Beading technique: Looped fringe with sequins

Summer is great for all the projects that are lying around and need to be done. Often these projects don’t need much time or effort but somehow they just don’t happen. I decided to tackle my pile of unfinished projects one by one and my first project was a red beledi dress that I bought five years ago. It’s a troupe costume and each troupe member converted the sleeves to a different style.


2013 DD beledi groningen
The Dalla Dream Dancers backstage in our beledi dresses


I wore it as is, without finishing the edges of the sleeves or beading the sleeves. As a result, I always felt a bit uneasy when wearing the dress. Pulling it out of the pile I gathered my materials and got to work. It took me about three hours to finish the edges and now I can put it back in the closet, knowing that it will be ready for the next performance.

While working on the edge, I took some pictures so I could share this technique with you. It is a looped fringe with a big sequin in the middle, that adds sparkle to the edge, weight to the sleeve so it drapes better and a bit of extra movement.


Seed beads

Cupped sequins (I recommend higher quality laser holographic sequins because they last a long time.)

Paillettes (I used holographic pailettes app 20 mm in diameter)

Thread (For durability, use extra strong thread)

Needle (as small as possible, to get through the seed beads)


Start by threading your needle and anchoring the thread to the fabric. Or, in different words: thread your needle and tie a knot in the thread. Choose your starting point and get your needle through the fabric from the back to the front, then to the back of the fabric again. Secure the end. Stick your needleback to the front and let’s get started on the beading!img_7293Add to your thread: one cupped sequin (make sure the cup sits with the bottom towards the fabric), fifteen seed beads, one pailette and then fifteen seed beads again. It looks like this:

img_7295Pick a point app 1″/2,5cm to the right of your starting point, and stick the needle through from the bottom of the fabric to the top. Tug lightly on the thread to tighten the beads and sequins.

img_7296I like to knot my beading as often as possible, so I make a knot at this point to secure the loop into place. If the beading breaks, I will only loose one loop of fringe, not a whole row.

Rinse, repeat.

Once the whole edge is finished, the effect is a shiny, beaded edge with a lovely dangling paillette in the center of each fringe. This technique is very forgiving so it looks rather uniform even when the distance between the starting point and the end point is more or less than 1″/2,5 cm.

I am a professional bellydancer, costume-a-holic and dance studio owner living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue doing so for quite some time! I am a teacher at the online Belly Dance Business Academy, where you can find courses and workshops to help you grow your belly dance business. If you like to be 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.


Overlapping row of sequins

This is a basic beading technique I use often and I’ve seen it referred to with different names. Basically it is sewing sequins down in a row with the sequins partly overlapping, like roof tiles. The non stretch sequin trim looks quite similar to this technique and is much faster. I wouldn’t recommend edging the edge of a veil or skirt by hand as it would take up a lot of time. Machine stitching pre made sequin trim would be much faster and easier!

This technique is perfect for parts on a costume that need a bit extra, or where I want to hide something. Beaded fringe can be bought premade and it is attached to a cord on the top. The cord needs to be hidden after sewing it on, and an overlapping row of sequins is perfect for the job.

Getting started

I wanted to add some more fringe to the black multicolor bra and I had some old pieces of black fringe lying around. I hand stitched it on top of the cups. As you can see, without covering up the cord on top of the fringe is kind of ugly. I didn’t have enough to create a full row so I left a small gap in between the pieces. Due to the fringe swinging it is almost not noticeable.


The technique

Start by anchoring your thread to the fabric in whatever way you prefer. I like to work with a double thread and anchor by pulling the needle through the two threads in the back. I then take one sequin and sew it down by sewing through the fabric to the back.


Let the needle re emerge on the outside of the costume, right next to the first sequin. Add the next sequin and repeat.


Continue adding sequins until you reach the end of the rope, then add a couple more just to make sure the rope is well hidden. When finished, it looks like this:


One more thing to cross of my costuming  to-do list! If you want to read more about this technique, I recommend Naima’s blog on fish scale beading. It shows some interesting ways of using this technique to create different textures in a costume.

I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! If you enjoyed this post and like to be 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.


Black multi color costume part 2: the bra base

I did mention that I have little time on my hands, right? The last couple of weeks I made it a habit to bring a costuming item to the couch when I watch  tv and this really helps me to get stuff done.After the last post I promised to post pictures of the bra base seperately because I assembled it by using my sewing machine.

When I started costuming, I read all the available tutorials and decided early on that I would use my sewing machine. My arguments are that all the straps can be made, covered and added with a sewing machine. Why would I spent hours on sewing them by hand if it only takes 45 minutes with a sewing machine? Machine stitching is just as secure as hand stitching, I have never had a bra strap give out on me. The thrid reason might be because hand stitching delivers a neater result. However, I usually cover my bra completely with beading and sequins. If you have never tried using a sewing machine to assemble a bra base, I urge you to give it a try. After all, normal bra’s are also made with a sewing machine. Just be careful with the underwire and the many layers of fabric, causing your needle to break.

The reason why I wanted to blog about the bra seperately is because I also covered the straps in sequined netting before attaching them to the bra thus saving even more time! You’d think with all this time saving I’d have more time to spend lounging around watching bellydance clips on youtube but that didn’t happen yet.

I started by cutting of the side straps and shoulder straps of a regular black push-up bra.

Bra witout the straps
Bra witout the straps

I put the bra cups on a bit of white cotton and drew the shape of the side straps. My side straps are straight at the bottom and slightly curved on top and I draw them on sight. It has always worked for me. I made the straps significantly longer (roughly 3″/7.5 cm each) to create a bigger overlap in the back. I like to add hook and eye closure and velcro to my ribcage straps, I need the overlap to add both types of closures.

I decided to cover the whole thing with sequined netting instead of beading by hand. For the straps, I needed to cover it in sequined netting before attaching the straps to the bra. I cut out two layers of whte cotton for both sides, then covered both straps in black lycra just like the belt. Usually when I cover a set in fabric, I fold it over the edges and hand stitch into place on the inside of the costume. With sequined fabric, this is not a good idea. Sequins in close and constant contact with your skin itches more than an ant colony with a grudge.

Side straps for the bra base
Side straps for the bra base

My grand master plan was stitch the sequined fabric to the top of the straps, cutting it off a couple of mm from the edge. The resulting slightly frayed edge would be held in place by a zig zag stitch, ensuring the sequins would stay on the fabric and hidden by beading along the edges with gold seed beads. The side straps were thus covered with this method, and attached to the bra by machine. Pin them into place, then slowely double stitch along the egdes of the wire in the bra. I broke two needles in the proces, other then that it was smooth sailing.

Cut off surplus fabric of the side straps
Cut off surplus fabric of the side straps
Bra cups with new side straps
Bra cups with new side straps

The shoulder straps were wraught in a similar way and attached to the inside of the bra cups. I kept the rest of the bra cup in it’s original shape. The devious thing about my plan is that I didn’t cover the bra cups in lycra because they are made of black fabric. I covered the connector with a scrap of sequinend fabric and stitched it down by hand. Then I took a rectangular piece of sequined fabric and covered the bra cup.

Cut out lycra to cover shoulder straps
Cut out lycra to cover shoulder straps

I like to cover my bra cups by starting on the straight edge of the bra and folding the fabric so it neatly covers the joint with the cup connector. From that point, I pin the fabric to the bra moving outwards. First I pin the straight top (in this case I used the sequined fabric to cover up the original bra shape) and down to the top of the side strap. Returning to the starting point, I pin the fabric along the lower edge of the bra, making sure to keep the sequined fabric on the outside. I end up with a sort of flap of fabric.

Covering bra cups with fabric: pin down the sides
Covering bra cups with fabric: pin down the sides

In this case, I cut off the flap, folded the edges to the inside, pinned and hand stitched into place. This creates a neat seam from the side strap to the apex of the cup. If you are going to over the bra with beading, don’t worry about creating even seams. If you plan on not using much decorating, pay extra attention to make this seam as neat and even as possible.

Cut off the remaining flap
Cut off the remaining flap
Fold raw edges to the inside and hand stitch into place
Fold raw edges to the inside and hand stitch into place

Still lazy, I sewed the fabric to the edges of the bra cup with my machine.

Sewing fabric to a bra cup with my sewing machine
Sewing fabric to a bra cup with my sewing machine

Ta-daa, the complete bra base covered in sequined fabric! The total time to create this bra from scratch was two hours. Here is a gratatious shot of the bra, belt and armbands all covered in sequined fabric.

Complete set of bra, belt and armbands
Complete set of bra, belt and armbands

In the next post, I’ll tell you all about decorating the bra.

Project: Black multi-color costume

This costume was gifted to me by a dancer close to my heart. She made this costume roughly twenty years ago and wore it during many performances. She started dancing in the time that there were a lot of performance opportunities for bellydancers in The Netherlands and wore this costume a lot. She gave this costume to me, saying:’You might have to put another bra in to make it fit and it is really worn down.’.

This is all true.

In this post, I’ll show you the original costume inside and out and in the next posts I’ll discuss the techniques that I used to get it ready for another twenty years of bellydance. Let’s start with the bra. The bra is build on a regular light blue underwire bra, reinforced with buckram and with different reinforced shoulder straps. the side straps are from the original bra, covered in black glitterdot.

The color scheme is stunning, with bright acrylic jewels lined with white pearls. Backed by black sequins and beads, and with 8″/20 cm black fringe, this costume looks good from a distance and up close. Well, it would look good up close if the pearls were replaced by new ones. I also have another problem: I am a 70C and I estimate the bra to be a 85E. There is not enough stuffing to make this fit me so I have to rework the bra.

Outside of vintage multicolor bra
Outside of vintage multicolor bra
Inside of vintage multicolor bra
Inside of vintage multicolor bra

The belt is a two piece belt in a V-shape, with fringe placed on the diagonal. The upper edge is accented with gold tone seed beads and is slightly wavy. I think I’ll exagerrate this by adding more of a sculpted edge to the new belt. The belt is made of several layers of fabric sewn together and covered in black glitterdot fabric. The spaces that are not hidden from view by the fringe have black cupped sequins with seed beads sewn in place.

Inside of vintage multicolor belt
Inside of vintage multicolor belt

The plan

The fringe is really good quality and is in good shape, considering it’s age. I might have to do some reknotting and rebeading here and there. I will reuse most of the acrylic jewels and seed beads, but I have to replace all the pearls. I am also thinking of covering the whole costume with black sequins instead of glitterdot material. Some ambitious plans, and I also have a couple of dance projects lined up so it will probably take a c ouple of weeks. In the mean time, if you have questions, drop me a line on facebook and I’ll see if I can give you a useful answer. To finish this post, here are some close-ups of the beading to show you that it is really neccesary to redo the beading with different beads.

Original damaged beading on vintage bra
Original damaged beading on vintage bra

Pink Turkish costume part 1: the materials

For a duo performance on April the third, we’ve been practicing and choreographing a song from Asena’s 2005 cd. We didn’t decide on costuming yet, but I assumed we’d wear old school Turkish bra and belt sets. I still have my first pro costume, an ancient Bella bra/belt that I bought second hand from my teacher. However, something unexpected happen: I had a Bella costume that didn’t fit me, and my fellow dancer fell in love with the costume and bought it from me.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Bella costumes: she creates beautiful costumes, using high quality crystals and holographic sequins. Her bead work is amazing, made into almost lattice like curls and shapes. In short, my fellow dancer had a kick-ass modern style Bella costume and asked me if she could wear it for the show. We agreed that she could, but I sort of forgot that I haven’t got anything similar in style or bling to match.

That’s when I decided I should make a modern Turkish style costume that would look good on stage next to a Bella. To make matters more complicated, I’m on a rather tight budget (that’s why buying a costume was not an option). I do have a lot of time on my hands and that is a real advantage in this case! I plan to finish this costume in four weeks, and will update often on the progress and problems I run in. Today part 1: the materials.
I mentioned the tight budget, right? So I dived into my fabric stash first, searching for a suitable base fabric, stones, rhinestones, sequins and other stuff. I came up with a lot of Swarovski crystals that I bought four years ago when I was working on a red fringe costume. Other then that, nothing.

I spent two days browsing the internet looking for the right materials and decided on using holographic foil print lycra as my base fabric. Bought it from and it arrived within 24 hours. I also bought 10 m of AB rhinestone chain from Kralen Studio for the much needed glitter. this is what the fabric and rhinestone chain looks like:

I did some more browsing and found holographic cupped sequins on I wanted flat but settled for cupped as I’m pressed for time and I figured it would work too. I bought three colors, as multiple colors help to bring extra depth and interest to the bead work. Here they are:

And lastly I needed iridescent beads for the fringe and 3d bead work. I ended up at Empire Beads from the UK and bought two types of 4mm bugle beads, purple and pink:

The beads and sequins haven’t arrived yet, but I’m working as fast as I can to have the belt/bra base ready for when they do arrive somewhere next week. You might have noticed how I used EU suppliers. I choose EU stores because I needed the materials fast and I didn’t want the dreaded import taxes to ruin my parade.

That’s it for now, more on the belt pattern tomorrow!

Red fringe costume part 1- Bra

I had some extra time to work on the red costume last week because I had to work this weekend. SOmehow I get more done on weekdays then in the weekend. Questions about fit and design are included Anyway,

My initial idea was to place rhinestones along the edge, then a second row of crystals underneath, then fringe. It would look something like this:

However, after beading one cup and pinning all the elements on, I decided I didn’t like the second row of crystals because it would lower the fringe and create the illusion of droopy boobs, as oposed to perky boobs, which was the original plan. I removed the row of crystals from the design and placed the fringe right underneath the rhinestones.

Question 1: would you have included the square crystals?

So here are some pictures of the nearly finished bra. Left without paddding, right with padding. BTW, the fringe on the sides will be shorter. You can see that I already started on shortening it on the side by removing beads and reknotting the thread.

Question 2: What do you like best: with or without padding?

After refitting the bra I decided that I would probably raise the edge of the bra cups by adding extra fbric. The centerpiece of the bra will be made of a sqaure ebaded medallion with a crystal in the middle. See picture below.

Question 3: do you think changing the bra like this would improve the design?

I think I’ll continue with the back of the belt next. Sofar I realise that this set lacks a distinctive ‘personal design’ trademark. I might as well buy one of those cheap egyptian sets and jazz it up with rhinestones and it would be the same look. However, I hate the Egyptian bra cups, I want more rhinestones and every dancer needs a red costume anyway (or two red costumes). While working on this costume I start to realise why I want a fringy red cabaret set. I’ll save the detaied story for when it’s finished. I’m thinking of a way to include the square rhinestones in the bra design by adding more beaded medallions on the bra.