With these 2 important tools, a mending task went from nearly or entirely impossible to only detail-focused and a little tedious. If you buy or borrow a beading needle, you might use it to fix an earring or some other item. The monofilament can be used on wedding veils and dresses (I have added and moved a lot of bustle snaps for friends using monofilament) and it can be used with a regular sewing needle which will be less flexible and have a much bigger eye.
The above photo is not great, I admit, but it captures pretty nicely how difficult it is to see and and knot monofilament. Difficult or not, it is totally worth it.
If you have these tools, or beg or borrow them, what else have you used them for, dear readers? Happy mending!
I have had this pretty beaded sweater for over a year and it has sat in my mending stack for about 11 months because I knew I owned and could not find 2 very important tools for re-beading the loose beads on the front.
In order to mend loose beading, you need a beading needle. Of course, test out a regular sewing needle (not a machine needle) and see if it will easily pass through the bead but seed beads and the like are skinny minnie and a beading needle is necessary. A beading needle is slender, often times flexible, and has a tiny eye. This very narrow eye makes it very difficult to thread with regular, whatever you have in the sewing basket-type thread. The second item that makes repairing beading possible is monofilament thread. This is very much like fishing line (also often called monofilament) but skinnier. Sewing with it is a lot like sewing with cobweb, so be warned: It is hard to see, hard to knot, it tangles easily in some situations, but because it fits through the tiny eye of a beading needle AND because it makes your repair job nearly invisible, it is preferable.
You can get a beading needle from a sewing store like Joann (my personal favorite) but you might ask around to borrow one. Unless you are planning on actually beading often, it seems a little silly to buy a package of 5 beading needles for the once or twice a year repair project, but do what you like. They are a fairly inexpensive notion and you might be glad to have them. It’s your sewing basket. I found mine in my 4-H sewing bin. As in from 4th grade. More on that later.
However, you might consider splurging on a new spool of monofilament because, just like the fishing line, it has memory and old monofilament “remembers” that it has been wrapped around a spool for untold years and will remain in a quasi-spiral which can lead to tangles. On my husband’s bass fishing boat, such tangles are referred to as assholes for reasons you will see should you use very old monofilament. Proceed not only with frugality but with patience dear readers.
The next step is securing your cobweb/monofilament to the fabric at hand. If you are mending a sweater, tying a knot at the end may not be sufficient. The knot just won’t end up big enough to anchor the monofilament to the backside of the sweater. What you can do if this is the case it pass the needle through from the backside to the front, and back through to the backside about a quarter inch from where you pushed up, being careful to leave a long tail for you to work with. Tie the tail in a square knot (or whatever knot you can tie handily) and trim the tail. Of course, if your monofilament is thicker, or your material is more closely woven (like a dress shirt) then a regular ol’ knot will do. Also, if you were able to get regular sewing thread through the eye of the beading needle then knotting will also be sufficient. There’s lots of variables here but if you are reading this I bet you have a lovely item that needs you to fix it to be enjoyed once again. Onward Wildflowers!
Because my beads were sewn on (and coming undone) in a straight line, sewing them back down was a piece of cake. Don’t get hung up on perfection. Bring the needle up through the garment, through the bead, and back down again. Repeat. Don’t repeat so many times that you only have 3 inches of thread left to tie the above mentioned difficult knot. You need at least 6 inches and a prayer to tie off without frustration. On an all-over beaded design like mine, I worked from left to right, bottom to top. If you have a fairly large area, a little method to the madness is wise. Because my sweater, beads, and factory thread were all dark blue, it was tricky to see what I had resewn and what I hadn’t. A few beads on my sweater were lost, never to be found again, and that is okay. You hardly notice it and I am not going to worry about it. Fixing my sweater that had a LOT (maybe 25% of the whole front of the sweater) of loose beads, this took me about 40 minutes to mend.