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.
Sewing Beads Tutorial
Start out with knowing the basic tools needed to attach beads, and from there, learn how to sew beads of different types. These decorative items are a great addition to jazz up different parts of clothing.
This tutorial will show you sewing techniques for how to sew beads singularly, in a row and around curves.
Supplies for Sewing Beads
Basic tools needed to sew beads:
- THREAD - Use a strong beading thread that will not snap as you stitch the beads firmly onto the fabric. Many beads (particularly glass beads) 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. The thread color should match the bead and not necessarily the fabric.
- 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. You can buy a specialized beading needle, a tapestry needle or use an all-purpose one. Just make sure it fits through the bead hole.
- 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 motorized base at an even pace stringing the beads together. It cuts out the hand and eye strain of threading beads.
- SCRAP OF FABRIC
How to Sew Beads, Step by Step Instructions
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 bead embroidery pattern will determine how the bead is attached.
If your fabric is thin, you may need to add some fusible interfacing to the back.
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 dependent on one another.
- Thread your needle, either double or single, and knot the ends of the thread. Threading can be made easier by using a needle threader or a bit of beeswax or water.
- Bring the needle up from the underside of the fabric to the right side.
- Put the needle through the eye of the bead and down into the fabric on the other side.
- If your bead doesn't feel secure, repeat this process.
- Finish and knot off 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 Thread
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 Line of Beads
String the beads by adding a few beads at a time onto the needle. with larger beads, you will be able to do this with your fingers. Small seed beads may be picked up with beading tweezers.
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 the Beads
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 Sewing Beads
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 wrong side.
- Pull the thread through to be starting exactly on the line.
- Follow the directions in the first section of how to sew beads.
- Alternatively, use a couching stitch to catch the string of beads at intervals.
Other basic 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 unraveling.
- 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 the 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.
Backing Your Beaded Fabric
If your beaded fabric piece is going to be attached to a garment, you may find that the inside is a little scratchy. Consider lining the area or adding some kind of backing.
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 fabric.
- Beading Thread
- Sewing Needle
- Sewing single beads - Thread your needle and knot the end. Insert the needle in the underside of the fabric and bring it to the top. Thread the bead on the needle. Lay the bead flat and insert the needle back into the fabric. Knot off at the back.
- Sewing rows of beads - Thread your needle and knot the end. Insert the needle in the underside of the fabric and bring it to the top. Thread the multiple beads on the needle. Lay the beads flat and insert the needle back into the fabric. Knot off at the back.
- Secure the row of beads by sewing in between the beads at regular intervals.
- Use rows and single beads to create beaded embroidery designs.