How to Add Beaded Ruffles and Frills With Peyote Stitch

  • 01 of 10

    Beaded Ruffles, Ridges and Frills

    A bead ruffle added to a long row of peyote for a bracelet
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    Peyote stitch ruffles are a great way to add decorative edging to your beadwork. Ruffles are easy to make by adding a simple increase to the number of beads you add on each stitch.

    If you add beads gradually, you will get a more gradual, graceful curl of a ruffle, Ramp up the number of beads quickly for a dramatic twist of beads that is sure to be eye-catching in any design.

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  • 02 of 10

    Make a Sample Ruffle

    Making one or two ruffle stitch samples will help you determine the best colors and increase.
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    Depending on the project you are making, we recommend making a sample ruffle before attaching one to your beadwork—especially if you've spent a lot of time on your base. There are several reasons for this.

    First, the light reflects on the ruffle beads differently than it does on the flat beads, so you will want to make sure you like the colors you choose.

    Second, the ruffles, well, they ruffle up pretty quickly depending on the beads you use and how quickly you make the increase between each row. A sampler will help you to get an idea of how quickly you should make the increase to get the height and width ruffle you are looking for.

    The sample ruffle is a small swatch of flat even count peyote stitch with 12 columns of beads and six rows. The closer your sample resembles the piece you are adding a ruffle to, is probably better.

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  • 03 of 10

    Materials You'll Need

    Choosing colors for the ruffle
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    The peyote stitch base is made of size 11 Miyuki Delica cylinder beads. The base is regular single peyote but it is stitched in the opposite direction that you might normally do it—lengthwise. Normally, bracelets are done across the shorter side so the uneven edge is on the ends where the clasp is instead of the sides. This is an important difference since you are using the stepped peyote stitch edge to attach the ruffle to.

    In addition, this project uses two colors of Preciosa Czech seed beads to accent the ruffle. Both are size 11 color lined with copper—the first strand is clear and the second is aqua blue. The look of the color lined copper is great but it was not very easy to stitch ruffles with this because it was hard to find the holes and differentiate one bead from another.  Round seed beads work well for the ruffles because they have smoother edges than cylinder beads.

    There are three rows of peyote ruffle in this project and a third color bead of size 11 Delica in copper. This didn't make the beading any easier because it blended with clear-lined copper.

    The thread used is Nymo thread (from the cone) in size D, tan (important note:​ thread from the cone is different than the thread on the bobbin) and a Tulip beading needle. 

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  • 04 of 10

    Making a Base Ruffle Row (Picot)

    Pick up two beads to stich between every space
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    Start the peyote ruffle by attaching a new thread.  A new thread is used for two reasons—first, you need a substantial amount of thread for the ruffle and you don't want to run out. More importantly, though, if for any reason you don't like the way it is coming out, it is much easier to remove it if you've used a separate thread.

    It is a good practice to make beaded components separate and then join them in case something doesn't work out, the base and pieces are usually still useable.

    Add one bead on the edge, and then start adding two beads in every peyote stitch.  This forms a decorative picot edge.

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  • 05 of 10

    Beaded Picot Edge

    The base row for the ruffle is a two bead picot edge.
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    A picot edge is a pretty way to add some interest to any beaded edge. While it gives a nice lacy effect, it is not a ruffle because the beads are not connected along the entire edge.

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  • 06 of 10

    Complete the Picot Edge Row

    The base row of the ruffle - really just a row of picot
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    Continue adding two beads between every regular peyote stitch until the end of the row. This is the base for your ruffle.

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  • 07 of 10

    Connect the Picots to Form a Ruffle Edge

    Pick up one bead and stitch through the two beads from the prior row.
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    The second row is going to connect the picots. This begins the official ruffling of the peyote.

    Pick up one bead and stitch through the two beads you added on the last row. Repeat for every stitch on the row. Use size 11 Delica beads in copper for this row.

    Keep your tension firm and consistent and you will begin to get a small ruffle effect.

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  • 08 of 10

    Small Peyote Ruffle

    The real ruffle starts when you begin to connect the picots
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    When you have completed the row, you will have the start of your peyote stitch ruffle. On its own, this makes a really nice edge.  

    Note that the number of beads used for increase and connections in this tutorial is only a suggestion. Feel free to play with the number of beads in each row as well as the number of beads you stitch into in each row. You will get frillier results or more lacey ruffles depending on the number of beads you use and the number of beads you stitch through on the prior row.

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  • 09 of 10

    Finishing Your Peyote Ruffle

    A bead ruffle added to a long row of peyote for a bracelet
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    For the final row, pick up three beads and stitch through the Delica beads added in the prior row. Although the picture doesn't do it justice, the ruffle is pretty big after this. You can continue to make the ruffle larger by increasing the number of beads you add and stitching back through the beads you added on the prior row. For example, you could add four or five beads on the next row and stitch through the three beads from this row. A sample will help you decide the best increase to use for your project.

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  • 10 of 10

    Adding a Ruffle Edge to Both Sides of Your Beadwork

    Follow the same instructions to add a ruffle to the other edge of the beadwork
    The Spruce / Lisa Yang

    The beadwork ruffle will roll over both edges of the peyote band. You can gently push the ruffle to one side of the peyote, but don't try to re-shape the ruffle itself. It will break if you try to bend it into a different shape.

    Repeat these instructions to add a ruffle edge to the other side of your peyote strip or you can leave it the design asymmetrical with a single ruffle.

    If you are making a bracelet like this, you might like to make a circular brick stitch flower with a ruffle edge to use as a clasp.