The making of peyote stitch sleeves

Een peyote stitch in oranje en groen

Peyote stitch sleeves are tubes made of tiny glass beads to decorate your dreadlocks with. As they are made of coloured seed beads, they will always keep their vibrant colours. Once you are getting the hang of it, you will be able to make them with beautiful patterns.

In this tutorial we'll explain how you can make a peyote stitch sleeve yourself.
We will be making a peyote stitch sleeve that will be made to a tube at the end of the process. This means we use a flat peyote stitch and not a tubular one. It is very important to pull your thread tightly: this makes he sleeve sturdy and gives at a more regular motif.

What you need

  1. Seed beads.
  2. Very small needle. You must be able to pull this needle -including thread- through the hole of the tiny beads.
  3. Strong thread. Do not use cotton thread, as this can break after some time. Very good is C-lon thread. This is strong, not too thick nylon thread especially designed for weaving small glass beads.
  4. A plate to put the beads on.
  5. Angelic patience ;-)

1. The set-up

To show you clearly what is happening, we worl with 2 colours in this tutorial: green and orange. The first row consists of orange beads.

Get a long piece of thead (at least 70 cm) and thread your needle with it. String the first orange bead onto the thread, almost to the end and make a strong knot. Leave about 10 cm of thread.

The easiest thing is to work with an even number of beads per row. We are doing 10, so that means we need to add 9 more. You can string these at once.

2. The second row

Now the real weaving starts: the second row will be done in green. String 1 green bead onto your thread. Stick the needle through the second orange bead of the first row: this means you are skipping 1 orange bead. Pictures and schematic:

Finish the second row in the same manner: string a green bead, skip one orange bead, pull your needle through, pull the thread firmly etc. If you have done this correclty, you end up with 5 green beads in the second row:
The first and second row, schematic

3. The third row and so on

To start, turn your weaving piece around (horizontally), so the thread and needle come out at the right side (if you're right handed ofcourse ;-)). Now string an orange bead and stick your needle through the first green bead. Don't forget to pull the thread firmly.

You can finish the rest of the row in the same way: string an orange bead, needle through the green bead from the last row and pull the thread. Don't be surprised if it looks messy at the beginning. If you keep on pulling the thread and follow the pattern it will become neat.

The fourth row works exactly the same as the second (green beads): first turn the weaving pice around horizontally, and then string a green bead en pull the needle through the orange bead of the first row etc. The fifth row works the same as the third one (orange beads). Continue making orange and green rows.

4. The finishing

There will be a time when you are almost finished weaving. How long you wish to continue depends on how large you would like the hole to be. When you count about 13 beads from bottom to the end the hole will be about 7 to 8 mm.

If you are happy with the size, look if the start and end fit together. They should exactly fit into each other.

If the start and end fit, it is time to sew them together. You can do this by pulling the needle and thread through the extruding beads of the first and last row:

If you did it correctly the end of your thread is right next to the first bead you started with. Now it is time to tie the 2 threads firmly together and cut away the ends.

You probably noticed that where we attached the beginning and end of the sleeve the line pattern didn't continue properly. This is because we did the first row with 10 orange beads to show you how the weaving had to be done. If you would like the pattern to continue properly you should string the first 10 beads (the first row) like this: orange, green (x 5 times).

Pattern design

Some ideas

Here are some small peyote stitch sleeve pattern ideas:

You can design patterns yourself with our online Peyote stitch pattern designer (may take some time to load).


- Tutorial on, with nice honeycomb pattern
- Tutorial on, with a nice pattern as well
- Many patterns that are suitable for dread sleeves at Marcie's Manor, beneath "FREEBIES, PEYOTE/BRICK PATTERNS"