Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Decorating a Costume
With Bead-and-Sequin "Embroidery"

by Shira


This bead-and-sequin "embroidery" technique is used in embellishing some costumes made in Egypt and Turkey. Here are instructions for creating this quick-and-easy trim. It is so easy to do that even someone who is new to sewing can quickly master it!

The photo to the right shows a skirt purchased in Egypt in 1999 which uses this technique to create the blue-and-silver flower design. (The edging was created using a different method.)

Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California in 2000. Click on the photo to see the skirt in more detail.

Shira Wearing Skirt Embroidered Using This Technique

This technique was used to outline the bottom edge of both of these skirts. One of the skirts is light green, and the other is dark green. Both were embellished using this edging. The two skirts were purchased in Turkey in 2000, and the pants were made by Shira to wear with it.

Photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California in 2001. Click on the photo to see the skirts in more detail.

Shira Wearing a Skirt With Bottom Edge Trimmed Via This Technique



Supplies Required

  • Rocaille Beads or Seed Beeds. Size 8 or 10 (this is the size sold in the plastic packages labelled as rocaille or seed beads). Look for these in craft stores such as Michael's, or the craft departments of fabric stores. They're also sold in stores that specialize in supplies for making beaded jewery.
  • Sequins. The costumes from Egypt and Turkey used to develop these instructions were made using the faceted cup-shaped sequins, 8 mm in diameter. It would also be possible to use the flat style or a different size, but using the cup-style and 8 mm size are recommended for a first project. Look for these in craft stores such as Michael's, or the craft departments of fabric stores.
  • Thin Needle. It needs to fit through those tiny beads!
  • Thread. Any thread will do, but for strength the nylon beading thread called filo is recommended. It can be found in craft stores and beading supply shops.
  • Beeswax.This is optional. Its purpose is to prevent the thread from tangling and knotting. People who don't sew very much may find it helpful to use this because it makes the thread easier to manage. It is sold in the "Notions" department of fabric stores.
  • Either Pins or Tailor's Chalk. If embroidering a design (as opposed to outlining a garment edge), use one of these tools for sketching the designs to be followed.



Making the Design

If using this method to decorate the edge of a garment, first make and hem the garment. If using this method to "embroider" designs, use either pins or a piece of tailor's chalk to outline the design.

Cut a length of thread no longer than about 24 inches. Thread the needle. If choosing to use beeswax to prevent tangles, run the thread across the edge of the cake to lightly coat it. Knot the end of the thread.

Click on the drawing to the right to see it in more detail.

Starting at one edge of the garment, poke the needle into the wrong side of the fabric and draw it through to the right side. Thread the underside of the sequin onto the needle, followed by 4 rocaille beads, followed by the top side of a second sequin.

Doing Sequin "Embroidery"

Poke the needle through to the wrong side of the fabric about 1/2 inch (or 15 mm) away from where it emerged.

Bring the needle back to the right side about 1/4 inch (or 5 mm) away from where it passed through before.

Again, thread a sequin, 4 beads, and another sequin, and send it back to the wrong side.

Continue in this manner until the edge has been covered or the design has been traced.

Close-Up of Flower on Blue Skirt
Close-Up of Edge of Turkish Skirt
Sequin Embroidery on Blue Skirt Close-Up
Green Skirt Edged Using This Technique
The flowers on the blue skirt shown above were embroidered using this technique. Click on the image to see more detail. The outline of the flower was made with cobalt blue beads and sequins. The inner circle and spokes were made with silver beads and sequins. This shows a close-up of the edge of the dark green Turkish skirt in the photo above. The same technique was also used on the light green skirt worn with it in that photo. Both the beads and the sequins are silver on both skirts.




Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Advice >
Index to Costuming Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Advice > Index to Costuming Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |