Beaded bags are an essential fashion accessory in cultures around the world, from elegant Indian seed bead purses to glitzy crystal bead clutches. The extra sparkle and shine makes a beaded bag the ideal accessory for special events or a fun night out. If you want to craft a bag to fit your personal style, follow these steps to make a simple beaded purse.
Gather the Supplies
Before purchasing your beads, sketch out the beading design you want to create so you know which shapes, sizes, and colors you need. Gather an assortment of seed beads for a classy look, or purchase chunkier beads for a more casual bag. You also need a needle for threading the beads along with some fine plastic thread. For the bag, purchase silk or ultrasuede for the outer fabric, a fine fabric for the lining, and fusible interfacing to facilitate stitching. You also need a chain or straps for your bag if you aren't making a clutch. For a quicker project, you can opt to purchase a handbag to decorate with beading.
Create Your Bag
For a simple envelope bag, cut two identical pieces of your outer fabric to your desired dimensions, sewing them together with a double stitch while leaving the top open. Fold the top end over, and add a single layer of stitching to form the hem. Cut your interfacing 1/4 inch smaller than the fabric on all sides. Iron this interfacing onto the wrong sides of the fabric. If desired, attach the chain or bag straps at this time.
Stitch the Beading
Cut a length of plastic thread, tying a knot to one end and the needle to the other. Thread the through the needle to begin stitching them through the fabric. Feel free to use a single stitch for one two three beads, or create more complex beading patterns with a beaded backstitch. This stitch involves threading three beads together, sewing them into the fabric, and coming back between the second and third bead before adding another three beads.
Gluing the Beads
If you don't want to take the time to stitch the beads to your handbag, make a simpler version by gluing the beads to the interfacing using a hot glue gun. This method works best for larger beads, but avoid bulky or rounded beads that may be easily torn off. Use the pattern sketch you created to attach the beads in their appropriate positions, placing a drop of glue on the fabric and holding the bead in place until it dries. The resulting handbag may not be as elegant as a sewn beaded purse, but it is ideal for a quick project or children's craft.