cup to the same level of completion, switching from left to right to ensure a symmetrical appearance.  Hand sewing takes a lot of time, but is essential when making a belly dance bra of any style.  Here are some of my top hand-sewing tips for working on a belly dance bra.

Six sewing tips for hand sewing a belly dance bra:

1 – Use waxed thread and a fresh needle.

2 – Make sure the pin tips are buried in the foam.

3 – Rest the center of the bra on a pressing ham for easy access to this area.

4 – Have a small iron ready to help with pressing.

5 – Use a thimble to push the needle through the bra.

6 – Take frequent breaks to hold a hot cup of beverage in your hands.


Want to see the Pleating Process?

If you want to see my hands in action creating this porcupine, hop over to Patreon and catch a demo at the $7 level.  I describe what I’m doing with a top-down viewing angle. You get to see how I handle the fabric, form the pleats, place the pins, and techniques I use to create symmetry with this beautiful hand-crafted assiut. 

I hope you have fun and great success
in all of your 2023 costuming adventures!

~ Dawn Devine ~ Davina