Tribal Style belly dance Bits N Pieces

American Tribal Style Belly dance resources

Here are a few items, up close and personal, that a Tribal Belly Dancer uses.


Tribal Costume: Patterns, Instructions, and other dance items (list version).

  1. Tribal skirts: typically, but not necessarily, a Black tiered skirt, also known as a "10 Yard Skirt", with colorful trim on the bottom edge, or a full circle, or circle and a half skirt. (Both patterns with instructions available in DOC or HTML format)

  2. Choli: Tribal Dance top. This can be any color, or colors you choose, and there are multiple patterns available. We (Meegan and Anysia) experimented with a Kwik Sew pattern for a dancers top using both stretch velour and panne (penne) velvet. With some slight alterations we came up with this step by step choli pattern. One of the other students had tried to make a FCBD one, saw ours as we were all getting ready for class, and asked to borrow our choli pattern from us and copied it. Then others students had us make one for them. They still use this pattern for their cholis. Or you can use the Fat Chance Belly Dance choli pattern, which is measured for an individuals' precise dimensions. If you are lucky, you can find an authentic vintage choli from India.We also offer a Nonstretch fabric pattern and instructions. We used plush leopard fabric, and it worked a treat!

  3. Pantaloons: Also known as 'harem pants'. These are two meters (yards) per pant leg wide, to give them a nice blousy feeling. Any lightweight, breathable fabric can be used. I typically use cotton ribbing on the waist bands for comfort.

  4. Coin Bra: Find a bra with very sturdy cups your size. Don't worry if it's the right size around, as the straps will be removed for tie on straps for the more secure halter style fit. You can and should line the inside of the cups with buckram or thick felt to reinforce the fabric, as the coins will add significant weight. Coins can be of local mint, or vintage pieces available from Tribal to the Max, or you can even use religious medals.

  5. Tassel Belts and hip shawl: These can be as elaborate or as simple as suits you. There is no 'chiseled in stone' rules for either of these items. Toran door hangings make excellent belt bases, and with a piece of elastic sewn on the upper inside edge, and cotton ties, and tassels, it is probably the quickest way. You can get webmesh belts and add tassels, bells, beads and other personal items to decorate. Obi fabric (leftover kimono belt fabric) makes for an excellent belt base for the more experience sewer. The fabric is strong and sturdy, easy to work, and and comes in an amazing array of colors. Hip shawls: A triangular piece of panne (penne) velvet, about 1 meter from corner to corner on the longest edge, with cotton tape to reinforce the edge,and bias binding tape on the lower edges to prevent droop, makes for the perfect hipshawl. You can then add strands of whatever color yarn, embroidery thread, or other 'stringy' substance.

  6. How to make/build a turban (300k animated gif) Some tribal dancers use several scarves to make a turban, to be decorated with many pieces of jewelry, (kuchi, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) and some will fix their hair, ie braids, bun, and then decorate with headpieces, or other beaded or jeweled decorations. Here is an animated gif that will show you, step by step, how to tie on a basic turban. If you want more height, just add more scarves.

  7. Zils: Also known as finger cymbals. They range in size from 1" to 2.5 inches across. Brass or silvertone. There is no set rule what size you must have. Find a pair that is easy for you to work, and have fun. The military beat, and the beledi, and triples are the most commonly used zil patterns to play. Here is a sample of combined zil rhythms. Go to the Zils page for a verbose description of the rhythms.

Just remember, with tribal costumes, it is a uniformity of look, not uniforms.
Individual tastes can be proudly displayed.


Tribal Jewelry

Tribal Necklace Turban Pins
Tribal necklace. Typically laden with
coins and gems or colored glass. It's a dowry piece,
to show the value of the woman
Turban Pins, for pure decoration, or to hold some
of the items below to the turban. Made from glass
beads, pearls, gold or silver beads worn in what combination
you so choose at any particular time.

Tribal Belt or Turban piece Tribal Thumb Ring
This Piece can be mounted on a Tribal
belt, turban or on a Choli.
This ring is more like a Thumb Crown,
the perfect accessory for playing Zils
Tribal Turban Piece Another Tribal Turban piece
This is a turban decoration that pinned,
not sewn, onto the turban for that tribal look.
This turban decoration is much larger, and can
be hung from either the front of the turban,
or directly under the smaller one on the left.

Tribal Jewelry Resources

External Sites will open in new window.

Authentic Tribal Necklaces, Head Ornaments, Finger Rings, Ear Dangles, Belts, Anklets, Coined Bras,
Wedding Hats, and more: *Kuchi* *Banjara* *Waziri* *Turkoman* Five Star rating.
Shimmy Bliss offers innovative quality costumes and accessories to the belly dance community at a great
value. Their speciality is American Tribal Style (ATS) belly dance items. I have purchased several items
from them and have strongly suggested other dancers order directly Shimmybliss. Five star rating.
This Ebay seller has a selection of Afghan/Kuchi/Tribal pieces. The photographs don't do them justice.
I have purchased 3 items from him, and have had nothing but good quality and service, and lower prices
than Tribal to the Max. Might be out of stock, so check back often on his listing,on Ebay. Four Star rating.
Tribal To the Max
Good source of Afghan/Kuchi/Tribal Jewelry. They have a wide range of selections, and many vintage
pieces,as well as reproductions. I have personally gotten items from here. Excellent service, but a bit pricey.
Check them on Ebay for possible bargains. 3 1/2 star rating
. Closed for business.

Here are a few pieces I have personally gotten from Tribal to the Max,
and from WilliamTurk, and

Last but not least, shop around and compare prices.


We also have a selection of pre-loved Tribal Jewelry for sale, including some of the above
listed items. If there is an item you are interested in, just send an email asking if it's available.