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How do I start a beaded vest?

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  • How do I start a beaded vest?

    I am interested in beading a vest but I have no idea how to start. I am not sure what I need in order to get started. How do I measure what size I need and all? Please let me know what I need to get started and where I should begin as well as come up with a design.

  • #2
    Can anyone tell me how to start beading an apron?

    I currently have an apron that is beadless. Do I beaded on that or do I used some other material to get started with?

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    • #3
      Your beaded vest and beaded apron question

      Vest -- I think an earlier issue of Whispering Wind had an excellent article on making a beaded vest. I'll see if I can find it. If you are making an older style vest, I suggest looking at some examples in museum online collections. The American Museum of Natural History has a great online source. You can use a contemporary cloth vest that fits you as a basic pattern. Cut the vest apart into three "panels" -- left front, right front and the entire back. Older style vests were usually straight at the bottom, so that that into account since most contemporary vests are now more form fitted. You can use these cloth panels as a guide or pattern for your vest. I suggest experimenting with heavy paper or inexpensive cloth first to make sure your pattern works before cutting buckskin. When you do cut out your vest on buckskin, account for the seams at the shoulders and sides. After you have cut it out and have a plan for your beadwork, dive in and start beading. I've found beading larger areas like this is easier when you take the time to layout and mark the designs, bead them first, then you can work on the fill areas later. It makes it quicker for me.

      Aprons -- I recommend making the investment in good wool, then beading directly on it. Good quality wool takes beadwork very well and holds up for years. Some older pieces in museums look practically new. Spend the time to research your design and lay it out well before starting. You can cut a template out of paper to help you with the design or use tailor's chalk to mark an outline on the wool. The only problem with tailor's chalk is that rubs off rather quickly with repeatedly handling. But if you are beading a floral design, for example, you can easily use tailor's chalk to mark the outline, bead over it, then fill in later.

      Good luck with the project. There's a lot of beading ahead of you.

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      • #4
        How many beads would a person buy to do a project like a vest - and where is the best place to buy beads on line?

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        • #5
          This is what I currently have now and I have put fringe all around it.

          http://www.crazycrow.com/Merchant2/m...Category_Code=

          Would I need to take off the fringe before beading? Would I be able to integrate some canvas onto the wool to making beading easier and so the material is more sturdy?

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          • #6
            Buying beads

            There are a number of sources for beads and nearly all have the same prices. I've done business with Crazy Crow Trading Post for 25+ years because they always have a wide selection of beads and the customer service is unmatched anywhere. They have a good online store at www.crazycrow.com.

            How many beads to buy depends largely on the surface area that will be beaded (either fully or partially) and the size of beads. Here are some general guidelines --

            10/0 beads = 130 per square inch
            11/0 beads = 187 per square inch
            12/0 beads = 230 per square inch
            13/0 beads = 275 per square inch

            That's a lot of beads when you are considering a vest. But depending on the sizes noted above, you get 3-5,000 beads per hank.

            Take a litle time to study your design and determine how many square inches you will need of each color and order accordingly. Always order a little more than you expect you will use just to be safe. Sometimes bead colors vary slightly from one lot to another. It's not that big of a deal if you are recreating old-style work since slight color variations are pretty common on some older pieces. For your background color, order beads in bulk -- half kilo or kilo to save money.

            I hope this helps. Good luck with the project.

            Gary

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            • #7
              Vest & wool

              I just saw your post on your trade cloth. That's good stuff and will hold beadwork very well. I've used the same material often and never worried about backing it with anything.

              Quick question -- what type of outfit are you making for which dance style? Knowing that may help with suggestions.

              Some older vests made from trade cloth were decorated with both beadwork and old brass sequins. These really look nice.

              Personally, before I added the fringe, I would do the beadwork then determine if fringe was necessary. Unless, of course, you plan on adding some of that old gold metallic fringer to the bottom of the vest -- that really looks nice.

              Good luck.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by thestogs View Post
                I just saw your post on your trade cloth. That's good stuff and will hold beadwork very well. I've used the same material often and never worried about backing it with anything.

                Quick question -- what type of outfit are you making for which dance style? Knowing that may help with suggestions.

                Some older vests made from trade cloth were decorated with both beadwork and old brass sequins. These really look nice.

                Personally, before I added the fringe, I would do the beadwork then determine if fringe was necessary. Unless, of course, you plan on adding some of that old gold metallic fringer to the bottom of the vest -- that really looks nice.

                Good luck.
                another reason to bead before adding fringe is that it is a pain when the fringe gets caught in the beading thread & you have to keep pulling it out.
                Suzze

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                • #9
                  Suzze:

                  Excellent point and a very practical one. Thread has a way of finding anything on which to tangle itself while beading. I'm beading a fan right now and know that all too well.

                  Gary

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                  • #10
                    What tribal style are you wanting for your vest?
                    How you tackle the beading will depend somewhat on that.

                    An alternative to beading on buckskin is to bead on canvas. This is nice for vests that are fully beaded both front and back. The canvas is lighter in weight, more breathable and less affected by moisture than buckskin. I made a Lakota style vest all in lazy stitch on canvas and it has held up quite well. For a more finished look, line the canvas with cotton calico as your last step.

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                    • #11
                      What type of thread are you using? 100% cotton quilting thread or stretchy nylon thread? For all leather beading projects I always use the nylon thread with plenty of beeswax and I always need to reapply the beeswax. This is just the way I have been taught by an elder who is also a master beadworker. For beading hair pieces or other cloth items, I tend to use the Americana cotton quilting thread. Also, my beeswax is 100% natural. I find that it works best on my thread to prevent breakage and tangles. tahkox

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                      • #12
                        With regards to the vest and the apron question: Just food for thought....Someday your vest and apron will wear themselves out. If you bead directly onto the material, you will have to start all over again when you make your new vest or apron.......If you bead on good pelon first, you can sew the pelon beading onto your vest or apron. Then, when your vest or apron wear out and you need to make a new one, all you do is unattach the pelon beading from your old piece and re-attach it onto your new clothing item. I make my moccasin designs this way, as well as the beading decor on my wool skirt and leggings. For me, I have found that beading with #11 or #10's directly on the wool does not look half as good as does the beading on stiff pelon. Plus, I made the mistake of beading directly onto my wool leggings and now I am finding myself repairing heavily beaded red wool leggings.....Make sure to buy plenty of beads. Overbuying is better than underbuying and then you will have started a great bead collection. You can never have too many beads. One way to compare prices of beads is to print out Crazy Crow's info and then do a general websearch and just compare. Have fun! Bead shopping is a blast.

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                        • #13
                          I normally use Nymo size D, doubled and waxed when doing lazy stitch.

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                          • #14
                            Czechy, That ribbon work picture is gorgeous. Is it your work? I always have such a hard time with ribbon work, especially making the pattern since I am not good at drawing.

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                            • #15
                              Threads...

                              Nymo is good stuff and my favorite for gourd stitch work. But for lane stitch (or lazy stitch if you prefer), I use as heavy a cotton thread as I can, doubled. The secret to tight beadwork isn't necessarily tight stitches, it's filling the bead with thread. This is especially true with lane stitch work.

                              And yes, the ribbonwork is excellent.

                              Comment

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