Heather Thomas

Sewing Fabric Beading into the Design on Your Fabric

Heather Thomas
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Duration:   19  mins

Beading can be a fun way to add texture and embellishments to fabric. Heather Thomas shows you how she incorporates fabric beading into her work, explains what kinds of beads and supplies she uses as well as how to plan out a design.


When it comes to fabric beading, you can either bead a design onto a plain piece of fabric as a way to embellish it or you can enhance a design already on the fabric. In this tutorial, Heather is adding fabric beads to a piece that she hand dyed using a method known as deconstructed silk screening. Her fabric has many different circular designs on it already that help decide the way in which the beads will be placed. Heather discusses how she plans ahead as to where she is going to add beads and stitching and explains how she balances everything on the piece so one section doesn’t overwhelm another.

Beads and Thread

For her piece of fabric, Heather uses many different kinds of beads. She shows the different sizes and shapes of beads she uses, including everything from small circular beads, large square beads and even fun shaped beads like flowers and leaves. She then explains where and why she uses the different shaped beads. When adding a quilt embellishment like fabric beading, you want to ensure you are using a strong thread that will keep the beads securely in place. Heather explains what kind of thread she typically likes to use as long as it fits through the opening in the bead. She suggests other thread options if the bead opening is very tiny.


Just as she changes up the types, shapes and sizes of the beads in her piece, Heather also uses a variety of stitches. She explains how to decide where to put the different stitches as well as shows how to form them.