As part of my series exploring various sewing details and techniques, this week I want to talk about beading and embroidery with a few examples to inspire you and to get you thinking about possibilities for embellishing clothes if you’ve never tried anything like it before.
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So, first of all, a few thoughts about tools to get you started.
Firstly, embroidery comes in two categories…hand or machine.
I dabbled in hand embroidery many years back and basically, you need embroidery thread/floss, various needles (preferably with a long eye for easier threading) and a hoop to stretch your fabric into a nice stable base to stitch on and to avoid puckered stitches.
Machine embroidery (I’ve only ever done some borders on hemlines) requires a more substantial kit. Most sewing machines have a few built-in embroidery stitches, but you would have to invest in a computerised embroidery machine for more elaborate designs. This article on ‘We All Sew’ lists what you need to get started.
Also, check out Emily Hallman’s website for some great blog posts about her fabulous embroidery projects from last year.
Next up is beading, this requires fewer tools. Just a selection of beads of your choice and the right sized needles for the bead openings (tiny beads require very thin beading needles). You may also need marking pencils for marking out the placement of the beads in your design.
Ok, so now we’ve got the formalities out of the way, I think it’s high time I showed you the inspiration that I’ve found. Let’s dive in…
Inspiring Ideas For Beading And Embroidery
1. It’s fun to decorate knitwear. You can either embellish a RTW piece or make some lovely sweater knit fabric up and decorate it.
I love this monochrome look with white on grey. Looks like some french knots combined with other fairly simple looking stitches.
This is particularly lovely. I adore the all-over pearl design
2. How about highlighting great design lines on a garment?. I love how this dress has bugle beads applied at angles all down the seam lines.
I also adore this very simple treatment down the seam of a pair of wide-leg pants by Balenciaga :
3. Fun with denim. (when I wrote that I immediately thought of ‘Fun With Flags’ from The Big Bang Theory …please tell me I’m not alone with my mind making that association! Such a shame they aren’t making any more)
This jacket is fabulous with the beaded front edges.
And the cuffs on these jeans are a wonderful idea!
4. Visible mending is extremely popular and a great way of being mindful about not throwing clothes away when they are still wearable. I think this visible mending with the use of a darker shade backing and tiny beads is quite beautiful!
There are also some lovely ideas on this page using Sashiko embroidery stitches.
This book called ‘Mending Matters’ (affiliate link) is full of decorative mending ideas too.
5. Fabulous on black….I love how some braid has been combined with beading on this Mango outfit. The bib effect is striking.
Or how about both beads and embroidery down this asymmetric front skirt…
6. Have you thought about embellishing outerwear?
This dramatic flower embroidery on a Gucci coat is stunning.
If drama isn’t your thing, what about a subtle detail on a tweed jacket? This embroidered sleeve looks so lovely.
7. And finally, here are two examples of beading that I’ve made in the past year….
My silk chiffon Burda tank has beaded straps:
And this Burda lingerie-style camisole top has beaded cups in different bead styles and colours. I’ve yet to get into embroidery again, but researching for this post has piqued my interest.
How about you? Are you tempted to give any of these ideas a go? Let me know in the comments if you’ve dabbled in beading or embroidery on clothes. I’d love to hear about it.
PS…you can find my other posts in this series here:
As always thanks for reading. Stop by here anytime and I’ll get the kettle on 🙂
See you soon!
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Wawoooo waooooo thank you so much Diane you are amazing! In love with that dress and top too beading is the best and am going to try hand embroidery too bless you for inspiring me ❤️
Aww, thanks! You’re very welcome and I’m pleased you feel inspired 😊
Such lovely garments and inspiring ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Maybe time to break out of the comfort zone and try these techniques. . .
Aww, that’s great, thank you! So glad you enjoyed my post and it’s fun to hear that you’re tempted to try some of the ideas 🙂
Thank you Diane, another inspiring post, I need to do some beading as I have a lot of beads!!
Cheers Sue! I have loads of beads too! I’m not sure how but I just seem to acquire them..lol! I think they multiply when I’m not looking. I’ve also ended up with extras left over from client projects when I used to sew for others.
Thanks for the inspiration. I embroider, both machine and hand, as well as beading on my art pieces but have not considered doing so on clothes as yet. I am not into bling in my clothes so have steered away from this so far. However, this past weekend I saw some embroidery and beading on a shirt that has caught my imagination so maybe somewhere in the future I will give this a try.
Thanks, Chris! You’re welcome. Ooh, I bet your art pieces are fabulous 🙂
Thanks for sharing inspirations.
A couple of years ago I made some beading on kaftans and summer clothes and enjoyed the playing with glass beads, pearls and crystals.
I’d like to learn how to embroidery too but till now I’m good only at cross stitching.
Days will come when I’ll have plenty of time! 🤞
It’s always a pleasure to read your posts.
Thanks so much, Barbara! And I’m always happy that you take the time to read and comment. I’ve done cross stitch myself in the past but never much embroidery. I think out of the two processes I think I enjoy beading more anyway.
Great post. Thanks for the research and inspiring examples. Now to check out my wardrobe for a dress or top that needs a new look.
Thank you, Pat! I had fun searching for ideas. So many to try…so little time!