Learn how to sew beads and be dazzled! Sewing beads onto fabric is the perfect way to light up a garment and make it shine. There are so many types and shapes of beads that the act of sewing them onto fabric may be a little daunting initially. This easy tutorial will show you how to sew single or multiple beads.
Start out with knowing the basic tools needed to attach beads and from there learn how to sew on different types of beads or sequins. These decorative items are a great addition to jazz up different parts of clothing.
Supplies for Sewing Beads
Basic tools needed to sew beads:
- THREAD - Use strong beading thread that will not snap as you stitch the beads firmly onto the fabric. Many beads (particularly glass) as sharp inside and will cut through regular thread. Beading thread is available from most sewing or craft stores and comes in different thicknesses to suit your beads.
- NEEDLE - A needle like a straw needle and has a long straight shaft is the best for threading and sewing beads. These needles are longer and thinner than a normal needle.
- BEADS - Beads come in all shapes and sizes so look out for what you want. Consider buying them in strings or even cutting up old necklaces from second hand stores.
- SPINNER - A bead spinner is a handy gadget that will spin with a motorised base at an even pace stringing the beads together. It cuts out the hand and eye strain of threading beads.
How to Sew Beads
Here are the instructions to follow for different types of beads including a simple way of attaching just the bead or cluster of beads. The design or the pattern will determine how the bead is attached.
Sewing Beads in Singles
Adding beads one at a time makes sure the beads do not all come undone. If one bead comes loose, the other beads will not fall off because they are not dependant on one another. Each bead will have a knot and one thread through the bead and the fabric. Finish and knot before threading the next bead.
Sewing Beads in a String
Sewing beads in bunches of 3 to 6 makes the process of sewing beads quicker. Begin with a knot in the thread and bring the needle to the surface of the fabric. Thread the number of beads together onto the needle. Carry on in this fashion as you sew several beads at a time to cover the area you wanted to bead.
Step 1 - Knot the Threds
Thread the needle to make a double thread and tie a knot at the end.
Step 2 - Starting
Start beading by pulling the needle through the fabric with the knot on the side you do not want to bead. Sew a couple of stitches into the fabric the ensure the thread is secure.
Step 3 - String the Beads
String the beads by adding a few beads at a time onto the needle. Remember adding too many beads at one time is faster but not always as secure as it should be.
Take the beads on the thread and push them down to touch the fabric. Pull the thread taut so the beads touch the fabric. This is important to make sure the beads are secure and close to the fabric.
Lay the beads down so they are close to and touching the fabric. Push them down so they start where the thread is pulled up through the fabric.
Step 6 - Stitch
Take the needle back up through the fabric to come out just behind the last bead in the previous set sewn onto the beaded area. Pull the needle and the thread through the last bead. The thread should be coming out of the last bead sewn on the fabric.
Step 6 - Repeat
Continue in this way as you add more beads into the pattern. Each small set of beads will have a beginning bead secured and an end bead also secured before threading on the next bead.
Sewing Beads - Tips and Tricks
Here are some different guidelines and ideas to use for sewing on beads.
Sewing Beads in a Straight or Curved Line
- Draw your line with a water soluble pen.
- Start with a knotted thread on the worng side.
- Pull the thread through to be starting exactly on the line.
- Follow the directions in the first section of how to sew on beads.
- Alternatively use a couching stitch to catch the string of beads at intervals.
Other stitches like backstitch make a good firm stitch of a string of beads. Backstitch is particularly good for clusters.
Sewing Beads on Mesh or Tulle
The secret to sewing on tulle is to be very gentle. If you pull the threads too tight the fragile net of the tulle will snap. The sewing of the beads is labor-intensive and sewing onto the fragile net will need some enforcement.
- Sew on each bead with a double thread.
- When the bead is secured snip the thread and tie a knot at the back of the bead.
- Use a product like ‘Fray Stop’ to prevent the threads from unravelling.
- Although it feels like lots of extra work it is important to cut the threads between each bead and not to join them up. This prevents snapping of the threads.
Sewing Beads in Strips
Beaded strips of ready-made trim are useful to sew on by machine as they are ready to attach. Beaded strips can be added to a hem or sleeve edging.They may form part of an insert but their advantage lies in the fact that they are ready to sew and can be stitched by hand or machine.
Sewing Beads - In Conclusion
There are many different types of beads available. Sequins come into the decorative bead category with the one hole they have for stitching. There are pearl beads, seed beads, wooden beads, and bugle beads. All these different types of beads follow the same principle to sew them onto to fabric.