Want to know how to fix loose beads on a dress? Need to know how to mend a beaded sweater? This tutorial will share with you the 2 tools you need to fix those loose beads quickly and easily.
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With these 2 important tools, a mending task went from nearly or entirely impossible to only detail-focused and a little tedious.
2 Important Tools for Fixing a Beaded Garment
You need a beading needle. One with a collapsable eye (the hole the thread goes through) is nice because they are easy to thread and accommodate tiny beads. If you buy or borrow a beading needle, you might use it to fix an earring or some other item. I love these needles here.
You need invisible thread, aka monofilament. 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 invisible thread will make it possible for your sewing to be less than perfect and for you to reattach any bead without your sewing being seen.
If you have fishing line (also known as monofilament), be warned: invisible thread is very, very thin, and that’s what you want. IF you want to use fishing line, it has to be a very low “test” as in, a very small fish would break it. Also, fishing line is sold on the merit that it doesn’t readily kink or knot, but we want ours to knot (inside our dress or sweater, of course), so that is another reason fishing line isn’t exactly the right tool for the job.
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.
Sewing with monofilament 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. Once you get the hang of using it, you’ll use it over and over. I love it.
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.