Beaded Paisleys

Dakotah Davis 2009

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Supplies needed:

  • Paisley pattern
  • 3" to 4" square of heavy fabric - velvet, velveteen or other thick fabric works well
  • Stitch Witchery, Wonder Under or Heat-N-Bond webbing or fusible interfacing
  • Perle Cotton size 5 or 8, rayon and silk embroidery threads in complimentary colors
  • Variety of seed and bugle beads to compliment your fabric
  • Center focal bead or silk ribbon that compliments your fabric
  • Beading thread
  • Glue


Apply fusible webbing or fusible interfacing to the back of your fabric. The heavy fabric provides a good base for building the paisley. Some fabric color will show around your beading and stitch work. Print out the paisley patterns in appropriate sizes. Cut out a paisley.

You can trace the paper paisley onto cardstock or the side of an empty Kleenex box, and cut out for a more stable pattern. The large paisley shown in the construction photos is approximately 3" long.

Trace the paisley pattern onto the front of the fabric. Remove web backing, if appropriate.

Choose a variety of threads, seed beads and accent beads for your paisley in complementary colors. You won't use everything you bring out, but with a selection you will be able to pick and choose what looks best.

Stitch the border line of your paisley using Reverse Chain or heavy Chain/Braid Stitch. A medium weight Perle Cotton works well in size five or eight. This edge stitching creates a firm frame for your paisley.

Here's where you will alternate beads and stitching. Add a line of seed or other beads inside the Chain Stitching. Then add a line of Back Stitching. Rayon and silk work well for the embroidery, as they add a nice sheen and stand out from the fabric.

Continue adding thread and beads as space allows. A 2" long paisley will hold four to six rows of stitching and beads, depending on what is intended for the center. The constructed paisley shown has a total of six inner rows of beading and stitching.

Tip: Keep your threads tidy on the paisley's back to keep the fusible webbing exposed, and to minimize bulk.

You should have by now decided what you wish to place in the center of your paisley. A large bead or bead cap works well. A flat button or SRE works well, too. A center of Silk Ribbon Roses in descending order (a Spiderweb Rose followed by graduated French Knots) can be seen below.

Once your center is completed, cut out your paisley using sharp scissors. Cut carefully around the outside line of stitching and avoid clipping any of your edging stitches. Trim off any excess fabric.

If you have used fusible webbing you should be able to largely fuse your paisley onto fabric by ironing from the back, and then hand stitching around the edge to secure it. Otherwise, stitch or glue your paisley as desired.

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