Saturday, January 14, 2012

How to make three tiered tassels, part one

Every now and then I get a request for an Arabian costume tutorial.  I find those somewhat puzzling, since I've only completed one Arabian costume in my entire tackmaking career.  Perhaps people are confusing me with another Jennifer?  

In any event, today I am really pleased to present an Arabian costume tutorial that was written by someone else.  Please join me in thanking Canadian costume maker Terri Wright for sharing her methods!

Three Tiered Tassels

by Terri Wright

This tutorial will cover the assembly of three tier tassels.  It will not cover creation of tassels, or the braiding of collars.  The assembly of the first tassel set determines the length of the remaining tassel sets.  For every tack maker, this will be different lengths.  This particular method may not be easy or efficient for some people.  It is the way I developed in making tassels, and I encourage you to find a way that works for you!

-36 tassels of colour a
-36 tassels of colour b
-36 tassels of colour c
(Or 84 of each for a whole costume ~250 together) All trimmed to the Exact same length
-Fine beading needle (Not flexible)
-Colour coordinating beads in 11 or 13 size
-1 Skein of DMC Cotton floss, same colour as Collar
-Pair of small pliers
-Small container of water
-eyebrow brush
-ruler in Metric (cm/mm)
-Embroidery scissors
Using the steps below I first assemble a length chart to keep all the strands/sets the same length.  I mark the first one on a ruler that allows me to make pencil marks on it, marking at the bottom and top of each tassel, and also at the tie.  This keeps them within a few mm of the same length, and prevents any major differences.
Step 1: Start by taking your floss and cutting it into 10”/22.5cm lengths.  Split it into 6 fine threads.  
Step 2: Take 1 thread and thread through the first tassel that you want to be on the bottom tier.  Make sure the ends are even and tie a simple knot to hold the tassel in place.

Step 3: Pull Threads together, keeping the tassel straight and even so it will sit nicely.
Step 4: Thread the needle onto both strings, and grab the next colour tassel you want to use.  Thread the needle into the exact centre of the second tassel, trying to avoid catching any tassel threads.  If it gets stuck, use the pliers to gently pull the needle out.

Step 5: Pull the Tassel down towards the first tassel, making sure to gently pull the tassel threads out, so they don’t get looped back into the top of the tassel.

On the first set of tassels, Eyeball it to a length/distance away from the first that you feel comfortable, it should sit 1-2 mm above the first one.
For following sets, grab the ruler you have marked and measure it until it is the desired length.

 Step 6: Loop the needle through the head of the tassel and again through the floss to secure the tassel in place.  This is optional, but helps to keep the tassel from moving around.  You can use glue as an alternative to knotting.

Step 7: Repeat Steps 4-6 using the third colour tassel you wish to use, making sure to use the ruler to ensure accurate and identical lengths.  It won’t be 100% perfect but it will be within a few millimetres.
The three tassels should look as follows:
And that's it for today.  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of this tutorial!


  1. Thank you sooooo much! I have been quite flummoxed at this. Great tutorial, tell Terri thank you!

  2. I have all the stuff bought for an Arabian costume but had no idea how to start. Thanks.

  3. Those are amazing - such talent! Thank you for sharing.

  4. This was super helpful! I'm not sure if you do this or not but I would love to know how to make those brow bands with little crystals, chains, and stuff in them. I can't figure out how to make the sides lift up around whatever is inside.

  5. Thank you so much! As I am typing this, I am attempting to make my first arabian costue for a Breyer Classic. I always struggle with tassels, and three tiered seemed impossible for me! It's actually pretty easy! Thanks again!