Tambour beading technique

After a recent trip to India Fiona returns – inspired and rejuvenated from her discoveries and excited for the new  samples arriving for next season’s collection! 

Our manufacturers are selected for their specialised techniques one of them being a type of chain stitch embroidery worked with a tambour hook or needle on fabric stretched taught on a frame. This technique originates on the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and Central Asia. Tambour beading is a method of attaching beads to fabric for luxury clothing and decorative fabric. Beads, sequins, mirrors, silk thread, chenille yarns, braids, and gold and silver metallic beads can all be attached with the hook.

The Surat (necklace above) is a great example of combining the Tambour technique with modern chaining and embedded stones creating an overall modern-oriental look. The Surat (recently photographed on Kate Moss) is the perfect way to add embellishment to a casual look, or it can add high glamour to a cocktail dress.

More examples of the Tambour technique can be seen throughout the collection, in pieces like Shine and Lane (below)


The beaded technique is the same as that used in Surat. The fabric to be beaded must be tightly stretched on a frame, and the beading worked with a continuous thread. When using tambour hook

The beads must first be threaded onto the continuous thread. A loop thread is drawn up –making a chain stitch – with the bead placed on the straight part of the stitch underneath the fabric. Therefore the worker is working on the ‘wrong’ side of the work, and designs such as lettering must be working in reverse. If changed of colour or size of bead are required, these are best worked as separate areas.

 Here is a shot of a worker creating the intricate technique………



This image was taken in the bead shop. There is a huge variety of shapes, colours and sizes, a treasure trove for the ‘creatives’…..



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