How use semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, and crystals in your garments
Beads are often used in everyday life items that aren’t considered to be pieces of jewelry. When I think of beads that are used outside of jewelry I think of either home decor or clothing.
Most notably beads can be found on evening wear or wedding dresses. Adding beads to a special occasion dress or outfit like crystal just add some sparkle to the outfit and work to highlight certain areas by catching and reflecting the light, giving the outfit, and the person a sense of glamour. Pearls are often also found on wedding dresses as they give the dress some visual texture, and they just look so good with lace!
Beads can also be found on everyday items of clothing like tops, dresses, and even pants. They work to dress up a piece of clothing a little more, and give the consumer yet one more reason to buy that special item of clothing.
Adding beads to clothing is not all that difficult. It is often quite fun to do, and the sense of accomplishment once you are done and the piece looks amazing is well worth it. My suggestion when adding beads to an item of clothing that are going to be permanently attached to the garment is to work with a smaller sized bead. Three millimeter crystals , or size ten seed beads work well, as a rule I would not go much above four millimeters, but ultimately it is going to come down to the type of garment you are working on, and the bead that you want to use and if it will be a good fit. Three millimeter crystals , are a favorite as they are a perfect size and they give both a fun sparkle and some colour to the piece.
When sewing the beads on, work with embroidery floss, preferably the colour of the clothing item so that your stitches will disappear. Embroidery floss comes with six strands so I suggest pulling the strands apart, and sewing the beads on with either two or thee strands of the floss. Embroidery floss will be stronger than regular sewing thread, but you could also use something like nylon if you prefer.
If you want to add something to a dress, top, skirt or jacket with out making it permanent there are a few things that you can do. Not making your changes permanent will have a few benefits, the first being that it will make the item much easier to wash- with no fear of looking any of the beads in the bottom of your washing machine, and the second being that it will give you the ability to give a garment multiple looks. First you can embellish a separate piece of fabric with stones, pearls or crystals , and then using snaps or hooks you can attach the fabric to the item of clothing that you are wanting to add it on to. Another thing to do is securely attach clasps to your item of clothing, at the shoulders for a top or dress, or main seam lines for other garments, and then create strands or ‘faux necklaces’. Once you are done, finish them off with soldered rings on both ends, and then you can mix and match them onto your garment.
With all of these many different techniques to try out, there are endless possibilities for the person that just simply can’t get enough of beading.