Erica's Bead Gallery

I began a small dressmaking business in my home in 1991 and expanded to online sales in 2011. You can read more about my journey at:
About Us (Me And My Store)

As my love for designing, and making professionally finished, embellished and beaded formal gowns, with unique detailing grew and blossomed, I received frequent requests from clients wanting customized details, to add a little something for extra interest, and sparkle or bling.

The sourcing of materials to fit the needs of the projects became a job in itself, so instead of constantly searching for the appropriate colors and desired embellished fabrics ready made, I decided to learn to craft the fine details by hand, and began to experiment with embellishing with beads to see what I could achieve.

I began adding sparkle with beaded edges and scattered random beaded designs, and then I envisioned painting complete areas of the gowns with beads by drawing my own designs and using them as a pattern. I imagined the possibilities were endless, so that became my goal.

Over a few years time my collection of pattern drawings and my technique in this art form grew, as did my collection of bead types in shapes, sizes, and range of colors.

I have had the opportunity to do many elaborate projects and fulfill many requests for dazzling and completely unique one of a kind garment treasures.

Here is more about the process, what is involved in my hand made bead imagery methods, welcome to my beading gallery !

The first step is to choose and envision the overall effect desired, choose the colors and beads to coordinate with the fabric you will being used. If it is an extensive project covering a large area, it is necessary to estimate that there are enough beads on hand to complete the project, beads can have slight difference to them in dye lot so it is not always an option to simply go get more the same should they run out.

Beading step two pin to image


With dark black marker, I draw freehand or trace a chosen pattern from a line drawings or textile print fabric on a white piece of paper, and move it from section to section repeating for beading.

step 3 beading on dark fabrics

If the image does not show through the material I use a wax marker to trace the image onto the cut out garment pieces. Usually the method of tracing over a window on a bright sunny day is sufficient, though with my love of extra dark materials I was fortunate to have had a friend in the drafting and graphic arts profession give me an old light box he had made.

step 4 beading on semi sheer fabric

This project I have chosen a dark amethyst material and light amethyst beads for a continuing swirl pattern throughout the body of a long dress. The fabric is a Georgette, which is like a heavy thickness chiffon and is very ideal for larger coverage areas as it needs no wax transfer, I simply keep moving my drawing paper along as I go.

step 5 beading overview pattern

Of course I have planned ahead so that the repeating pattern of the the image will fall onto the next individual cut piece of the un-assembled garment, making sure that any seams close to the center of the body (in this case the back zipper seam) are going to be in reasonable and pleasing alignment to match the adjoining garment piece with the selected pattern.

step 6 beading avoid too close to edges

As I still have to assemble this dress at the sewing machine I am being careful to not get to close to my seam allowance edges. I will not be able to stitch through these beads in the machine stitching construction, but it is easy to touch up and add to those edges after the garment is assembled.

Step 7 beading touch up over seams

Here is the back seam with the zipper stitched in, the dress is now all assembled and I add those last few beads in to connect gaps between lines that were getting too close to the seam edges. I have slipped a plain piece of paper behind the outer layer to avoid catching the lining or other parts of the dress at this final stage, as the dress has already been completely assembled.

beaded dress completed

Here is the two tone light and dark amethyst dress completed. If you fancy it and wish to own it I have made this available for purchase in my store, you can find it at:  Amethyst Bead Embellished Swirls Pattern Dress

I also have other dresses in my bead gallery gown collection, you can find what I currently have available for sale here at: 
Ericasbeadgallery at Erica's Creative Cavalcade


Share this post