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  • beaded cuffs

    Hi I have seen many of the fancy dancers outfits with the beaded cuffs. Some of the women of my tribe wear beaded cuffs with thier dresses made with velvet. Now I know they use the lazy stitch for the fancy dance outfits, but what I want to know is, how do they get them to look so stiff? Are they beaded on board (poster board, card paper..) or are they on leather and then onto board or do they just end up that way?

    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
    Here's what I know about beaded cuffs. As a traditional (old style) dancer, my cuffs are beaded on buckskin, as are most in the older style using lazy stitch. Modern dance forms -- fancy dancers, contemporary grass dancers and modern traditional -- follow the same construction techniques, however, modifications are common. I've seen cuffs beaded on canvas then backed with buckskin, loom beaded cuffs sewn on leather, etc. The beadwork itself provides considerable "body" to the pieces which you may interpret as stiffness. Applique/spot/running stitch are other common beadwork techniques, depending on tribal styles. If you wanted to add some more "body" to your cuffs, bead them lazy stitch style on buckskin, then back them with another layer of buckskin. While this technique is not really necessary, I have seen it done and when done properly, it can be very attractive. Hope this helps.


    • #3
      When I made my son's cuffs (he dances Northern Traditional), I did lazy stitch on tradecloth wool and backed it with the same. They still bunched up a bit when dancing, even though the beadwork gave it some body.
      Another northern traditional dancer gave us the suggestion of putting a peice of plastic needlepoint plastic inbetween the two pieces of tradecloth. It made them lay on my son's arm real nice and didn't bunch up.
      We bought some plastic canvas at Walmart, cut them a little bit smaller than the cuff, opended up one end of the cuff and slipped the plastic canvas inbetween the wool with the beadwork and the bottom layer of wool, and sewed the edge close.
      They stay real smooth, and nice looking when he is bunching up or sagging.
      Others may have a better idea, this is what worked for us....


      • #4
        Wow...thanks guys...Nancijo..that is a really good idea too..not that I am making any, but as an artist I sometimes try to make things just to have done it maybe someday. I just have always been curious about that. Once again..Nya-weh to the both of you!
        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


        • #5
          I haven't made any cuffs myself, but if the plastic canvas works, then it seems like milk jug plastic would work. Or how about the cardboard from cereal or cracker boxes or the like? That would use up something we otherwise throw away, plus it doesn't cost anything extra.


          • #6
            I have made several pairs of fully beaded lazy stitched cuffs. I always bead on canvas. I think its alot easier than wool or leather. As for making them stiff, I use at least two layers of thick canvas. I then glue calico fabric on the back with fabric glue. This is usually stiff enough, but if its not, you can glue interfacing (I think that's how its spelled) between the canvas and the calico. You can get interfacing at any fabric store.
            If you are what you eat.... I'm fast, cheap and easy.


            • #7
              I've made cuffs, and I usually bead them on canvas then glue that to a leather backing, sometimes with a heavy canvas or denim sandwiched in-between the two layers if it's not stiff enough. I don't think you'd want to get them TOO stiff, because it would be uncomfortable. They'd rub on your wrists whenever you move your arm. I've used milk jug plastic a lot with barrettes, in-between the beaded canvas and the leather backing. It works real good and it makes it REALLY stiff. I don't think I'd use that plastic for cuffs because of that. And I don't use cardboard for anything because if the item bends a little the cardboard will crease, and then it will be bent pretty much permanently.


              • #8
                Hey all,

                Just another 2 cents. I do most of my beadwork onto a double thickness of canvass. I use "wonder under" or "heat and bond" between the layers of canvass. Its an iron on paper that you apply and then iron the two pieces of canvas together. After the bead work is done, I iron another layer of heat and bond onto the back of the beadwork on the stitches, then I back it with whatever fabric I have lying around. I have several old shirts and pants that don't fit or are worn out that I use for that stuff. The two layers of canvas plus the fabric on the back all with a layer of iron on stuff between make the piece plenty thick and I've never had a problem with bunching up. Then I sew some bias tape around the edge to seal them and then edge bead the bias tape. I have leather fringe on most of my beadwork. The fringe I just cut from the skin and hand sewed onto the edge of the beadwork. Saves a lot of skin and money if I don't back the whole thing with leather.
                Build a man a fire and you warm him for a night. Set a man on fire and you warm him for the rest of his life.


                • #9
                  That's a very smart idea! I agree with the cardboard. For some reason I did my cuffs on velvet on posterboard and they are looking pretty rough now that the posterboard is starting to break down. I can see the plastic canvas being good to use though since it is grided and can let air pass or heat leave.
                  Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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