Thursday, June 30, 2016

Fabric Beads Tutorial

I am currently involved in a fabric bead swap on FaceBook with  the Rag Bag Gals group.  I have started making my beads - some using ribbon trims, felt and beads.  Following is a brief tutorial on how I make the basic bead.  After I reach this step, I start embellishing with beads.

First, I pick out my trim.  The piece I am using is actually three pieces of metallic ribbon sewed together and it is a scrap.  Don't remember what I initially used it for, but I did save the excess.  I then cut felt measuring against the ribbon to determine the length of the bead.  I then wrap this around a metal Knitting needle (I like size 8, 9 or 10) to determine the width.  I cut felt to this length and width for a basic barrel type bead.  For a contoured bead, I elongated the felt and cut it in a modified triangle.

Next, I wrap the felt around the needle and pin in place then sew it.  You could also use glue but I find the glue at times becomes hard to sew through when adding additional embellishments.

At this point I measure and fit the ribbon around the felt.  I like the gather the edges so all the felt is hidden and found the ribbon was too narrow for the barrel bead, so I added some additional ribbon to the edges.  I usually like to fold in the raw edge, but on the barrel, I didn't leave enough so I left the raw edge.  Make sure you have enough ribbon to overlap so there is no felt showing.  If there is, add a piece of ribbon over the raw edges.  

Here are the beads sewed and the edges gathered.  Pull the gathers tight to the needle.  Now they are ready for embellishing.  I recommend you keep them on the needle when you do this so you don't sew the center channel closed.  The bead on the right is not as round as I would have liked.  Next one I will make the piece of felt longer so there are more wraps.
Here is a view of the beads from the top so you can see the opening.

Hope you found this little tutorial Helpful.  I used ribbon for my bead covering but you can use the same technique with fabric too.
Here are some of my finished beads.  The bead in the center was not done with this technique.