How to Sew a Beaded Bag

Instead of knitting this bag, sew yarn and fabric scraps onto stabilizer and embellish with beads.


Materials and Tools:

2 yards of 6 different yarns (for the purse)
4 strands of 48" to 52" yarn (for the strap)
scraps of fabric, ribbon or snips of thread
9" x 20" water-soluble stabilizer
8" x 18" cotton fabric (for purse)
8" x 18" cotton fabric (for lining)
9" x 20" thin cotton batting
clear nylon monofilament (invisible) thread
decorative thread for quilting
tube mixed seed beads
size 12 beading needle
beading thread
1/8" ribbon
decorative button
sewing machine
rotary cutter and cutting mat
container of water
straight pins
wooden chopsticks


  1. Lay the piece of stabilizer on a flat surface.
  2. Place small scraps of fabric, ribbon and snips of thread on top of one half of the stabilizer to act as a background and give the bag depth.
  3. Cut 2 yards of six different yarns into 8-inch pieces. Starting 1/2 inch from the top, lay the yarn across half the stabilizer.
  4. Fold the stabilizer in half, top to bottom, sandwiching the yarns between the fold. Pin securely.
  5. Using a sewing machine, stitch around all four edges of the stabilizer sandwich using invisible thread, removing the pins as you sew.
  6. Stitch a 1/2-inch grid pattern over the sandwich to secure all the yarns and fabrics.
  7. When all the fibers have been securely stitched, submerge the piece in warm water for about 30 seconds. The stabilizer will begin to dissolve. Swish to help dissolve the stabilizer. Rinse in warm water until the stabilizer is completely washed away.
  8. Lay flat to dry for two hours.
  9. To make the bag strap, assemble four pieces of yarn together and stitch down the length with a zigzag stitch. Set the strap aside.
  10. Lay out the piece of batting, stack the foundation fabric on top followed by the newly-dry yarn fabric. Line up the top edges and pin all three layers together.
  11. Stitch horizontally across the piece at 2-inch intervals with decorative thread. On the other side of the purse, (the end that is not covered with yarn), quilt the design of your choice.
  12. Trim to 7 1/2" x 17".

Add beads

  1. To bead the purse, cut a length of beading thread about 18 inches long. Double the thread and tie a double knot in the end. Starting at the top left of the bag - 1 inch from the side and 1 inch from the top - bring the needle up through the top layer of fabric. Pick up three to five beads onto the needle and scoot them down to the end of the thread. Insert the needle into fabric right next to the last bead. Bring the needle up through fabric an inch or two away from the last bead and repeat, using three to five beads at a time on the needle.
  2. Stop beading 1 inch from the edge of the fabric. Skip a couple inches and bead another row in the same manner. Continue until the front part of the purse is beaded.

Add the strap and finish the purse

  1. Position the strap on top and 1 inch from the side of the unembellished half of the bag. Stitch in place. Add a button loop made from a 1/8-inch strip of ribbon.
  2. Place the lining and bag right sides together and pin to secure. Stitch the purse and lining together at the top and bottom.
  3. Open up the yarn and fold it in half so that the two seams sewn in the last step line up one on top of each other. Pin to secure.
  4. Stitch one side of the bag from top to bottom. Stitch the other side, leaving a 3-inch opening in the lining.
  5. Turn the bag right side out. Stitch the opening in the lining closed. Tip: Gently push out the corners with wooden chopsticks after turning.
  6. Tuck the lining into the bag, then press on the non-beaded side to flatten.
  7. Line up the button across from the loop and hand sew it secure.

Sharon Benton, Woodinville, Wash.
Web site:

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