Bead Embroidery.

Q: Has anyone ever made any bead embroidery? I have been asked to bead a dragon on the back of a friend's silk wedding dress/train and am feeling quite intimidated! Do I fuse the area first, or make an applique (it's a large dragon), or what? Do you think to bead the entire piece would be too heavy? I have 16 weeks to begin and finsh.

A: If you bead directly on the dress, you could run into a problem... it is very large. I would do it as an applique and use a good iron on starilizer on the back, the way you would if you were doing machine embroidery or applique, and remember about tension in thread, and don't bead it too tight. I've done a little, and you would be surprised at how heavy even a small beaded project can become. If you bead directly on the dress fabric, it will need backing of some kind to hold the beads in place without sagging or distorting the fabric. Having the train material piled in your lap might not be the best way to do this project. I think I would opt for the appliqué technique. The finished appliqué could be stitched in place after all the beading was done. One of the stabilized non-bias lining fabrics (non-fusible lightweight or feather weight interfacing-Pellon) would be best so that it won't stretch or sag. I don't think I would try to use a fusible fabric as the fabric of the wedding dress. It might not be able to take the heat necessary for the fusible web to stick to the dress. If you do this directly on the fabric, you will also have the problem of you and the dressmaker (I assume that's not you). If you did an applique, it could be attached very late in the process (just in case you get delayed).