There are many different techniques to sewing on beads. I tend to use seed beads, but there are so many other types of beads that can be used – See my supplies list on beads.
Sewing each bead on individually is the most common. However, using different techniques allows you to create different layouts. Below are some examples of using beads in different ways.
When sewing on beads it is important that should one come loose, you don’t loose all your beads. To avoid this, use strong thread – typically nymo thread and a fine needle that will fit through the hole of the bead usually a size 9 or 10. If you don’t have nymo thread, thread your needle with a strong thread and double it with a knot at the end.
When I begin to sew with double thread, I stitch my needle through the fabric and back down to the underneath, where I pass my needle through the loop made by the knotted end. I always make a small stitch either side of or underneath single beads and after every 4 or 5 beads, I make a small knot. That way should the thread break – only 4 or 5 beads are lost.
Combing these two techniques can lead to some interesting effects…
Another technique is to thread on some beads onto your thread. Take your needle over the last bead you put on and back through the centre of the other beads before going back through the fabric – this leaves a small string of beads protruding out – like stamens on a flower.
Up until now we have only used seed beads, There are many different types of beads that can be used. See my supplies list on other types of beads.
There are some aspects of different beads that need to be noted these are with Bugle beads and Sequins.
So now that you have some ideas on how to sew on beads to your work. Try various combinations of beads, colours and techniques. Use contrasting thread to add another dimension to get the look you are after.
There is one thing to note in regard to adding beads for bag making. I like to add most of my beads once I have the majority of the panels stitched together as I would hate to run over a bead with my sewing machine as I attach various samples together.
As I build out my website, i will be adding more techniques for embellishing. However if you are interested in finding out more now…
check out this book from Amazon – Embellishing with Anything: Fiber Art Techniques for Quilts–ATCs, Postcards, Wallhangings & More by Gladys Love