A New Hobby, Tambour Beading! Here is my Progress

So I decided the other day that I wanted to make my life much busier than it already is by taking up, or should I say, attempting to learn tambour beading. It’s the absolutely amazing beading technique used in haute couture and I am not kidding when I say I am mesmerised watching You Tube videos of this process. I didn’t want to go all out buying the necessary equipment in case I didn’t like doing it but therein lies an issue whereby I might not like it because I don’t have the right equipment. Regardless, I thought for a small project I would invest in an embroidery frame, 35cm, and as I only have one habidashery/fabric store where I live, I just bought the smallest crochet hook I could find. I thought because they carry Clover products they may have a tambour hook but it may be too much of a specialised hobby.

The technique is meant to take a while to master, but I thought knowing crochet may help a little. Again due to bead limitations I bought packets of loose beads that all need threading prior to even starting the beading process. I used a really thin beading needle and it was very time consuming. I think about roughly an hour of threading per packet of beads.


Again if I pursue this longer I may buy the pre-stranded beads/sequins which are very difficult to purchase in Australia or plan a trip to Paris (highly unlikely) although I have researched an item called a bead spinner which will work for the seed beads. I purchased some polyester organza because again hello, no silk organza available and found a design on the internet of something that was relatively uncomplicated and pretty – well not really, I should have started with a much smaller project.

I won’t go into detail here about the technique or process other than to say people pay good money to learn this from professionals so my results will be far from perfect. What I am showing you is an hours worth of beading ūüė¶ I got the technique thing sorted but the crochet hook was not playing friendly like I had hoped so I ordered a tambour hook.

1 hours workSee that little swirl up top – it took me 1 hour!!!

The hook I ordered is a traditional Indian one I think, as opposed to the one used in couture beading at the French houses. Please correct me if I am wrong. I was also pleasantly surprised they sent a second hook free of charge and a heap of information and some silk thread.

rajmahal tools (2)

I probably should have also started with a more friendly fabric – more a netting type but with the organza I was able to trace my design with a lead pencil so that is a positive. So after a few intermittent nights of beading I have made good progress and getting faster although if I drop a stitch them I’m trying to chase beads before they all get unthreaded (?). You can see the holes in the bottom part of the swirl where I had done my beading and then they all came out as I lost the stitch. If at first you don’t succeed try again, and again, and again!

2 hours work

I guess that comes with experience. My concern is this hook seems to be snagging the fabric after a few uses rather than going through smoothly and so my beads may eventually fall out, which is not what I want after hours of beading. Here is where I am up to now.¬†And so now I am investing in a “proper” hook.

making progress

Am I crazy even trying this? What do you think?