Dear Daisy,

I bead many of my own oriental and caberet costumes and I have notice that it is often easy to tell when a costume is made by a dancer rather than being bought from say Egypt or Turkey.  Can you give me some pointers on how to make my costumes look more professional and less homemade?

–          Crafty

 

Dear Crafty,

First off, congratulations on beading  your own costumes, it is not as simply as it looks and requires time, patience and lots of practice to get things looking just so.

A few quick tips that will help you keep your costumes looking professional:

 

1: Never use sequins larger than size 6mm.

You will almost never see larger sequins on imported costumes and this is often a dead giveaway that something was homemade.

 

2: Use different kinds and shapes of bead for different effects.

Often you will see as many as 6 or 7 different sizes and styles of beads on a professional costume regardless of the colours used.  The most commonly used of course are the #10 seed beads, but you can use larger and smaller seed, pearl, drop and bugle beads for extra effect and texture.

(And yes #10’s are really small but they are worth the time if you want that truly professional finish.)

 

3: Stick to Middle Eastern patterns.

Go on line or take a look at other people’s costumes that you like and take note of the patterns used.  Not just (5 beads then a sequin) type of patterns but also the finished picture.  Paisleys, swirls, and leaves are common examples of patterns used on professional costumes.  Try to use patterns you see often to get that true middle eastern feel.

 

4: Map out your plan ahead.

Either use buckram to make appliques or draw your pattern right onto the costume before you start.  If you lift the beads on many professional costumes you can see the drawn on pattern they have followed to bead many of the most intricate designs.

 

With a little practice, some inspiration from your favourite professional costumes and these basic tips I’m sure you will be able to create beautiful professional looking costumes that don’t stand out as “homemade”.

–          Daisy

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