Detail of Egyptian faience beadnet dress
Source : Jennifer Brown, World History Encyclopedia

We sometimes mistakenly think the beading techniques we use today are recent in origin.  Not so. Shown above is an incredible beaded dress which is more than 4,500 years old. It shows right angle weaving and netting techniques. It is now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was discovered in the undisturbed Giza tomb of a woman who lived during the reign of the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops). 

The gown is the earliest known example of a beaded dress and the use of the lozenge shape or diamond pattern in a garment. Egyptian faience, a glass-like ceramic, was used to make the beads in colors which imitated real gemstones. The colors have faded but the dress was originally blue and green to mimic turquoise and lapis lazuli.

The string used had all but disintegrated but a few sections remained intact which were sufficient for reconstruction purposes. This process was painstaking as there were about 7,000 beads. 

Egyptian Faience Beadnet Dress, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 4, Reign of Khufu (2551-2528 BC)
Excavated in Giza, Egypt in 1927
Source : Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The museum also has a second beadnet dress shown below, which is not as old as the one above. Beadnet dresses would have fitted most women because of the netted part.

Egyptian beadnet dress, Old Kingdom, Dynasty 6 2323–2150 B.C.

Such beadnet dresses were often worn over v-necked or wraparound linen dresses. 

Want to make your own Egyptian beadnet dress?  These would be cool outfits for cosplay and for Halloween.  You'll need to make the V-neck dress first. See this Ancient Egyptian sheath dress tutorial by DaisyViktoriaCouture (a great source of simpler historical patterns)

Someone with beading experience can probably figure out how to make the bugle bead collar and the netting. Getting the spacing right with bugle beads as the collar flares out might be tricky. Shorter bugle beads work better. Also consider using bead embroidery technique for the collar.

A spectacular example of an Egyptian inspired collar design is this one below by Ukrainian artisan, Olga Kokh, of BusikoUA who is now safely living and working in Greece. I featured her incredible beaded collar work before. Another must-see designer is LuxVivensFashions.

Or perhaps adapt a beadweaving technique such as this gorgeous tila bead herringbone necklace tutorial by DianeFitzgeraldBeads.  You will have to add a final row of beads at the outer edge. 

Another stunner is this "Cleopatra" necklace tutorial by Gianna of b4pbakup (beading4perfectionists). 

This pretty bugle bead netted bugle bead collar tutorial by MonicaSolteszJewellery should be helpful if you have forgotten how to do netting! 

Bugle beads come in a range of lengths from 2.25 mm all the way up to 35 mm! How long will depend on your level of patience for an overdress project.  

No patience or time for a dress project?  Here is a fabulous Egyptian inspired earrings design tutorial by BusikoUA. It is bead embroidered. 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM