I learned this cool way of sewing two pieces of fabric together, while at the same time, creating a beaded edge, from a member of the White River First Nation in the Yukon, Canada. It is often used as a decorative edging on clothing or purses. I love the technique because it preserves a traditional women's art form, and is both functional and beautiful.
Step 1: Supplies
You will need:
- a piece of felt, leather, moosehide, or ultrasuede 4 1/4" X 6"
- a sharp, fine needle which will fit through seed beads (e.g. Size 10 Sharps)
- strong thread - I use a nylon beading thread. If you don't want the stitches to show, pick a thread colour that matches the colour of your felt or hide.
- 2 colours of seed beads
- binder clip, clothes pin or other clip
- anything you want to add as an embellishment to the front
- it is also helpful to have a plain place mat or beading mat to put your beads on
I used moosehide for the beaded cardholder shown at the beginning of this instructable. However, it's easier to use felt for your first project, as the needle goes in and out more easily, so I will be using felt in the next steps to demonstrate this technique. If you have trouble pulling the needle through leather or hide, you may need to use pliers to grasp the needle.
Step 2: Cut Shape Out of Felt or Hide
Cut 2 rectangles from your felt or hide - 2 3/4" wide X 4 1/4" long.
Round the corners - you can do this freehand, or trace the curve from a pill bottle to get consistent edges.
Cut a diagonal piece from the top of one of the 2 pieces, coming down about 3/4" on one side, so that your cards will be revealed.
Step 3: Add Beading or Embellishment to Front If Desired
The front piece is the one you cut the diagonal piece from.
Add embellishment to this piece. For example, you can use seed beads to embroider on your felt or hide.
To learn how to do seed bead embroidery, see Steps 2 and 3 of this beaded moccassin Instructable:
For this instructable, I decided to attach a pre-made patch to the front of my card holder. This can be hand sewn or glued onto your front piece.
Step 4: Clip Front and Back Pieces Together, and Sew Edges Together Using Beads
- Clip front and back pieces together - you can use binder clips, clothespins or other clips
- Take a fine needle and thread with about 25" of thread. Tie a knot at the end, enclosing both ends in the knot so you are working with a doubled thread.
- Pull thread through the front piece close to the edge, hiding the knot in the space between the front and back pieces. The threaded needle should now be at the front of your piece.
- Pick up one gold bead and one blue bead with your needle and push beads down close to the front fabric. Push needle through back of fabric, coming through the front, approximately two bead widths away from your first stitch. The threaded needle is at the front of your piece.
- Pull your needle through the blue bead (just through the bead, not through any of the fabric) and pull tight. This will pull the 2 beads and hold them neatly on the edge of the fabric.
- Thread 2 gold beads and one blue bead on your needle and pull the needle from the back through the 2 pieces of fabric, close to the edge, catching both fabrics close to the edge.
- Pull your needle through the blue bead (as in Step 5), going just through the bead, not the fabric, and pull tight.
- Thread 2 gold beads and one blue bead on your needle and pull the needle from the back through the 2 pieces of fabric, close to the edge (in other words, repeat Step 5).
- Keep repeating these steps (#5, #6 and #7) until you have finished beading the entire circumference of the card holder. You will always be pulling the needle from the back to the front through the fabric.
Step 5: Continue Beading Until Entire Edge Is Finished.
- Continue beading around the circumference of the cardholder. At the top edge, you will only be attaching the beads to one piece of fabric, not two, until you round the corner to the side.
- When you only have about 4" of thread left, pull the needle to the back (between the 2 layers of fabric). Cut the thread close to the needle and tie the two thread ends into a knot, which will be hidden. Thread your needle and knot it and hide the knot between the front and back pieces.Once you have finished beading the entire circumference, pull the threaded needle through the beads you first started with to connect the beaded edge. Cut the thread close to the needle, tie a knot, and, if desired, thread the loose ends onto a needle and work the loose thread ends back into the beads to hide them, eventually clipping the threads.
- Thread another needle and finish the slanted cut edge at the front of your cardholder in the same way.
- This edge finishing technique is sometimes referred to as a picot edge in bead embroidery books.
Step 6: Insert Cards Into Your New Card Holder and Enjoy!
Impress your friends with your unique hand made beaded card holder!