Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Stitch Fun! Beaded Drizzle Stitch


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If you already dabble in dimensional embroidery, you’re probably familiar with the drizzle stitch. It’s a fun little dimensional embroidery stitch.

Somewhat twisty, kind of bouncy – you can add instant personality to your drizzle stitch by topping it with a bead.

And today, I’ll show you how!

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Aren’t they cute?!

The beaded drizzle stitch can be used anywhere you’d normally use a drizzle stitch, really – flower centers, individual unruly flowers made entirely from drizzle stitch, seaweed and grasses, or just dimensional clusters for the fun of it.

The trick here is to use a bead that has a large enough hole in it that will allow your embroidery thread (by itself, no needle) to easily pass through the whole. Sometimes, waxing the end of the thread will help it pass more easily through a bead without a needle, or you can just… yes…lick it.

For this tutorial, I’m using #12 perle cotton, a milliner (or straw) needle, and I have no idea what size beads. Just random beads out of an unlabeled vial.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

You’ll start with the drizzle stitch. If you’re not familiar with the stitch, you might want to watch my drizzle stitch video.

Bring the thread to the front of the fabric, then insert your milliner needle, unthreaded, back into the fabric right where the thread emerged, or very close to where it emerged.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

You can take the needle down in the same hole, or just a fabric thread away from the hole.

You might like to anchor your needle by using something on the back of it, like a little eraser, which we discussed earlier this week.

Anchoring the needle will help you avoid pulling it back out of the fabric as you work the cast-on stitches. It also weights the needle to help keep it upright.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Cast as many stitches as you want onto the needle. You can add beads to the ends of very long drizzle stitches, very short drizzle stitches, or anything in between!

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Here are my cast-on stitches, all ready to go.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Now you add your bead to the thread. At this point, your needle is still unthreaded, so you need to thread the bead straight onto the thread, without using the needle.

You can wax the end of the thread, lick the end of the thread, or just twist the end of the thread. Whatever it takes to get the thread through the hole in the bead! It obviously helps to choose beads with large enough holes to accommodate the thread easily.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Move the bead in towards the cast on stitches and thread your needle.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

Holding onto the wraps, pull the needle through the fabric slowly, to create the drizzle stitch, which will now be topped with your little bead.

Beaded Drizzle Stitch

See what I mean? Instant personality!

If you like this stitch and you want to find instruction for other fun stitches, you’ll find plenty of hand embroidery stitch tutorials here on Needle ‘n Thread. Besides how-to videos for over 75 embroidery stitches, there are over 60 Stitch Fun tutorials that explore more obscure stitches, combinations, composites, and little tips and techniques to add a little more fun to your stitching. You can also find an alphabetical index of embroidery stitches available here.


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(23) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,
    I love the drizzle stitch and use it regularly. I enjoyed your tutorial on this very much.
    One way to add a smaller bead to the thread is to use a dental floss threader. Just loop the thread through the opening of the floss threader and push the bead onto the threader, along its length and onto the thread. It works very well.
    You probably already know this, but I thought I’d share just in case you didn’t. Thanks.


  2. You’ve shown me beautiful stitches, intricate stitches, practical stitches, even fluffy stitches; this is the first silly stitch! I can’t wait to try it! Oooh, and I’ll use some of those brilliant, nearly neon colors of floss that I love but that don’t get used often in grown-up designs. I see some goofy happy wonderland flowers in my immediate future! And they simply must have that little photoshopped face on the beads for real, it’s hysterial! 😀

  3. I love the idea of putting a bead at the end of the drizzle stitch. Glad you thought of it and shared the idea. I, for one, will be doing just that in the future. Size 11 glass seed beads – most common size – should work well on most threads. Might take a size 8 or even a 6 for anything thicker than a size 12 pearl cotton. The only problem would be to find a bead that didn’t overwhelm the drizzle stitch because it was too heavy. With so many tiny beads to choose from, the possibilities are endless.

  4. An old-fashioned wire needle threader also works. And it’s probably something we all have in our needlework tools. But I put the bead on the threader, then the thread through the wire loop. Then I pulled the wire back through the bead.


  5. The translucent beads in your first photo look just like dewdrops. I’m already thinking of a fun project where I could use this.

  6. Thanks for sharing this fun technique, Mary! I used it immediately for a flower center on a whimsical piece I am working on – the flower is a boutonnière on the jacket that a little bird is wearing.

    It strikes me that the cast on stitches are like the first half of a double stitch in needle tatting. I believe the drizzle stitch is similar to a Josephine chain in tatting. That made it easier for me to work anyway… I also used my needle threader to attach the beads, which was faster for me than trying to poke the thread through.

  7. Mary, you are a woman after my own heart. That last photograph really made me laugh. Thank you.

    I have done quite a lot of drizzle stitch, but never thought to add beads. I would like to try adding some beads in between the stitches – would it work?

  8. Mary, as I was sitting at Starbucks drinking my tea with a miserable cold. I was hating the fact that I have to go to work instead of home to bed. Your little drizzle stitch worm made me laugh out loud. Thank you for starting my day with a smile.

    1. Ahhhh, Sarah! Glad it made you smile! I hope you feel better soon – it’s hard to face Mondays, but even more so when you’re not feeling 100%. Hang in there!

  9. Mary,

    I love your site. It’s become a huge favorite for me . I am very new to embroidery and your site is so wonderful. Your blog has really helped me understand the stitches and your tutorials are fabulous.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge & expertise, not to mention your sense of humor. The singing beaded drizzle stitch gave me a good laugh out loud this a.m.

    joy p duskin

  10. You can also use a needle threader to put the bead on the thread. Insert the threader through the bead as you would the eye of the needle, work the thread the same as if threading a needle, pull the thread through. The only time this may not work, is if the hole in the bead is very small, not allowing 2 strands of thread to pull through.

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