Beads and sequins add colour and texture to nearly any fabric item, including clothing, pillows and tablecloths. Cover a plain shirt or dress with shimmering sequins to create a new evening look or create a picture with rows of seed beads sewn on a decorative throw pillow. Applying large number of sequins and beads is a time consuming process since you need to attach them using hand-sewing techniques, but you will become faster as you practice the application.
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Thread your needle with an all-purpose thread that matches the colour of your fabric. A 30 cm (12 inch) length of thread is usually sufficient to attach one bead.
Pull the ends of the thread together evenly and tie a knot. This creates a double thickness of thread on your needle.
Place the bead on the right side of the fabric in the desired location and position.
Push the needle through the wrong side of the fabric so it emerges right next to one of the bead's openings. Pull the needle and thread all the way through so the knot catches on the back of the fabric.
Guide the needle through the opening of the bead and push it back down through the fabric on the opposite side of the bead.
Push the needle up through the fabric underneath the centre of the bead and pull the thread taut.
Guide the needle all the way around one of the threads extending from the bead's opening. This creates a loop of thread on the right side of the fabric.
Guide the needle through the centre of the loop you created and pull the thread taut. This creates a knot to secure the bead to the fabric.
Trim the excess thread with scissors but be careful not to cut through the knot you created.
Thread a needle with approximately 30 cm (1 foot) of clear thread or an all-purpose thread closely matching the sequin colour.
Tie a knot in one end of the thread.
Push the needle through the wrong side of the fabric at the centre of the desired location of the sequin. Do not push the needle all the way through the fabric at this time. The pointed tip of the needle should be emerging from the right side of the fabric.
Slip a sequin onto the needle and push it down the length of the needle so it's flush against the fabric.
Hold the sequin in place with one hand and pull the needle out of the fabric until the knot at the end of the thread catches against the back of the fabric.
Insert the needle into the right side of the fabric directly above the sequin and pull it all the way through until the thread is taut against the top edge of the sequin.
Push the needle up through the centre of the sequin again and pull the thread taut.
Insert the needle into the fabric directly below the sequin to firmly attach the sequin to the fabric.
Push the needle through the wrong side of the fabric as in step 3 to attach the next sequin. Continue the process until you run out of thread or finish sewing all of the sequins.
Tie off the end of the thread by pushing the tip of the needle through the wrong side of the fabric and then directly back through the fabric from the right side. Pull the needle slowly out of the fabric and the thread will form a loop. Guide your needle through the loop and pull the thread tight.
Slide your needle under the knot you just created to form another loop. Guide the needle through this second loop and pull it tight again to secure your sequins.
Trim any loose threads with a pair of scissors.
Tips and warnings
- If you wish to sew a bead onto fabric with the opening of the bead facing out, use the sequin instructions to attach the bead.
- Do not attach more than 10 to 12 sequins using the same piece of thread. This way if the thread breaks, you will only need to replace a small number of sequins.
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