One of the best reasons to sew is to make clothing that is as unique and creative as you are — and to have a great time doing it. Combine all these things (uniqueness, creativity, fun) and you might end up exploring one of my favorite types of embellishment: beading!
Beading doesn't have to be complicated, but if you're doing it right even the simplest looks can express your personal style. As an example, let me teach you how to sew round beads onto a collar. But remember that no matter what you're sewing, the main principles remain the same.
1. Prep Your Fabric
Before you do anything else, press your fabric well. If your pattern requires you to interface, do that first. I've used a peachskin crepe for my collar, so the interfacing helped give it enough stability to support the weight of the beads.
Make sure you also mark out your seam allowances (or stitching line) to help you place your beads — you don't want them getting in the way when you begin to construct your collar. Although I don't show it in my pictures, I highly recommend staystitching any curved edges to avoid misshaping, as you'll be manhandling your fabric quite a bit!
2. Decide On Your Design
Now's the truly fun part: experimenting with bead placement before committing to a design. I tried out different formations and borders and even toyed with the idea of creating a polka-dot effect. I'm a sucker for florals, though, so I settled on a flower-head design nestled on each scallop.
3. Measure and Mark Your Placings
To ensure that my design was centered, I measured the length and width of my flower head, then the width of each scallop. I marked the center of my flower head with a little "x" on the back of my fabric.
4. Attach the Beads
With all the prep out of the way, you can finally start sewing beads on your fabric — just double up your thread for extra endurance and you're ready to go!
Start by finding your mark on the back of your fabric and passing your needle through. Once your needle's on the right side of your fabric, thread a bead through it and down your thread.
Then insert your needle quite close to your initial entry point and pull out to the back of the fabric again. This ensures the bead is tightly secured and will help keep the shape of your design.
The pictures above highlight, once again, the movement you want to make with your needle in order to tightly secure your beads. Be careful not to pull your thread too tightly or you might end up with unwanted puckers on your fabric.
5. Admire Your Handiwork!
Beautiful, isn't it?
And your inner perfectionist will be happy too, knowing the ugly threads will be out of sight by the time you finish sewing up your garment.