Costuming Tips & Tricks
How to Make a Fishnet Belly Dance Bodystocking
The best belly dance bodystocking is this DIY version.
I’ve tried a variety of body stockings for bellydance, but by FAR my favorite is this do-it-yourself model made from a pair of fishnet dance tights.
Why do I love this one so much?
Because high-lycra-content fishnet makes your midsection look like Tina Turner’s legs!
As you can see from the picture, it barely shows up from a distance because it fits close, doesn’t wrinkle, and lets a lot more of my own skin show through than mesh does. Up close, fishnet has that sex appeal that makes it seem more like you’re enhancing and less like you’re trying to hide something. Also:
- Open weave is cooler
- Doesn’t make you look like a Cabbage Patch doll like some bellydance body stockings
- Belly button looks natural
- Super elasticity means it offers some real girdle-like control for your belly and midsection (I haven’t found any premade stockings that offer this level of girdle-like control)
- Very durable and tough
- Surprisingly easy to make
The only cons are that the high-quality fishnets are only available in a very limited color selection, and the girdle-like action means your shimmies won’t be as jigglicious.
Making the Bodystocking
You will need:
- A pair of Capezio Women’s Professional Fishnet Seamless Tights in your size or, if you’re tall, a size larger than you need. The Capezio tights have a 20% lycra content that makes the best bodystockings — by far the best shaping & holding-in effect possible. And they are seamless. NOTE: Danskin Professional Fishnets USED to have a 32% lycra content, but they are now made with only 12% and no longer make the best body stockings. They were the best.
- NOTE: I found these Leg Avenue Professional fishnets that are 29% lycra, but they don’t promise to be seamless, so they probably have an ugly seam running up the center front and back. An experiences seamstress may be able to turn these sideways so the seams are on the sides and re-create a crotch, or attach them to a dance trunk. I don’t recommend this as a beginner project, though, and there would be no way to remove the seams completely.
- Adjustable bra straps, or two 18″ pieces of firm soft elastic, grosgrain ribbon, etc to make straps (optional)
- Needle and thread (or dental floss)
Step One: Cut off the legs
Cut each leg straight across, at least two inches below the crotch. The cut edge is going to roll up when you put them on and create something like an elastic band that will grip below your buttocks and keep them from riding up or giving you a screaming wedgie while you dance. Remember, you can always cut off MORE if you decide you’ve left too much leg, so leave quite a bit.
Step Two: Start attaching the straps
Some bellydancers sew hooks around their bra and hook them directly into the fishnet to hold the bodystocking up without straps. I’ve done this, but with the firm pull of all the lycra action in this stocking, it can create a downward pull on your bra that impacts fit.
I prefer the security of straps on my body stocking. I wear my costume bra OVER my stocking and then I use a U-top (from L Rose Designs), underbust vest, or a top tied under the bust to hide my straps. Wearing a colored vest or top hides my straps AND my backfat (!), carries up the color from my skirt, and gives a less bare-skinned look to my costuming overall that I really like for most venues.
I’m 5’9″ tall and find that 14″ long straps work well for me. You can buy adjustable bra straps, or start out with 18″ length elastic or ribbon and cut them to fit before the final step. In the example photo, I’m recycling straps from an old bra.
Sew both straps close to the center back of the stocking, no more than two or three inches apart on the unstretched elastic. Angle the straps slightly outward. It’s important to have them very close together. When you stretch the body stocking to put it on, they’ll be moving further apart. And you want them to hold the CENTER back of the stocking up high, so it doesn’t slip below your underbust top. You could also cross the straps in the back, but they’d need to be cut a little longer and angled inward slightly rather than outward.
Step Three: Secure the straps
The front of the straps should be placed very WIDE. Remember, they’re not attached to the front of the stocking, but to the SIDES of the stocking, slightly forward of the center of each side. You want the stocking to ride just below your bust and then rise up right where an underwire would ride, at the outside of your bust. Try the stocking on, determine the correct length for each strap, and pin the straps where you need them to fit. Take off the stocking, check that everything is symmetrical, and stitch the straps in place. They should be *just* forward of center on each side of the stocking.
Wearing the stocking
This model is wearing the stocking over a black bra to show you how it should fit. Normally it would be worn under your costume bra.
Notice how the straps sit close together in back (but not nearly as close as they looked on the unstretched bodystocking). See how they help to hold the back elastic up high, where it will be hidden by a vest or crop top? And the straps pull the sides of the stocking high as well, which will keep the elastic close, under the costume bra.
Your stocking is finished! If you want, you could sew a few scattered sequins over it. I often spray mine with glitter hairspray right before I go onstage. It doesn’t last long, but it’s superquick and cheap.
You could make gauntlets out of the leftover legs, and sew a few sequins on them as well if you’re feeling very crafty.
Under the costume, it looks like this!
If you make a stocking, e-mail me and tell me how your project went! I’d love to see pictures of you wearing it.
Copyright 2015 by Lauren Zehara Haas for BellydanceU. If you want to share this article, please do so by providing a link to this page. You’re more than welcome to print yourself a copy, but copying and distributing this article is prohibited.