For the Love of Beads…

Progress

Hey folks!

This post took a little while longer than I’d intended but I’ll get to that in a bit. Today was pretty awesome, Melting Mirror and I hit up the local fabric store, and after a bit of a rough start we found fabrics for her next costumes. At one point she asked me how much fabric she needed.

Until I reminded her I tended to over-estimate needs. By the point of… oh… 10 metres for this:

I will never want for crushed velvet again. Ever.

She didn’t ask again, and didn’t seem interested either as I tried to offer her about 6 metres of the stuff. Maybe I’ll remake this for my non-18-year-old body because that thing’s never going to fit again.

But the good news was that hanging out with her helped solve a bit of ‘crafting block’ that I’d run into.

Why?

Beads

oh wait I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Idea

ACIII Connor
Oh hell yes

You might have heard of the little game he’s from. Assassin’s Creed is kind of a big deal I hear. But I mean, look how awesome that is. He’s got this really appealing mix of Aboriginal style mixed up with Colonial/Revolutionary military. I’m so digging it. I’ll be aiming for a slightly feminized version, just because then the coat will fit better.

Okay, so I’ve got the idea. But um. You might have noticed it’s kind of daunting. There’s so much sewing.

Time for a plan of attack.

Okay, so it’d be good to start small before I worry about how I’m going to get military buttons and make that damn belt. Panic. So I looked for something that I could start on. Small, manageable…

Small… hey he’s got some nifty arm bands and I’m pretty sure that I’ve got a bead loom around somewhere.

Armband

It took a little rummaging around, but I tracked down the bead loom from my childhood, and actually read the manual. Feeling confident that I could nail this on the first  second third try I got down to business.

Pattern Design
Graph paper is your friend. More than hockey tape.

So over the years I’ve learned that a couple rough sketches ahead of time will save your sanity down the line. It took a couple tries, but when I had a pattern I liked, I figured out how long I would need to make the arm bands, how many beads in an inch, and then how many rows I would need to do.

Hooray math!

For those of you that are interested, this is what a Bead Loom looks like:

The Loom of Doom
The Loom of Doom

basically, it’s pretty simple. It’s got a coil of wire around both ends that holds the threads apart evenly, and then you weave the beads back and forth through them. Simple right?

Right.

Let’s just skip ahead to…

Things I’ve learned.

Buy individual packets of beads

I’m still not sure what possessed me to think that I could just use the beads that came with the loom. I mean, they were in the box, so some part of it was laziness. I need to stop listening to my lazy ass.

Instead, I decided that in order to be lazy later, I’d sort out all the colours I would need now.

ಠ_ಠ

Sorting
Hour… oh god I don’t even know

I used that little pink tooth-pick thing. However I noticed that as I was sorting, that the beads weren’t really uniformed shape. And there was a lot of franken-beads with no hole, two beads stuck together or a weird long tube shape.

I spent a couple hours sorting under the supervision of Kitten, only to remember that HOLY SHIT. I’d purchased seed beads ages ago from an Aboriginal store. And only in 4 out of the 5 colours that I’d need.

I had to take a break, and have a beer at that point, wondering why I was so terrible at being lazy. I switched over to the separated beads for the white, and you can definitely see where it made a difference:

Progress
The frankenbeads are at the bottom, the nice pre-sorted beads are used at the top near the chevron.

For the Love of God, use a thin needle

Smaller needles pass through the beads better. That means you won’t have to resort to using thimbles or pliers to get the damn thing through. This also means beading won’t take so long, and there’s less chance of jamming the needle into your finger(s) when trying to force it through a row of Frankenbeads.

Don’t drink and Bead

It leads to beading the wrong way. See, when you’re making a band of beads longer than the distance between the two sides of the loom, you need to wind the extra thread around one side, and then roll it back as you go.

Unfortunately, on armband number two as I was enjoying just how much easier this was going because I’d learned how to fix the two above issues. Only I started at the wrong side and had run out of beading room. I tried to wiggle the rows back so that I didn’t have to take everything apart and re-do it. But in the end, (after letting it sit for about a week) I sucked it up and ripped it apart. In the end it went a lot faster than trying to figure out how to sew two halves together.

Keep an eye out for a new post about upgrades to the Demon Hunter costume!

-xo Calamity

One thought on “For the Love of Beads…

  1. Pingback: Cosplay Calamity

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