TIP: Attaching Sleeve to Costume Bra

d_red3_roseThank you for all the inspiration and beautiful costumes you have shown me. I have three of your books, and am using them for ideas.
My question is about sleeves. I notice in your books that you have some bra costumes that you wear with alternative sleeve styles. Do you permanently affix the sleeves, then undo and replace, or do you use a temporary method – tacking, hooks or velcro? ~ Penny (UK)

ANSWER: Hooks and velcro don’t work well. I feel they look very bulky. I wouldn’t rely on temporary adhesives either. They will peel off during performance.

I hand-sew sleeves onto the shoulder strap of the bra with stitches that are not visible from the outside. I ease the sleeve cap (gather very SLIGHTLY) so it fits smoothly over the roundness of the shoulder at the top. If I want to change the style of arm costume, I pick the sleeves off easily, because it isn’t machine stitching.


Only the upper half of the sleevdinaturq_clsp_72e needs to be attached. The lower half is best finished neatly with a narrow edging, narrow hem, or small overlock, and left unattached for freedom of movement (left).

Step 1 – Mark the top of the shoulder on the bra strap while wearing it, using a safety pin or chalk.

Step 2 – After taking off the bra (of course), position the sleeve cap edge underneath the strap and pin, matching the center of the sleeve cap with the top of the shoulder strap. Remove safety pin at center mark and hand-stitch. Try on, make sure it’s comfortable and looks straight.

Step 2 Alternative – IF the sleeve is designed to be off-the-shoulder and has no cap (above right), I tack each point of the squared-off cap (front and back) with a few stitches.

Fd_btwng9or a wide “batwing” sleeve (left) I sew on the upper half of the sleeve, leaving the long lower half loose, to hang freely.

If the bra is a halter and has no shoulder straps (right), I attach off-the-shoulder sleeves to the neck strap using a matching narrow ribbon or cord.

I also attach gauntlets with a cord the same way, to a shoulder strap or neck strap. That way – no more droopy gauntlets!

Details about these various sleeve patterns are in my book #4,  Arm Costume for Bellydancers ~ Dina Lydia