Easy Beaded Fabric Embellishment Techniques & Tips

29 Oct 2012

Did you ever have one of those quilts that was almost finished, but just needed a little something? A little sparkle, a little more texture, a little oomph to catch the eye? Chances are, what the quilt needed was some embellishment.

beaded embellishments on fabric
Sewing beads on the edge of a motif is
an easy way to embellish.
Photo from Embellish Me by Laurie Wisbrun.
When that happens to me, I reach for my favorite embellishment techniques: embroidery and beading. I find embroidering and sewing beads on fabric so relaxing, and it doesn't take much of either to give your quilt art some pop.

One of the simplest ways to add beaded embellishments to your artwork is to outline a motif on the fabric. In the book Embellish Me: How to Print, Dye, and Decorate Your Fabric, author Laurie Wisbrun and several contributors show how sewing beads on fabric using seed beads, bugle beads, and a focal bead, can have a big impact on fabric embellishment.

Here is an excerpt adapted from the book:

1. Following the existing lines created in the fabric pattern, use seed beads to trace the edge and create a more defined shape for your design. Due to their small size, seed beads are a great choice for detail work.

2. By using beads which are complementary to the shapes/lines you'll be creating, like the bugle beads, you can enhance the fabric pattern with newly imagined details.

3. A great way to create a focal point is with a unique, stand-out bead.

4. Using beads to fill in spaces within your fabric pattern creates lines and adds texture and interest. Here, the rest of the flower center has been filled with complementary-colored seed beads to accentuate the focal point.

Isn't it amazing what an impact that makes?

Laurie and her contributors include many more embellishment techniques and ideas using beads, embroidery, ribbons, and buttons, plus stitching and surface design technques to make your quilt art pop. Embellish Me is a fun and informative book that can reach for any time your fabric art needs a little something, and you will find an answer.


P.S. Have you tried this technique on your quilt art? What's your favorite way to embellish? Leave a comment below.


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