Hi! Today I finally had a go at creating a simple beaded berry slip and, as I took photos of the whole process, I thought you'd enjoy sharing it with me. I decided to have a go at a blackberry as you can get a few more colours of bead in the berry than with a raspberry, but this process will work just as well for plainer red berries too. You don't need to use all the different colours I did, I just thought it would be fun to do so. Even as few as one single shade of bead will work out just fine. Here are the six packs of Mill Hill seed beads ready to use:
First, mount a piece of fabric to which you will stitch your beads into a small hoop. You really should use a colour of fabric that will blend in with the beads (black would have been ideal here) and you'll see why later on. For photographic purposes, a light background is helpful though.
Thread a beading needle with an appropriate colour of sewing thread - I used black this time - and begin to stitch down your beads. Make sure they stand up on end (not taking the securing thread back down into the fabric too close to the bead helps), and adjust them with your left thumb if they try to sit flat (assuming you're right-handed, that is. If not, then swap over if it works best for you that way).
Continue until you have a closely packed gathering of beads slightly larger than the area you want to cover on your main fabric.
Stitch a circle of running stitches all around the edge, a couple of millimetres (that's about 1/10 of an inch) from the edge of the beading, but don't secure the last stitch yet.
Then cut out the berry about the same distance from the stitches on their outside. Here there is slightly too much fabric for this size of berry, so I had to trim some more off.
Pull on the thread to gather up the whole berry and secure on the back. Here you can see me using the thread to neaten in any loose edges of the fabric that would otherwise stick out and show.
I still had the gathering thread attached at this point and used it to begin sewing the berry down. This can be quite tricky and regular slip stitch may not be convenient here. You'll need to make sure you can really manoeuvre your main fabric frame in order to get the berry secured. Don't be afraid to take the securing thread up above the first row of beads if need be. It looks fine. See how your stitches lie and take it from there.
Here's the berry stitched down totally, but showing that you can never pack your beads closely enough and really should use a fabric that won't show so clearly through the beading!! Whoops! But, as I said above, it was better for tutorial photographic purposes, so all is not lost.=)
Here you can see me beginning on the second of the sepals, working with #12 pearl cotton in an needle-based open-based picot (another time for that one, but I'm sure you can find a tutorial somewhere if you can't wait!!!LOL)
I think it'll pass for a first attempt, don't you? If you do a much larger berry, then you can stuff it with a little toy stuffing/fibre fill during the attaching process to make sure it sits up well.
During this process I learned quite a bit, not the least of which was the importance of using a suitable colour fabric to hold the beads! I tried drizzle stitch for the sepals, but boy is that one hard stitch to master! I need to have another go, and to do that one in #8 pearl cotton as #12 is really too fine for that. I also learned that, yes, I would use some more useful greens in #12 and plan to get an order in soon!
Next time I want to have a go at berries worked directly onto the fabric over something like felt padding and also tiny berries with no padding at all. Will report back when those are done too.
© Elizabeth Braun 2012