Sew! Let’s Get Dressed – Beaded Accents

In the Fun in New York City post and on the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo blog “The Makers Experience” posted on February 6, we talked about the fabulous sheer bundles we have available in our Expo booth.  They are perfect for stitching up a Tabula Rasa Jacket with Swing Variations.

The beaded accent at the point of my swing side

The beaded accent at the point of my swing side

The new one I made for myself this winter has beautifully coordinated fabrics, but the weightlessness of the fabrics meant the jacket did not drape well.  If you encounter this problem, a good solution is to add some small beaded accents.  They add weight at the hems so the swing jacket drapes more successfully.  The beaded accents are also a good way to hide the thread tails that remain when you use your serger to roll the jackets seams on the outside.

Unbeaded swing side with thread tail.

Unbeaded swing side with thread tail.

(The rolled edge technique is explained in detail in the direction booklet that accompanies the Swing Variations pattern.)

Begin by collecting some beads that match your jacket.  Glass beads have a very nice weight. It is also ideal if you collect beads in a variety of sizes so the embellishment provides an interesting visual as well as additional weight.

Selected beads on a cork lined marble coaster.

Selected beads on a cork lined marble coaster.

Choose a needle with an eye small enough to slide easily through the beads and long enough to feed through the entire length of the beaded accent.  Long beading needles will work very well, though they bend easily.

  • Thread the needle with all purpose thread, doubled and securely knotted. Wax it if you wish.
  • Anchor the thread in the seam or hem and take a stitch or two to secure it on the jacket.

    BEgin threading beaded accents through the needle to the thread.

    Begin threading beaded accents onto the thread.

  • Stack the beads you have chosen onto the needle.
  • Place a small bead last. It will serve as an anchor at the “end” of the string of beads.
  • Reverse the needle and thread back through the beaded accent above the “end” bead.

    Looping around the end bead and back into the other beads

    Looping around the end bead and back into the other beads

  • Anchor the thread into the jacket and repeat the process, inserting the needle down through all the beads and then reversing the needle through the beads above the “end”.
  • Knot the thread securely to the underside of the top. Seal the knot with a drop of fabric glue if you wish.
  • Trim the thread very close to the knot.
photo beading sleeve

The beads on the end of the cuff seam.

On the cuff, instead of a tassel-like string of beads, I simply stitched 3 beads along the seam line.  They too were stitched in place twice and anchored at the beginning and end of the row of beads.

Here is another top with beaded accents, a tunic version of the Tabula Rasa Jacket with the Swing Variations.

A Tunic with beaded swing side.

A Tunic with beaded swing side.

I repeated the steps for the beaded accents 3 times with 3 different strings of beads, to create a tassel effect.

The 3 strand beaded tassel up close!

The 3 strand beaded tassel up close!

Make sure you knot securely after each strand is completed, but don’t cut the thread until you finish the entire tassel.

Are you sewing some sheer or drapey Tabula Rasa’s for spring?  Send us some pictures for Facebook or share your sheer and drapey sewing tips with all of us.

Happy Sewing!  RAE

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