Wednesday, December 19, 2012

DIY: pearl beads

And yet again, I am here to post a DIY. Decembers are usually full of DIYs for me. Actually, I'll be honest, I just DIY when I feel like it; and when I feel like it, I REALLY feel like it and will go over the top, out of my way to find projects to do. But December really gets me in that mood because I like making gifts and I will DIY until my fingers shrivel up and my eyeballs fall out, because I have fun doing it.

So, today's post is about sewing pearl beads onto something to make it pretty. It's similar to my last post about sewing sequins onto stuff to make it shiny except this time, it's pearl beads. But I suppose you could do this with almost any kind of bead.

And again, this is the type of project that's nice for making your old things look like new cool things but I used something that was already new, which is this shirt from H&M that was $10. It was the last one available in this grey color but it was a size 4. If you don't know anything about H&M, you should know this: their sizing is weird and makes you feel like a fatso. Seriously, a size 4 from them would be a size 0000 at the Gap. So, normally, I need at least a size 6, especially because I have some substantial boobs (at least for a short Asian girl). When I tried on this shirt, I got stuck and I was considering returning it, but then I had a brilliant plan! Scroll down to see what I did.
Oh, and for this project you will need:
  • needle & thread
  • beads ($2 from Michaels)
And hoorah! I have another cute little pictorial to share.

1) stick the needle and thread up through the fabric and string on a bead
2) stick the needle and thread back down through the fabric
3) loop the needle and thread back up through the fabric, quite close to the spot you first threaded it through and then stick it through the bead again (this secures the bead to this spot)
4) thread 2 more beads onto the needle and thread
5) stick the needle and thread back down through the fabric and then repeat step 3 on that last bead to secure it in place... and then repeat step 4 and 5 and keep going forever...
*Note that there will always be one unsecured bead between two secured beads. Technically, you could secure every bead by looping the thread through, but this saves time. If you're using SUPER tiny beads, you could probably get away with two or three unsecured beads sandwiched between the secured beads.
I noticed that the shirt had a seam in the back so I decided that since it was too small for me anyway, that I would rip open the seam and make it an open back shirt. The shirt had a small keyhole in the back, secured with a button already so I thought that it would be perfect for this type of modification. I didn't have a seam ripper so I had to use scissors but it worked fine.
Next, I used the pearl beads to sew along the edges of the ripped seams, to create a hem and to make it look prettier.
This is a photo I created on Instagram. Doesn't it look pretty? Instagram is great for making mundane things look vintage and cool.
And this is what the shirt looks like on my back. I wore a camisole underneath to make it office appropriate. The pearl beads I chose were multicolored, but in a subtle way. I think the result was pretty awesome.
And here is a photo of me taking a weird self portrait in the mirror. It's a little awkward because it looks like I have no arms but isn't the back pretty?
And here is what the self portrait looks like on Instagram. Looks a lot prettier, methinks.
So, like the sequin project, this is the type of thing that gets easier as you do it. It took me 1 episode of SVU, 1 episode of Parks & Recreation, and 2 episodes of Louie to finish, which translates to about 2 hours. If you are looking to do something similar to a shirt that does NOT have a seam in the back, I would make sure that the fabric is not the type that will unravel or fray like crazy because that will be pretty annoying. Also, it's a good idea to work in little chunks, meaning, you want to make sure you sew in sections - cut a piece of thread that is long enough to sew on 20 beads, sew them, knot the thread, and start with a new pieces. God forbid you snag your shirt on something and rip the thread that is holding the beads onto your shirt. If you used one LONGGGGG piece of thread to sew on those beads, all of those little suckers are going to fly off and make a mess.

If you decide to go for this DIY, make sure to get comfortable (I sat on my bed) and have fun. Because if you're not having fun, it's just not worth it.

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