Time Lapse: 40 hrs of work in 3 mins – Pink & Navy Floral Belly Dance Costume

Time lapse - pink & navy belly dance costume


A few months ago, I treated myself to a new phone – Samsung Galaxy S7.


I wasn’t even going to get the latest & greatest (I was using Galaxy S2 at the time), but the store (and my fiance) convinced me into getting this smartphone.


I must say, I’m so happy they did!


The phone comes with a camera that takes great pictures which is awesome for capturing costume making processes and sharing them with you!


And I noticed it has a time lapse feature.


Ooo…..fancy…! 😀


And my fiance Navid suggested I do a time lapse video of me creating a costume from beginning to end.


Ooo…..sounds fun…! 😀


So here’s my first try! See how I changed the designs over and over again 😉



Want to make the same circle skirt? Here’s the tutorial.


Want to learn how to make a belly dance bra and belt that fit perfectly? Check out my workshop.



If you like this time lapse video, let me know and I’ll keep making these videos. 🙂


It’s a great way to keep track of how many hours I’m spending on each project.




Does this number surprise you?


This project took about 40 hours.


I was actually surprised to see the number, but this project felt quicker than usual because it didn’t require intense beading for decoration.


It really makes me appreciate costume makers’ work, because for this to make any business sense,


(hourly wage x 40 hours) + material cost + other costs (shipping, other supplies, tools, advertisement, websites etc) = price of costume


Let’s say the costume was sold for $800.


The material cost for this project was about $160.


And let’s assume the “other costs” is about $50.


(hourly wage x 40 hours) + $160 + $50 = $800


This makes the hourly wage = $14.75.


Is this fair? I don’t know.


This calculation doesn’t even include any profit.


It doesn’t include things like time spent researching for inspiration and coming up with the design either.


Plus the number of production hours can easily increase. Same for the material cost.


Considering the special skills and knowledge required to create dance costumes, I feel the costume maker should be paid more.


The topic of getting a fair payment is always a popular topic of discussion for dancers. I feel costume makers should be paid a fair amount too. After all, there’s no belly dancing without the beautiful costumes that make the dancer a belly dancer 🙂


If you are a costume maker yourself, what do you think about my calculation? Am I off? I probably underestimated “other costs”. Please comment below 🙂



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  8 comments for “Time Lapse: 40 hrs of work in 3 mins – Pink & Navy Floral Belly Dance Costume

  1. Terri Fox
    November 4, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Love your 40 hours of work in 3 minutes video! Keep up the terrific work.

    • Mao
      November 6, 2016 at 11:10 am

      Thanks so much, Terri! 😀

  2. Lydia Dorosh
    November 6, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I took a fashion business course on Coursera. The average fashion designer makes the bulk of their money off lipsticks, colognes, and other small products that their original creation only provides the luxe image to promote them. There are huge machines that cut piles of fabric all at once to get 100 skirt panels, or so. These are expensive pieces of equipment to make enough stuff to market to the general public.
    I don’t know if you could enter the pattern business with less expense, as there are very few patterns available for belly dance costumes.
    As a painter, I had to use recycled materials and pay myself minimum wage to compete with China. I had a job as a production painter, a rare treasure. I rose above minimum wage as I built speed, and my shading on the tourist pieces was better than most. After 3 months, I had wavy astigmatism in my right eye, as did everyone else in the room, from holding a paintbrush in my right hand, and glancing at paint and product. Human beings can’t do art all day. We are stuck doing something else, as well. Through yoga and dance, my first love, my eyes healed. It is quite a challenge to feel great about yourself all the time, expressing your real self, and fighting the limitations of being able to express your beauty.
    I did work for a master potter who just admitted he had to do business stuff because he needed cortisone in his knee just working the wheel part time.

    • Mao
      November 6, 2016 at 11:16 am

      Hi Lydia! This is very interesting! I’m going to look up the course you mentioned. That’s how Chanel became famous for – her No.5 perfume!
      Thanks for the insight to life of a painter too. It’s very eye-opening!

  3. April 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    That’s a REALLY interesting question. I work with a lot of fine artists (painters/sculptors), and it sounds like the bottom line is that your work is valuable (in the monetary sense) if and only if it’s selling. One instructor shared that she’s sold paintings for $30 (which is a joke if you know about oils, and she is *good*).

    Botique artists making one-of-a-kind costumes find their prices compared to mass-produced costumes made where labor is cheap. $14.75/hr is insulting pay in big American cities, but it’s probably really good in developing economies. Design is a big part of the time and emotional labor; I could re-create many of my costumes in a fraction of the time that the original took, even without mass-production resources. Some designers, whose style runs towards elegant/simple/”less-is-more”, manage to keep the required labor manageable. Well-known designers who have no trouble charging thousands for original, one-of-a-kind pieces, are in yet another category (much like well-known fine artists in other media).

    You’ll probably get the most *value* out of a homemade costume if you wear it proudly yourself or make it for a beloved friend.

    • Mao
      April 30, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks for sharing these insights, Carrie! That’s so true about selling art work. The design component wasn’t even included in my calculation.
      The value of art work can be quite subjective. I wonder if there’s a sustainable way to run a costume design business in North America.

  4. Marian Clark
    April 13, 2018 at 11:01 am

    I charge $25 hours and thats a good guestimate for what I put into my time, materials and design. I still don’t make much so I factor in the “labor of love” aspect and it always makes me feel good when I see a dancer in my costume. However, I would never expect to make a living to support myself on my costume expertise, no matter how much time and effort I put into them.

    • Mao
      April 21, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Thank you for your candid response, Marian! Very interesting. If you’ve got a website, feel free to share here 🙂

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