Sunday, 31 July 2011

Bead work

In my last post, I spoke of the difficulty of finding suitable electric-blue thread for dressmaking.  Thankfully I finally found the funds and the time to have a proper search, and once reunited with my trusty Viscount was able to make a tunic dress out of electric blue silk.  I'm hoping to wear it when the boyfriend gets back from holiday, so as to prove that I appreciate him going to to the trouble of buying the material.

Also to show appreciation of a present (Christmas I think, from parents this time) I incorporated some beadwork into the neckline of this dress.  It was such a simple design that it needed jazzing up, and beads (or sequins) make an excellent eye-catching detail when you're not confident of your embroidery.

First identify the area or edge which you wish to cover.  Measure the area or length with a measuring tape, and use this knowledge to identify either 1) how many beads you will need or 2) how far apart you should space the ones you have.  I had a good selection of large multicoloured, small white and small multicoloured beads, so I could make an interesting pattern.

It's a good idea to lay down different sizes or colours of beads in succession, so that if one set are badly misplaced you can unpick them without disturbing the others.  I laid the larger beads first.  Tie in the thread on the wrong side of the garment and pass the needle through to the front.  Thread a bead down the thread (you may need a very narrow needle for small beads).  Pass the needle back through near to the first hole, and pull tight.  Make two small stitches on the wrong side, just underneath the bead, crossing over each other.  This will firmly attach the bead.  Now pass the needle through in the next place along.

Laying down a row of widely spaced large coloured beads, with groups of three coloured-white-coloured small ones in between, made a lovely beach-pebble effect which really goes with the tropic blue material.  You can buy packets of beads in single or mixed colours, and I can recommend using the mixed colours all together in your pieces - they're grouped for a reason.  If you find that some beads don't fit over your narrowest needle, don't chuck them but put them apart from the others in a different pot so that you don't have the same trouble next time.

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