Beading on fabric is one of my favorite fabric embellishment techniques, although I have to admit I’m a little addicted to it. I love to bead all sorts of different types of textile art, and sewing projects.
I sometimes like to sew beads on individually …
… and sometimes I like to sew them on in clusters along with bead dangles.
Regardless of which way you like to sew beads onto fabric, it’s important to make sure that they don’t come loose.
The best way to make sure your beads don’t fall off, is to use a strong beading thread such as Nymo which comes in a variety of colors to blend with your bead color. And it’s also important to make sure you knot your thread after adding the beads.
Beading on fabric also goes much easier if you use a strong sewing needle. Beading needles tend to be very thin and bend easily when working with fabric, so the best needle for sewing beads onto fabric is a size 9 or 10 milliners straw needle which is long, strong, and has a straight shaft which means it will easily pass through the center hole in small beads.
Sewing Single Beads
When adding beads one by one, securing them individually ensures that if one bead happens to come loose, no other beads will not fall off.
Begin by thread a beading needle with a short length of beading thread approximately 18” long. When working with a quilted project, run the needle through the batting for approximately 1” and secure with a small knot into the fabric. If working with only one layer of fabric, bring the needle up from the underside and secure with a knot.
Pick up a bead onto the needle and position it onto the fabric by making a small stitch into the fabric and secure the bead with a small knot.
To add more single beads, run the needle through the batting or the underside of the fabric to the next position. Make a small knot into the fabric, pick up a bead and secure the bead with another small knot into the fabric. This means that there is a small knot on either side of the bead and it’s now very secure.
Sewing Beads in a Cluster
When adding beads in a cluster, it’s very time consuming to secure them one by one. Securing them in bunches of four or five helps the sewing process to go a little quicker and also ensures that if the thread comes loose, only a few beads will be lost.
Begin by sewing a knot into the fabric, then pick up a bead onto the needle. Position the bead by making a small stitch into the fabric, then run the need through the batting or on the underside of the fabric, and bring the needle up into the position where the next bead will be placed.
Continue in this way adding four or five beads at a time, placed closely together, and then securing with a small knot.