How to – chunky beading

On the Minty Fresh costume I tried a technique that covers an area of fabric completely in all kinds of different shaped beads and crystals. It is sometimes referred to as ‘chunky beading’ in discussions on bellydance fora, so that’s what I’m calling it. It is a pretty basic technique in the sense that it is very forgiving if your thread tension is uneven or your stitches are uneven. It did take a lot of time though, compared to the more traditional techniques with sequins and beads. before we get started, what do you need?

  • A bra, skirt, belt or piece of fabric that’s ready for decorating;
  • matching thread (match the main color of the fabric)
  • Assorted beads and crystals.

For my project, I used sew on crystals (the ones in the bottom, in the white plastic), a couple of strings of Swarovski crystal beads (to the right), cheap plastic pearls in different shapes and colors (in the middle on the top) and glass seed beads in two green tones from Gutermann (on the left top)

Assorted beads
Assorted beads

Make sure your workspace is clean and uncluttered (muwahahaha!!! As if my workspace stays clean and uncluttered for long!) and let’s get started!

First, I mark the area that will be beaded. I prefer to mark with pins, but you can use whatever you like.


After making sure you’re satisfied with the marked areas, I decided to add the big crystals first and add beads around the area later. This is because I wanted to spread the crystals evenly around in the design instead of randomly dropping them in between the other beads.

150812-beading-03I edged the areas in the smaller beads, interspersed with the seed beads using a back stitch. It basically is sewing three-four beads in a straight line, coming back up half way going through two of the beads and adding two more. Rinse, repeat. There’s a basic diagram of the back stitch on this page. I filled each area by sewing down three to four beads at a time, filling in the empty gaps between the crystals.It took me quite some time to get it done, about ninety minutes per triangle.


I am  a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. She’s been making bellydance costumes since 2000, from the era of beaded fringe costumes up to the popular sleek lycra costumes with minimal beading. If you enjoyed this post and like to kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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