Beading A Dress Question.

Q: Can anyone give me a couple of tips on beading a dress? I an actually overbeading I think. I embroider a design and then add beads as needed. My questions are: How do I get seed beads to lay flat so that the whole does not show? Mine sometimes fall over so you can see the whole thing. Second question, which thread do you recommend? Should I just use one that matches the fabric or color, or do I use a regular beading thread?

A: If you overbead, the material will pucker, and rip. My main suggestion is to tie a knot often. I have repaired many a vintage beaded that unravel at an alarming rate. It's also much more difficult to bead an already finished garment. Bead embroidery usually requires some sort of interfacing or reinforcement so the fabric doesn't pucker and tear with stress. Bead applique wears better and you don't end up with any loose threads on the back to get caught in things. One of those threads breaks, and all your beads will start coming right off. If you're going to overbead, try and stabilize all the threads on the back of the piece with fusible interfacing. If you intend to dry clean your garment, be sure to only use glass beads. Most plastic beads dissolve in dry cleaning solution, or worse yet, the cleaning solution gets inside the bead and dissolves, while the impervious outside turns into a shrivelled raisin. If you're going to wash the garment, be sure to do it by hand. Not only will machine washing cause problems with thread breakage, but it may scrape any special finishes off glass and plastic beads. Those iris beads don't look so cool after the finish has all been scratched away by the washing machine and dryer.