Google rhinestones for clothing and you’re likely to bring up results showing many retailers selling rhinestone-studded garments. Some of these dresses are vintage, often decades old. While past designers loved embellishing with rhinestones. you may be wondering if this fashion is still trendy.
Use of Rhinestones for Clothing - 1900s - 1930
Georg Friedrich Strass, who worked as a jeweler in Paris, created the first manufactured rhinestone in 1760. However, it wasn’t until about the 1900s that designers began to use them on clothing. At this time, designers began creating garments that were more self-expressive. Prior to that, craftsmen primarily used rhinestones for jewelry.
Two French designers, Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel, led the way in creating highly adorned dresses. Their influence reached across the Atlantic to America. Fashionable women in the 1920s wore dresses highly decorated with rhinestones, beads, and/or sequins.
As fashion continued into the 30s and 40s, the lines between art and fashion blurred. Another designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, rose to fame with her visionary style. Over the years, Elsa’s love of flamboyant style often included ornate rhinestone designs.
In addition to embellishing clothing with rhinestones, designers created jewelry to match their collections. One designer, Christian Dior, helped create a new rhinestone color for pieces to accentuate his new vision. He collaborated with the rhinestone manufacturer Swarovski to create the aurora borealis or AB rhinestone.
The Later Decades
In the 1950s, a Russian-born immigrant, Nutya Kotlyrenko, opened a tailor shop in North Hollywood. One of his first clients was singing sensation Lefty Frizzel. Nudie Cohn, as he became known, thought Frizzel would look great in an outfit with rhinestones. Soon other country singers began wearing rhinestone-encrusted designs by Cohn.
While country singers sparkled at the Grand Ole Opry House, other fashion innovators created historic pieces. An unknown Bob Mackie created the sketch for Marylyn Monroe’s iconic “Happy Birthday” dress in 1960. Moreover, later on, Bill Belew created bejeweled jumpsuits that became Elvis’ trademark stage wear.
Rhinestones in Fashion Today
Today’s top fashion designers continue to incorporate rhinestones into their creations. You’ll find famous makers Prada, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein clothing embellished with sparkling crystal. Designers continue to use rhinestones for several reasons.
Manufacturers create rhinestones in a stunning variety of colors. For example, Preciosa creates over 100 hues including standard colors, neon, and AB. Plus, you can choose sizes from tiny 5ss (1.8 mm) to large 48ss (11.11 mm).
2. Eye-Catching Light Reflection
Similar to the real gemstones they seek to imitate, rhinestones reflect and refract light. Some light bounces off the facets while some light enters the rhinestone, bends, and reflects off the foil backing. This play of light is attractive and eye-catching.
4. Adds Glamour
Trendy fashion designers understand the allure of rhinestones. Gowns, dresses, shoes, or accessories embellished with rhinestones add a touch of glamor.
5. Ability to Transform from Ordinary into Magical
Of course, rhinestones can turn any dress into a flash of vibrant color. However, rhinestones can also make ordinary objects stunning. For example, sunglasses adorned with rhinestones transform from plain to magical.
FAQs About Rhinestones For Clothing
While rhinestone clothing is beautiful it can be quite expensive. However, you can DIY many items to create your own style. Below, we answer some of your most commonly asked questions about rhinestones.
What’s The Best Way to Attach Rhinestones to Fabric?
Depending on your project, you can use one of 4 methods to attach rhinestones:
What Type of Rhinestone Should I Buy?
Today, you’ll find many different types of rhinestones including acrylic, glass, and crystal. Moreover, you’ll find varying quality between manufacturers. Typically, the look you’re trying to achieve and your budget will help determine your best option.
Where Can I Buy Rhinestones for Clothing?
Since 2011, Rhinestones Etc. has been selling quality embellishments. We ship quickly, have great customer service, and competitive prices. Plus, we have a huge inventory of Preciosa Maxima Rhinestones, the premier name in crystal embellishments.
When you want to sparkle at your next event, let us help you feel beautiful.
You’ve picked the perfect dress. You carefully chose a rhinestone color to bling it. For hours, you bent over the garment, carefully gluing each rhinestone into place. Everyone admired you when you wore it. But now it’s time to wash it. Can you wash it? If so, what’s the best way to clean rhinestones without damaging them?
Before you start applying rhinestones, wash and dry your garment. When you’re ready to glue, lay your garment on a flat surface. If the material is sheer, place a piece of wax paper between the layers to avoid gluing the fabric together.
Begin by placing a drop of glue slightly smaller than the rhinestone on the garment. Pick up a rhinestone using a wax-tipped tool or tweezers. Gently press the rhinestone into the glue drop. Some of the glue should seep out from the edges. This makes a seal and helps prevent the rhinestone from peeling off.
Continue gluing rhinestones in this manner. When done, allow to dry flat for 24 hours.
Use Rhinestones for Clothing Other Garments, Too!
Even adding just a small amount of rhinestones makes a huge difference in this dress. And you now have a glamorous, fashionable dress without going over budget. Moreover, you can use rhinestones for clothing other than dresses! You can add rhinestones to shirts, jeans, shoes, and even accessories like belts and handbags.
Plus, you can experiment with different sizes and colors to create a different look each time. Stay trendy and fashionable and save yourself a pile of money by adding bling!
FAQs About Rhinestones
If you’re just starting with rhinestones, you may be confused by all the different types on the market. To help you make the best choice, we’ve answered some of our most commonly asked questions.
Should I Buy The Most Expensive Brand?
It depends on the type of project you’re rhinestoning. For example, you may want to use a name brand for your wedding dress. However, you may want to use a less expensive brand for your handbag.
How Many Rhinestones Will I Need?
Typically, your quantity depends on the look you want to achieve and the size of your rhinestones. Will you be creating large spaces between the rhinestones or placing them close together? Generally, too, smaller rhinestones sizes cover less area requiring more.
If you need help determining the amount you need, drop us a note here, and we’ll be glad to help you.
Does It Matter Where I Buy My Rhinestones?
If you want quality rhinestones at competitive prices, great customer service, and fast shipping, buy from Rhinestones Etc. For over 10 years, we’ve been selling quality embellishments online.
Take this dress picked up on clearance.
Although it’s a pretty dress with the floral print on the bottom, there nothing to really catch the eye. We’ll transform this dress into a “get another look at that dress” just by adding rhinestones.
Dress bought on clearance $35
Retail cost of rhinestones: $11-14 depending on the brand of rhinestones and retailer
Glue: $ 8.99 - $9.99 for 4 oz
Total cost: $60.00
For this project I used:
Black Diamond 12ss rhinestones about 1 gross
Jet Hematite 12ss rhinestones about 1 gross
Wax tipped tool or tweezers
Always prewash your garment before starting to glue. Once it is washed and dried, lay it flay on your work surface. If the material is thin, place a piece of wax paper between fabric to prevent gluing the layers together.
Here, I used black diamond rhinestones along the strap edges spaced ½ inch apart. You can use a tape measure to keep the rhinestones evenly spaced it you want. Jet hematite rhinestones completed the design scattered on the straps and bodice. These were glued closer together along the straps and bodice. I space them further apart lower on the bodice.
When gluing fabrics, my favorite glue to use is Gem-Tac. It is easy to apply, dries clear and is washable.
Begin gluing by placing a drop of adhesive slightly smaller than the rhinestones on the dress.
Using a wax tipped tool or tweezers, pick up a rhinestone and gently press it into the glue drop. The glue should seep out slightly from the edges. This creates a seal and helps prevent the rhinestone from peeling off.
Gem-Tac dries clear and using the little bit of extra glue to keep your rhinestones from falling off is important.
Continue to glue rhinestones on until your design is complete. Then, allow to dry flat for 24 hours.
A picture does not capture the stunning sparkle of this dress. With every movement, light is reflected, creating a dazzling aura. Now you are sure to catch some eyes with this rhinestone dress while saving yourself a pile of money.
He’s popped the question, and you said Yes! And while you want the fairytale wedding of your dreams, reality has set in and you do have a budget. A wedding dress is one of the biggest expenses of your wedding, yet you only wear it one day. You could spend thousands of dollars on a dress with hand sewn bead work. Or you, could buy a plain one for a lot cheaper and embellish a wedding dress yourself. The money you save you can use to splurge on your honeymoon.
First, you need to decide on what type of embellishment you are going to use. Pearls are one option that look fabulous with lace. Flat back pearls or half pearls have all the luster of real pearls but have a flat side so that they are easy to glue. In addition, pearls are sized the same as rhinestones using the “ss” system. They range as small as 10ss to as large as 34ss. These are easily glued to fabric the same as rhinestones.
Rhinestones are another choice for enhancing wedding dresses. For rhinestones embellishment, you can choose the glue on method or sew-on. There are many shapes available both in the sew-on and glue on rhinestones.
Sew-on rhinestones have predrilled holes at opposite ends enabling you to attach with a needle and thread. Non-hot fix flat back rhinestones can be attached with fabric glue. If you are unsure about how to glue, you can read our blog here about gluing rhinestones.
So, which do you pick, rhinestones or pearls? Can’t decide? Well, you don’t have to pick one over the other, simply use both to accent different parts of your gown. Both are beautiful on formal gowns and will make your wedding gown the fairy tale you dreamed of. Save money and sparkle on your wedding day by embellishing a wedding dress.
How to glue rhinestones to Figure Skating Dresses
Interested in learning more but don’t know where to start? First learn the basics of finding quality rhinestones. You can read about the 4 C’s determining rhinestones quality here. Once you’ve decided on the brand of rhinestone, you’ll need to choose the color and size.
Since you are new to gluing rhinestones to figure skating dresses, you many want to stick with either Crystal or Crystal AB. Both are popular colors which will enhance any dress. Crystal is a clear rhinestones and Crystal AB is the clear rhinestones with an iridescent coating on it.
Next, pick out your adhesive. Both E6000 and Gem Tac are widely used. I prefer Gem Tac for the ease of application. Whatever adhesive you choose, make sure it is suitable for gluing rhinestones to fabric, permanent, washable and dries clear. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. A pair of tweezers or wax tipped tool is essential for picking up rhinestones and pressing into the glue.
After you start gluing rhinestones, you will see how easy it is! As you get more confident, you can experiment with different designs and color. With practice, you’ll be good enough to design those fancy skating dresses you see during the Winter Olympic Games.
You’ve just purchased your first blinged-out tee shirt. Or maybe, you’ve taken the time to bedazzle clothing yourself. Whichever the scenario, you’ve worn the article of clothing and now it needs washing. Do you know how to clean rhinestones affixed to your clothes?
How to Clean Rhinestones on Your Blinged-Out Clothing
Certainly, there are several ways to attach rhinestones to your clothing. While the most popular is to use glue, you can also use settings or sew-on rhinestones. Generally, all method types are safe to wash in the washing machine according to leading manufacturers Swarovski and Preciosa.
However, you need to take a few precautions to protect your bedazzled clothes. First, turn the garment inside out. Then, place the garment in a soft garment bag to protect the crystals as much as possible. Be sure to use a mild detergent and set your washing machine to the gentle cycle. Neither manufacturer recommends using chlorine bleach as this can damage the crystal.
Alternatively, you can also hand wash the garment with a mild detergent. However, avoid wringing the article of clothing to protect the embellishments.
Also, depending on the rhinestone type, you may be able to dry clean the garment. Crystal rhinestone manufacturers suggest only using a hydrocarbon dry cleaning solvent. While any type of dry-cleaning solution may crack acrylic rhinestones.
Drying Your Bedazzled Clothes
Ideally, clothes bedazzled with crystal rhinestones should be line dried out of direct sunlight. Some adhesives can loosen from the heat of a dryer causing rhinestones to fall off.
Often, manufacturers of less expensive rhinestones allow you to tumble dry bedazzled clothing. However, these manufacturers recommend turning the garment inside out. Additionally, these manufacturers also suggest placing the garment in a soft wash bag to protect the rhinestones. Furthermore, the dryer should be set to a low temperature.
FAQs About Rhinestones
In addition to asking the question how to clean rhinestones, you may have other questions. We’ve compiled a list of commonly asked questions.
Does The Glue I Use Matter?
Generally, certain glues are better for attaching rhinestones to particular surfaces. For example, Beacon’s Gem-Tac is an excellent adhesive for attaching rhinestones to fabric, wood, suede, glass, vinyl, and metal. While you can use E6000’s on all these materials plus leather, cement, plastic, tile, ceramic, rubber, or Styrofoam. The manufactures do not recommend gluing acrylic rhinestones with E6000.
When choosing your glue, make sure the manufacture recommends the glue for your particular surface. Additionally, check to make sure the glue dries clear and is washable.
Can I Wash a Garment with Hot Fix Rhinestones?
Often, commercial blinged-out clothing manufacturers use hotfix rhinestones applied with a heat press. Hotfix rhinestones have a layer of glue on the flat side. When heated, the glue liquefies. The glue solidifies when it cools. This forms a permanent bond between the rhinestone and the material.
Generally, you may wash garments with hotfix rhinestones according to the directions given above. However, many manufacturers recommend line drying clothing with hotfix rhinestones. Sometimes, the heat from the dryer can reactive the glue, loosening the bond.
What Other Items Can I Bedazzle with Rhinestones?
Although clothing is a popular item to bedazzle, you can attach rhinestones to many other items. Shoes, pocketbooks, coffee mugs, key fobs, and sunglasses are just some examples of the many articles you can bling. Always check the glue manufactures suggested list of surfaces to ensure a good bond.
If you need to clean any of these items, be sure to use a mild detergent and gentle cleaning. For example, if you have a rhinestone mug, hand wash the item rather than place it in the dishwasher.
Where Can I Buy Quality Rhinestones?
Rhinestones Etc. has been selling quality embellishments since 2011. We offer fast shipping and great customer service.
I have been adding bling for over 20 years. Through my projects, I hope you find inspiration.
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