Beads, sequins, and insights from a twirling mom

When my children were young, I encouraged them to try as many sporting activities through the local recreation center as they wanted. By age ten, my daughter had tried tumbling, ballet, soccer, poms, and golf, to name a few. Nothing was clicking as her thing. That summer she spotted baton twirling in the local rec. department flier.
Twirl case
Anna transports her hair accessories in a vintage travel case.

The class price was certainly reasonable, especially since it spanned a six-month time period. Even the equipment was relatively cheap, with beginner batons around $20.

What we didn’t know was that starting at ten years old was a little late. Most twirlers, as they are known, start around four years old – younger when twirling runs in the family. The other thing we didn’t know was this is truly a year-long activity.
Twirl Daley Debs
The Daley Debutantes Baton & Drum Corps compete each summer at the University of Notre Dame for the National and World Championships. The group has won both titles for 11 consecutive years.

While overall an economical activity, baton twirling is an investment in time and commitment. The rec. center classes feed into the corps groups. Corps perform at parades as well as local and out-of-state competitions. Here’s where the bigger accessories are needed: performing costumes, similar to ice skating dresses, are required with multiple costume changes needed per competition.

Along with costumes, twirlers need matching hair accessories -- the more shine and movement, the better. Points could be taken off by judges, if improper hair treatment is exhibited during competition.
Designs By Deblyn sells accessories at the baton festival in Milwaukee, WI, and online.
As twirlers grow out of their costumes, they sell their outfits to teammates and competitors.
One good thing about twirling outfits is that teammates, as well as competitors, sell their used costumes at competitions for a fraction of the cost of new ones. Plus, outside venders set up shop at select events, selling hair accessories such as pins, clips, and hair ties designed specifically for competitive twirling. At national competitions, manufacturers and individuals sell custom-made costumes, accessories, and equipment in all the major hotels, surrounding the stadiums which host the big events.
Anna at the Miss Shamrock Competition.

Upon purchasing a “new” used costume, with a different color scheme than the first, my daughter needed a new hair accessory. Having a craft room full of beading supplies, this offered little challenge to me. I was surprised, however, that no how-to patterns were floating around either in print or online – that might have changed since last I looked.

I decided to make my own hairpiece, modeling it off embroidered accessories featured in Bead&Button magazine and merging it with accessible materials from craft stores, like Michaels. The result accomplished everything intended: sparkle, shine, and movement, plus a color scheme to match the current costume.

For questions regarding this project or blog, please contact me at

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