Dead embroidery on velvet certainly has undeniable charms. The employment of beads for the embroidering of cloth and other fabrics is one of great antiquity. In the oldest of Egyptian tombs one finds that beads must have been held in great esteem by the Egyptians of past ages, for with them they decorated their dead.
The Phoenicians trading amongst the dusky races in Africa used these fascinating little baubles in barter. From time to time beads of great antiquity, made of iridescent glass of rare beauty and colouring, have been sold for their weight in gold. Since the fourteenth century, the Venetians have manufactured the most beautiful specimens of beads, and it is an industry that still flourishes amongst them. Thus the subject of beads has through many ages been an interesting object of study. Beads have had their devotees in many lands, and amongst almost every type of people.
The woman of to-day who develops a passion for beads has certainly ample scope to gratify every whim, for never were beads more beautiful than at the present time.
The colourings selected for the beads must naturally depend upon the gown with which they are intended to be worn; or, like the loom-woven bead necklaces and bracelets, the beads chosen for this velvet embroidery may match the wearer's favourite jewels.
For a pair of white velvet wristbands, or bracelets, half a yard of velvet ribbon is required. These bands of bead-embroidered velvet make a charming finish to a three-quarter length sleeve, and they are at all times picturesque. The size of the wrist or arm should be measured before the embroidery is commenced. Green and gold glass beads look very charming on white velvet.
Thread the needle with cotton, and pass it through the velvet ribbon from the wrong side, at the top of the strip. To commence the border. Thread six yellow beads and fasten these down parallel with the edging of the ribbon; draw the needle up through the velvet again, and thread one green bead; stitch this firmly down with another green bead above and below it; then proceed with threading six green beads, which must be stitched down again in a parallel position; then stitch down the three green beads, reversing the colour of the following six beads every time. This will form a border all around the bracelet. For the decoration of the centre of the band, thread six yellow beads, and fasten them down across the band. Thread three green, one yellow, and three green beads; fasten these down in the opposite direction (this will form a sort of cross); sew a green bead in each open space. For the star, thread seven green beads, fasten these down; then seven yellow beads must be threaded and firmly secured to the velvet ribbon. Proceed in this manner, alternately using green or yellow beads, until the star is completed. After this embroider another cross, then a star, and so on, until the velvet centre is covered. The ends of the velvet should be turned in, and neat patent fasteners sewn on, so that the bracelets may fit firmly round the wrists and arms.
Coral from Algiers and the Balearic Isles is full of beauty, but the curious, old-fashioned chains are not much worn nowadays, so they often lie neglected in the jewel case. Coral is suggestive at all times of the barbaric. Sewn on to white velvet, oddly enough, its barbaric appearance is accentuated.
A pretty design may be worked on to a white velvet bracelet. The deep red of the coral looks charming when relieved with a white ivory bead, or, better still, a white coral bead. Fine steel beads are also effective with coral. Thread some steel beads, and stitch them down firmly on to the white velvet ribbon, with a few odd pieces of coral threaded between them. An occasional ivory bead adds to the tout ensemble. A fringe of coral is formed all round the velvet bracelet by sewing irregular pieces of coral in coral-coloured silk both top and bottom of the velvet ribbon.
Deep red coral is effectively displayed on a white velvet bracelet, sewn on in an irregular design, interspersed with small steel beads and a few ivory beads in a larger size
Very beautiful bands of velvet for the throat may be made of black velvet ribbon, with an embroidery of coloured beads. Tiny forget-me-nots, worked in turquoise blue beads, with a centre bead of gold in each flower, are most effective, the leaves embroidered with various shades of green beads. To form a border for this design, thread three green beads, and sew them down at regular intervals at the top and bottom of the velvet; afterwards sew three gold beads in a triangle in each small open space. When the embroidery is completed, the ends of the velvet ribbon should be turned in and hemmed neatly. Patent fasteners may be stitched on to each end, so that the velvet may fit firmly but comfortably round the throat. Gold beads on black or white are always in good taste, whilst most people know the beauty of steel beads on grey velvet. The old Greek "key pattern " looks well embroidered on velvet. Little rose-coloured beads made of wood are charming when embroidered with emerald-green wooden beads on a pale shade of green velvet. Stars and triangles look particularly effective when embroidered in these beads.
A crescent design worked in silver on mauve is decidedly smart.
Mauve beads embroidered on a paler shade of mauve velvet ribbon is artistic. This idea may be appreciated by those who prefer a one-colour scheme.
Bandeaux for the hair are very becoming when embroidered velvet ribbon is used; the softness of the velvet adds to the charms of most women. Choosing a pale apricot shade, dull blue and gold beads make a delightful combination of colouring for an artistic bandeau. Thread a needle with cotton, and draw it through the velvet on the right side of the fabric, and commence a border of beads. Thread six blue beads, and fasten them in a slanting direction down-wards on the velvet. Thread six gold beads, and fasten these in a slanting direction upwards. Continue this method along the top and bottom of the velvet. For the centre of the bandeau, sprays of gold beads are stitched firmly down, threading about ten gold beads at a time. Little blue flowers made of beads are dotted about carelessly between the sprays of gold. To embroider these flowers, draw the needle through the velvet on the right side; thread four blue beads, fasten these down; draw the needle up through the velvet to form a centre, thread four more beads, and repeat this method until the flower assumes a pretty star-like shape.
If tassels or a fringe of beads are desired to finish off the two ends of the bandeau, they are easily made by threading strands of cotton with gold or blue beads until the tassels or the fringe are of the required length. This design of sprays and flowers may be worked with equal success in shades of rose on a pale pink velvet ribbon. Small pearl beads look exquisite when embroidered on white velvet ribbon; it makes a truly Oriental bandeau when finished at each end with a cabochon ornament of pearls. These are embroidered on circles of velvet, padded with cotton-wool, and sewn firmly on to each end of the bandeau with a number of pearl loops. Bandeaux or velvet collars for the throat are veritable treasures when embroidered in seed-pearls, either on a white ground, or on to the favourite colour of the happy possessor of such treasures.