Monday, September 10, 2012

Beading Tutorial: Square Stitch Trim

Bead Embroidery Pendant with Square Stitch Trim

For every beading stitch and project style, there is a variety of finishing techniques that give a piece a professional look, while also providing extra durability. Protecting beadwork with an appropriate trim adds a little personality, and covers up the exposed threads.

One of my favorite techniques for finishing beadwork is a variation of square stitch. Although it takes a little extra time to weave, square stitch trim uses fewer beads than picots or fringe, and provides a nice, smooth edge. You can add this finishing technique to any beadwork with bridge threads along the edge, like peyote or herringbone, but I find it looks best with curved beadwork such as circular brick stitch. Square stitch worked in the round this way is very compact and strong - it also creates a base for extra embellishing, or seed bead bails for pendants.

Because it works so well on curves, I love to use square stitch to finish bead embroidery projects as well. This stitch is perfect for simultaneously zipping up two or more pieces of embroidery material, while adding a clean edge to the design. It can be worked with any seed bead size, and nearly any project shape, so long as there are no tight turns.

To Add Square Stitch Trim to Embroidery Projects:

Secure a comfortable length of thread at the back of the embroidery, and exit from the edge of the beadwork. Gluing your backing to the embroidery piece is a personal preference, but make sure to leave a bit of space along the edge for securing new threads as needed.

Adding Trim to Bead Embroidery Square Stitch Trim Tutorial How to Finish Bead Embroidery with Square Stitch

Pick up one seed bead, and bring the needle through the backing and embroidery from back to front. Pull the thread snug, and stitch up through the bead just added.

Pick up one seed bead, and stitch through the material from back to front, just above the previous bead. Pull snug, and stitch up through the bead just added. Spacing is key - if your latest stitch is too close or far away from the previous bead, remove the needle from the thread and pull out the stitch, then try again.

Square Stitch Trim Tutorial Embellishing with Square Stitch Bead Embroidery Finishing Technique

Continue adding one bead at a time with square stitch, all the way around the edge. You can alternate bead sizes, or create patterns as you go. Always make sure that you stitch close to the edge, but with plenty of room to keep the thread secure - check the work from both sides.

Adding Trim to Bead Embroidery Securing Embroidery Thread with Travelling Stitch

When you come around to the first bead again, pass through all of the edge beads to secure them. You can trim the thread here, or use traveling stitch to enter the embroidery and secure the thread within the main beadwork. Adding a small additional row of square stitch provides the perfect base to string the embroidery as a pendant. You can also add a loop of seed beads to a single edge bead for a basic bail.

What’s your favorite way to finish embroidery projects?

Copyright 2012 Inspirational Beading
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  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this tutorial. Perfect timing for me! I only know one edging stitch and wanted something different for my current project. Fabulous!

  2. Yes, thank you indeed!!! I'm just beginning to do embroidered beadwork and was having a problem finding a good edge to use. This is perfect and simple to learn. One question: what kind of material are you using for your backing? It looks like the stiff stuff I have, but I haven't seen any in black.

  3. You're welcome! I use wool felt for both parts of the piece, for its non-petroleum properties.