Questions & Answers: Beading Help

Here are some of our favorite beading questions that we've gotten over the years. Maybe a few of these will help you too!

I need to replicate beading on a wedding gown for a look-a-like doll. I am having trouble keeping the spacing even. I am working on Satin and it is difficult or impossible to count threads. Is there some sort of template I could use over the dress that would be a tear-a-way? The pattern is bugle bead, space, bugle bead, space, small bead, space, repeat.

Satin is not a friendly fabric to mark is it. My best suggestion would be to use a tulle or netting that you could carefully cut away when you were done. Lay the tulle/netting (depending on your bead and bugle size you'll have to decide which would be best, probably the netting) directly on your satin and baste in the seam allowances. You really only have to tack it into place. Be certain you have it lined up exactly even before you start. Then use the grid holes on the netting to place your beads. When you're through, snip the netting away.

I need to sew beads on a see through fabric but I don't want the knots to be too visible, or the threads running from bead to bead. How do I tie each bead off so they will not undo? I've tried a simple double knot but if the bead gets pulled it undoes very easily as I needed the thread ends to be short.

You're definitely on the right track, you just need to take it a little bit further. A double or even triple knot with very fine, lightly hand-waxed thread would work. But before you snip the knots close, use a clear seam sealant like Fray Check on the knot. Just a dab (I put mine in a clean, empty nail polish bottle so that I can greatly control the application) on the knot - and let it dry completely before trimming the threads. Of course do attempt to get the thread a close in color match to the fabric as possible.

I bought a pair of beaded jeans and after wearing them only once, the beads are falling off. I looked at the inside of the jeans, and it looks to be a continuos string of thread connecting all the beads. Is there something I can iron on or sew on to prevent the thread from breaking every time I wear them? I'm hoping that I don't have to stitch each one individually.

I can give you several ideas/answers/suggestions.

  • 1. Don't ever buy another pair of pre-beaded jeans.
  • 2. Get a bottle of seam sealer like Fray Check and dab some on each and ever bead connected from the inside and outside.
  • 3. In addition to that, fuse down a strip/piece of fusible tricot over that section. Be careful though not to use too hot an iron it will melt. But it's soft and flexible and won't add bulk. Also if you do that, cut the edges into curves - no hard points- will help to stay on better.
  • 4. Hand sew/secure each on of those suckers in place. Or at least, knot off every few beads. Normally that's that we do: knot between each or every few beads and then use a seam sealant over the knots as added protection.

How do you clean oxidized bugle beads? The beads are on the bust portion of a gown. There are also pearls on the bust area.

What are the beads made of? What shape are the pearls in? I'm afraid that you're going to have to remove and replace all the bugel beads. Be sure to check the fabric after you've removed them to ascertain that the fabric hasn't been damaged. I do wish I had better answer for you...

I've made a peyote stitch 1/4" band and am trying to sew it on a neckline. I'm having trouble making it straight and lie flat. I've tried sewing just edges catching edge beads. It tends to bubble and go crooked. I want it perfectly straight and flat.

First off a question for you: what type of neckline is it? Is the neckline is a strong or gentle curve, did you make the bead band curved also? Like anything else, curves work with curves, flat/straight with flat/straight. If the beaded band is prefectly straight it simply will not lie nicely on curved edge.

I'm sewing a beaded embroided netting and would like to know what type of seam to do?

Boy you like challenges don't you! The best seam would be a rolled edge - very small and flat. If you can't do that, then a very small serged edge. A french seam is the third option, but that might make you nuts trying on netting. Good luck to you, and keep those tweezers handy to pull beads.

I'm trying to hand bead on tulle for my daughters wedding veil and not having much luck keeping it straight and even. I'm attempting to use bugle beads in a V pattern with seed beads at the top and bottom. I plan on adding some 4mm Swarovski crystals in the V after the bugle beads are applied but can't get it uniform. It's also very difficult to see. Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

Okay, I think I can make this a bit easier for you.

  • 1. Get some sheets of white tissue paper - as much as is needed to cover the area you're beading. You should probably use several layers of sheets.
  • 2. Transfer the design onto the tissue paper - use a pencil, colored pencil with thick lead would work best visibility wise. Do not use a marking pen - it's eat right through the tissue and stain the tulle.
  • 3. Layout the veil - and measure off where this design is suppose to go.
  • 4. Lay the marked up tissue under and pin in to place. You can use a nice hand running /basting stitch after you pin in - to make sure is stays in place.
  • 5. Bead! You can bead through the tissue paper (remember to sew those beads on SECURELY, with waxed doubled thread or special beading thread).
  • 6. When finished remove the tissue paper. All of it. Every single little bitty piece of it.

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