Last week, as part of the Stitch Fun series, we saw how to embroider a simple scalloped edging using buttonhole stitch and beads.
Today, I’m going to show you a different version of a scalloped edging. It also uses buttonhole stitch, but instead of the larger beads we used last week, worked over slightly looser scallops, this tutorial will show you version 2 of a beaded and scalloped buttonhole edging, using tiny seed beads.
What I like about this particular embroidery finishing technique is that the scallops are a little sturdier and the beaded edging along the scallops is much smoother.
Both beaded buttonhole edging techniques start the same way, with a backstitch line. You can refer to Version 1 of the beaded buttonhole edging to see how to set up the edge of the fabric using the backstitch.
In today’s tutorial, I used three strands of regular DMC embroidery floss (from the six). I stripped the floss and threaded the three strands into a #7 crewel needle. I used three strands for both the backstitch base line and the first layer of buttonhole stitches.
Once your backstitch edge is worked and you’ve finger pressed your fold along the backstitch line, bring your needle up into the fabric behind the first backstitch (this would probably be on a corner, if you’re finishing a square or rectangular piece of embroidery).
Skip the next backstitch, and, taking the needle under the third backstitch from the beginning of the line, come out over your working thread and pull through, as shown in the photo above.
Remember not to pick up any fabric – you’re using the backstitches as the anchor for the buttonhole edging.
The next buttonhole stitch after a long one is a short one, and it’s made by passing under the very next backstitch, coming out over the working thread, and pulling through.
The tension on these buttonhole stitches should not be too lose. It’s easier to keep an even tension on these stitches if you keep them somewhat tight – not tight enough that they pull on the backstitches, but not so loose that they are floppy. You can see in the photo above about how tightly I pulled by buttonhole loops.
The next buttonhole stitch is a long one, skipping one backstitch.
Continue alternating long buttonhole stitches (by skipping a backstitch) and short buttonhole stitches (by working a buttonhole over the very next backstitch after a long buttonhole) until you reach the end of your line, or, if you’re working around the outer edge of a stitched object, until you’re back at the beginning where you started.
If you’re working around the outer edge of an object, as you come back to the beginning, gauge your stitch length so that you end up with a short and a long buttonhole stitch next to each other where you meet the beginning of your stitching.
To end the scalloped buttonhole base here, just take the needle down behind your last backstitch, into the seam of your work and anchor it by making a few tiny stitches in a place where they are hidden by the seam.
Now it’s time to buttonhole the larger buttonhole scallops and put the beads on!
Switch to a #10 or 11 crewel needle (or a beading needle, if you have one). The needle you use here must be able to pass through a small seed bead (size 15/0) with one strand of floss threaded through the eye.
Bring the new needle up behind the first backstitch, where you began your initial scalloped foundation.
Pick up one seed bead and then work one buttonhole over the three-strand buttonhole base, by passing under the base stitch (this is a long buttonhole, made of three strands). Do not pass under the backstitch, now! Just under the looser, long buttonhole stitch.
As you pull this buttonhole stitch tight, pull it towards the beginning of the scallop where you just made your stitch. You want to fit a good five or six stitches on one long scallop, so you need to make sure you’ve got room there to do that.
Once you’ve finished that first little buttonhole stitch, pick up one more seed bead and make the next one in the same manner.
Continue working one buttonhole stitch at a time over the long foundation stitch, picking up a single seed bead, until you have filled the long scallop. I used five seed beads (and therefore five buttonhole stitches) to fill one long scallop.
In the short buttonhole stitch on the foundation, just place one bead. I used a green seed bead to mark where this single buttonhole stitch is.
Once you’ve stitched one seed bead onto the short buttonhole scallop in the foundation, start covering the next long buttonhole.
This works best if you can keep the number of stitches and beads the same across each scallop.
And this, by the way, is why it’s important that your initial backstitch foundation is as evenly stitched as possible!
Continue down your line, covering all your larger foundation buttonholes with buttonhole stitch and seed beads.
Then, just take your needle to the back under the last backstitch, and anchor the thread by taking some tiny stitches into an area of the seam that won’t be seen.
And that, my friends, is the second version of a beaded buttonholed scalloped edging – and methinks it is the way to go, when you want a nice edging with a little zing from the beads, but an edging that is sturdy and that holds its shape well.
As I mentioned in the last tutorial for the scalloped, beaded buttonhole edge, this technique would make a great addition to any Little Things that you might be stitching from Lavender Honey and Other Little Things. In fact, this particular technique would work great with the Little Things, because it uses tiny seed beads and makes a nice, firmly stitched buttonhole edge.
Let’s See Your Work!
If you ever do anything with it, let me know! Send me pictures! I love to see what the Needle ‘n Thread community is up to, and it’s especially heart-warming and encouraging when you learn a technique from here and put it to good use! You can submit photos of your own work inspired by Needle ‘n Thread by dropping me a line any time!
You can find heaps more stitch tutorials here on Needle ‘n Thread! The Stitch Fun series features step-by-step photo tutorials for stitch variations, composite stitches and stitch combinations that are perhaps a little more obscure or a little more challenging, while the How-to Embroidery Stitch Videos cover over 75 basic and more advanced embroidery stitches.