Pleating & Ruching: How to decorate dance costumes with fabric in 2 ways

Pleating and Ruching to decorate dance costumes


Have you seen gathered fabrics used to decorate dance costumes or formal dresses?


That might be pleating or ruching. Both of them add colours, textures and such elegance to costumes and dresses, and it can be an easy way to decorate your costumes.


But it can be tricky to create the look, especially when you’re working with curved surfaces like bra cups. Here’s how you can do it. 😉



Click here to check out how to make your own Dina Bra (like ones in the video)!


#1 Pleating


First, pleating. Prepare a piece of fabric that is 1in wider than the area you want to cover and 4 times longer.


Fold the top edge over about 1/2in (1cm) and pin it to the bra cup.


How to make pleats on dance costume


Then, take as much or as little fabric as you’d like your pleating to be and fold over. I’m folding about 1 in (2.5cm) from the top edge and making a 1/2 in (1cm) wide fold. Then pin the new fold in place.


How to make pleats on dance bra


Continue folding, and once you cover the area, trim the fabric and tuck the last edge under.


How to do pleating on dance costume


I made pleats towards the center of the bra smaller and more dense, in order to make the area narrower. Then trim the ends and tuck them towards the wrong side.


Then I like to go in with a threaded needle at the end of the strip, and stitch each of the folds by taking a small amount of fabric from UNDER the folds. This way your stitches won’t show from the front.


How to sew pleats on dance costume


Repeat the stitching at the other end, and about the middle point of the strip. Depending on the length or size of the bra cup, you may need to secure folds at more places in order to keep the clean pleating in place.


Decorate dance costume with pleating


Pleating creates an elegant, formal look. 🙂


#2 Ruching


The second way is ruching. Take a strip of fabric that’s an inch or so wider than the area you’d like to cover, and about twice longer.


Do a basting stitch at both ends with a 1/2in seam allowance and leave 8in or so of thread. Don’t do backstitch.


How to do ruching


Then take one of the threads and gently pull. This gathers the fabric. Gently move the fabric along the thread. You can pull from the other side as well.


How to make ruche


Gather the fabric at both ends until it’s as wide as the area you’d like to cover.


Place it on the bra cup, and pin it in place. Tuck the edges and the ends inside for a clean finish. Here, you can maneuver the folds to your liking, but it’s nice to keep the natural gathering of the fabric, so it doesn’t look forced.


How to add ruching on dance costume


Then take your threaded needle, and stitch the ends and edges in place, and like the first method, try to hide the stitches under the folds of the fabric.


How to sew ruching on dance costume bra


Decorate dance costume with ruching


Ruching creates a softer, more organic look. 😀


That’s it! It’s a great way to layer different textures and colours to your costume, and of course, you can do beading or glue on rhinestones on top of the fabric to make it look even more complex and gorgeous.


Dina Bra from scratch

For both methods, lightweight to medium weight fabric works best. Heavier fabric will make it too bulky.


Hope you enjoyed pleating & ruching decoration, and if you did, please share this post with your dancer friends!


And if you want to learn how to make this style of belly dance bra, often known as Dina Bra, I have a new course called “Dina Bra from Scratch”, where you can learn to make a Dina style bra from scratch! No more searching for Dina Bra bases or fighting with hard shells. Learn more here 🙂


Dina Bra from Scratch Premium Course

Click the image above to check out Dina Bra from Scratch!



Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling!


P.S. Pin this image to your costume decoration board! 😀

Pleating and Ruching for decorating dance costumes

  6 comments for “Pleating & Ruching: How to decorate dance costumes with fabric in 2 ways

  1. April 27, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Thank you for all your wonderful ideas and instructions!

    • Mao
      April 28, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      Oh my pleasure, Polly! Thanks so much 🙂

  2. Paula Santos
    April 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Sou do Brasil, acompanho suas publicações e amo. Beijos. Paula

    • Mao
      May 1, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Paula! Hugs! 🙂

  3. sara keket
    April 30, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    i am going to use this to cover the to low front middle.

    • Mao
      May 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

      Awesome! 😀

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