Make a Quick Beaded Sweater for a Holiday Gift

When it comes to making a quick handmade gift for someone, there is nothing easier and more satisfying than beading. Think of it: You take a ready-made object (a sweater, top or fabric clutch) and make it all sparkly and beautiful. I studied beading embroidery with an embellishment expert (yes, there are such jobs!) and absolutely fell in love with beading. New York City is home to several stores that have every bead you could imagine, and I have spent hours ogling the glassy beauties.

Here are a couple of good tips I picked up along the way in my own beading career:

  • Always remember to take a backstitch or two when securing a bead.
  • For more elaborate pieces, sew the beads to a separate piece of matching fabric and then secure it to the garment or object. You can remove it when you have the garment cleaned. Reattach swatch with beading after cleaning, and beads will be undamaged!

Here is a wonderfully easy beading project, a pretty beaded cardigan, by Blair Stocker, that appeared in Stitch Gifts 2011:


Beaded cardigan by Blair Stocker from
Stitch Gifts 2011
Beaded Cardigan

Fabric

  • 1 knit cardigan sweater

Other supplies

  • Crystal beads
  • Bugle beads
  • Beading thread 
  • Beading needle
  • Embroidery hoop (optional)

Finished size

  • Varies according to sweater size; beading is 11⁄2-2” wide on either side of front button placket

Detail of beaded cardigan
Prepare the sweater 1. If using an embroidery hoop, secure a section of the sweater, near one center front edge, in the hoop. Keep the fabric taut within the hoop but do not stretch the knitted fabric out of shape. You will be beading just outside the button plackets (if you have a zipper sweater, stitch the beads just outside the zipper tapes).

2. Thread the beading needle with a single strand of beading thread; do not knot the end. To begin, pull the thread from back to front, leaving a few inches of thread tail on the wrong side. Take a tiny stitch and tie a knot on the wrong side to secure the threads. Take one or two more tiny stitches to guard against immediate loss of beads in case of thread breakage.

Sew on the Beads

Randomly stitch beads onto the sweater,along the center front edges, adjusting the embroidery hoop as needed (if using). It’s a good idea to take a tiny stitch directly behind the bead after each bead (or after every few beads) is placed, for extra security. The beaded areas on the sample sweater are about 3/4-1 wide. If you’d like the beading to be more prominent, make the beaded areas wider and/or attach the beads more densely. Just make sure your beaded areas do not become so heavy with beads that the sweater droops.

 
 

Stitch Gifts 2011

Notes

  • Keep your stitches small to avoid threads being pulled or snagged when putting on the sweater.
  • Once the sweater is beaded, dry-cleaning is recommended to protect the beads.

To get more gorgeous gifts projects, buy Stitch Gifts 2011 in the Sew Daily shop. And let me know on the Sew Daily blog what gifts you are making for the holidays!

 

Other sewing topics you may enjoy:

Categories

Embellishment
Amber

About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and SewDaily.com. She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and SewDaily.com. She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.

5 thoughts on “Make a Quick Beaded Sweater for a Holiday Gift

  1. This yr. I started a non profit organization for our disabled Vets. I have come on here looking for diff. easy patterns that the four of us can use. This yr we got lap blankets, scarves, fingerless gloves, hats. All has gone well since we were able to get some help from this site. thanx. Stitching Hands 4 Disabled Vets.

  2. Beading is nice looking. I put beading on a sweater that I had purchased for my future daughter-in- law and the design I used was copied from one I had seen in a catalogue. It had peacock feathers around the neckline. It was fun to do and was very flashy when done.

  3. Beading is nice looking. I put beading on a sweater that I had purchased for my future daughter-in- law and the design I used was copied from one I had seen in a catalogue. It had peacock feathers around the neckline. It was fun to do and was very flashy when done.

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