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A Tutorial on Beadwork on Clothes

By Clare Edwards
Beads can add texture, color and sparkle to all kinds of clothes.

Beads can be applied to clothing to create many different effects. A tutorial can show you how to make decorative motifs and how to embroider clothing with beads.

History

Beaded dresses were worn in ancient Egypt. Medieval Europeans used gemstone beads in their ecclesiastical embroidery. In 16th-century Italy, garments were densely covered with beads. The Victorians used beads to decorate accessories and clothes. Later, beadwork changed from an expensive luxury to a widely accessible craft.

Considerations

Most tutorials for beadwork on clothes emphasize the difference between beading and conventional embroidery. Beaded areas generally distort if they're not supported by an extra piece of fabric, and can be too heavy for fine, delicate fabrics altogether. Bead embroidery can also be very laborious, so beginners should start with smaller projects.

Types

Techniques for beading apparel include making pieces you can then sew on to your clothes, adding beads to your conventional embroidery and laid-work, where you sew strings of beads into designs.

Tutorials can be found in books, through classes and online. You can also try asking the staff at your local bead or craft store about classes in your area.

About the Author

Clare Edwards has been providing Internet content since 1998. She has written and translated for a variety of markets: everything from technical articles to short fiction and essays on alternative spirituality. She holds a certificate of higher education in electronics and audio arts from Middlesex University.