Help-Beading Garments.

Q: I am interested in adding beads to doll clothing. I am using 15/0 beads and have tried adding two, three, and even one at a time, but am not able to get a smooth flow. I have tried on various fabrics, and still no luck. What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

A: One technique is to couch the beads. Couching is laying down a (relatively) long thread of beads on the surface of the fabric which is then held down with little stitches that cross the thread. It is possible to get a nice smooth curve with couching. Bring the needle to the front of the fabric, put on the beads you need and take it to the back. Come up to the front again, near where you first came up and take a small stitch across the thread carrying the beads (roughly at right angles to it). Take another stitch - about three to four beads further along, and so on, until you have anchored the entire length of thread. There are more directions on couching beads on my website: Go to the section on card beading and look for the blue flower instructions (Warning - this is a graphics-intensive website). Whether you are couching or using some other technique, it is usually a good idea to use an embroidery hoop or stretcher bars to keep the ground fabric flat. You can get 3" embroidery hoops for small items. If that isn't small enough, you can baste edges to the piece to use the hoop. I work in the indentation of the hoop (upside down from the way you would embroider) so the falling beads are caught. Also when using a very small hoop, this makes it easier to start and end threads.