Tip: Make a slimming decorative panel

I am looking for information about the harem pants that have “vertical scarves” attached. I found one pair at a recent event, but they were $70.00. By the time I went back (to measure them) another dancer had bought them. Commonly the scarfs are made of a chiffon type fabric. I MUST have these pants. You know how it is when you’ve sewn all your life (just look at those seams, I could make that cheaper and better than this!) I have looked for a pattern but can’t find one. If there is a pattern I’d love to buy it.


Panels are easy to make. They’re worn over harem pants to dress them up, cover the division between the 2 legs, and add a flattering vertical accent. They can also be worn over a plain circle skirt or sheath skirt to vary the look of it.




They can be worn at center front and back, or in multiples, spaced or overlapped, to create a skirt-like effect.

A panel is a good way to use a beautiful skirt or piece of fabric that’s too small to go around your body. Divide it into several panels to go over a plain skirt (right, on Elizabeth).

Panels can be attached to an elastic hipband to mix/match with several pants/skirts. The elastic band is covered with a hipscarf or belt. Or, the panels can be sewn directly onto the hipband of a pants or skirt (that way they cannot shift or twist around, and are less bulky).

My panels are either rectangular or triangular, which create different looks.


panels2The fabric for rectangular panels can be soft and sheer, like metallic-threaded chiffon; soft and opaque, like liquid lamé ; or firm and crisp, like brocade.

Shortcut: Use a long narrow scarf made of a suitable fabric – a metallic or a chiffon with metallic threads (left). This saves time on hemming, since the edges are finished already. A lighteight scarf can be folded to make a double layer half the length, so it doesn’t have to be cut.

If the fabric has no pattern or border, the panel can be decorated with a border or stripes of made of trim, or glittered with sequins, paillettes, or mirrors. Add lightweight fringe, coins, or tassels on the end, if desired. Hem the panels so the fringes clear the floor. If the panels are long enough to touch the floor, it would be too easy to step on them.

The length of a panel is your hipline to just above the floor – a yard more or less, depending upon height and shoes. The width is about 8-18 inches, depending upon personal preference. Experiment with cheap scraps until you get the look you want. I prefer the panels on the narrow side, because it’s a slimming vertical line.

Narrow-hem the edges (if they’re not already finished, as on a scarf), then fold one or two pleats into the upper end, so it flares out a bit toward the lower end. If the fabric is soft rather than crisp, it can be gathered instead of pleated.

TRIANGULAR PANELS4trianglesTriangular panels are flared and create a flowing skirt-like movement. For these, the fabric must be light, soft and drapy, like silk or chiffon. Stiff fabrics like tissue lamé or crisp metallics will not work. The fabric should look the same on both sides.

Ctriangleut the triangles as illustrated above to make economical use of the fabric.The exact dimensions of the triangles depend on your height and how long you want the points. Experiment with cheap fabric before cutting into the costume fabric. My triangle is about a yard in width.

Narrow-hem the edges, and sew the center one-third or so (between the dots) onto the hipband, allowing the side points to drape down (left).

A second smaller triangle can be layered over the first, so there are triangle_draped_dblsix points hanging on each panel and a fuller look.

Complete instructions for all these are in Book #2, Easy Costume for Bellydancers. ~ Dina Lydia