Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beading Tutorial: Fish Scales

A diamond shaped applique covered in Fish Scales

Fish Scales are overlapping sequins laid flat against the fabric to add shine and fill space. Fish scales can be used to trace designs and edge trim. They also work very well for covering places that need to stretch, such as bra straps and sides.

You will need:

  • Beading thread
  • Beading needles
  • Scissors
  • Sequins
  • Tray/lid (to hold your beads)
  • Thimble (for pushing needle through thick layers of fabric, optional)

Begin by threading and knotting your needle. Pull the needle through the fabric where you want the Fish Scales to begin. Add one sequin. If you are using faceted sequins insert the needle from the back with the facet facing up as shown in the picture.

Slide the sequin down against the fabric and insert the needle into the fabric right next to the edge of the sequin.

Pull the needle back up through the fabric right next to where you inserted it. Add another sequin and continue the process. The sequins will begin to overlap each other creating a scale-like pattern.


Let's try changing the direction our scales are traveling to create a flower design. After I stitched down the 3rd sequin I pulled the needle up through the fabric slightly higher than where it was inserted at about the 10 o'clock position, still next to the edge of the sequin, (see picture.) This is where the 4th sequin will be placed.

The Fish Scales are now starting to turn and travel upward.

Continue to slightly move where the thread comes up through the fabric so the Fish Scales begin to spiral backward.

Continue this until you have filled in the spiral with sequins. Notice how the sequins overlap and stick out from the fabric in a little mound.

Add a few beads to the center and we now have a flower design!

Here is the same technique used on a belt - a line of Fish Scales with two flowers sprouting off of it.

Intricate Fish Scale flower and leaves on an applique.

Fish Scales covering side straps on a bra creating an interesting texture.

Fish Scales alternating between tear drop shaped beads to create a fan-shape design.

When laying down Fish Scales it is best to work from top to bottom or outside to in depending on your design. For instance, if you are making flower petals you should start your Fish scales on the outer edge and fill in moving toward the middle where the petals meet.

Have fun and good luck!

~N

4 comments:

AllyseFrancis said...

This is lovely!

Kis said...

My bra and belt of fishscales has really made me appreciate how intricate this all can be... but how fantastic it all looks!

beafarhana said...

I just wanted to thank you for your beading tutorial posts. They are Fab!

Anonymous said...

This is amazing and what i have been searching for, for a very long time i can't wait to try this technique thank you for making these tutorials!