Sunday, May 27, 2018

Japanese Bead Embroidery Phase 1 - Finish

The EAC seminar is coming up and I have a few pieces I want to submit for the exhibition. Before I can do that, I need to finish or frame a few of them. Over Victoria day weekend, I managed to finish off one item on my list: turn my Japanese bead embroidery piece into an eyeglass case.

When we took the class, we were given a two page document telling us how to finish it. I ended up using their instructions but also kept in mind what I learned while finishing my Hana fob.

Here's a list of my materials and tools:
  • fabric scissors
  • sewing needle and black sewing thread
  • quilt batting (I used two layers)
  • interfacing (I used the same iron on interfacing from Hana)
  • backing fabric (mine is from the Kelmscott collection)
  • pins
  • fabric glue (I know, I know glue is the devil)
  • clips
As always I did this over multiple sessions. On the first session, I sprayed the back of my piece with water and left it to dry on the stretcher bars. I picked a nice sunny day so I can put my frame in front of a window to dry faster.

On the second session, I cut out my piece leaving a border. I also cut the batting, interfacing and backing fabric using the template that came with my kit. The batting needs to be slightly smaller, so I trimmed the edge by eye.

Turning the piece face down, I placed the batting and then the iron-on interfacing (shiny side down) on top. I ironed the interfacing onto the back. Because it's bigger than the batting, it created a sort of seal all around the quilt batting.

Along the curved edges of the red fabric, I placed a few cuts to help fold the edges more neatly. This is where the glue comes in and I was careful to only put some on the very edge. As I applied the glue, I finger pressed the edges. I had to work fast as the glue dries quickly. I did use a small iron to really set the edge, especially along the curved sides.

On the final session, I put in the backing fabric and finished the eyeglass case.

First step, was pinning my fabric to the back of the piece along one side.

I smoothed the fabric down and folded the entire thing. The point of this, is to trim the excess fabric.

Then started an exercise in patience. The instructions say to tack the fabric onto the beaded piece. I ended up using the ladder stitch as I find it's much cleaner. Now this is where being careful with the glue payed off. By making sure to only apply glue at the very edge of my red fabric, I was better able to sew the pieces together. I didn't have to go through hardened glue.

I started along one side, turning the edge of my blue fabric as I went a long. The tricky part came when I got to where the eyeglass case would be folded. I had to fold the entire thing and stitch it like that.

Here is what it looks like from the front and back when it's done. Notice how the blue fabric is tense?

The final step is to sew the sides together to close it off. I aligned the sides and used clips to hold them together. I used leftover quilt batting to make sure the clips don't damage the stitching.

To stitch the sides together, I used the overcast stitch trying to get as close as possible to the beaded edge.

And there you have it!

Here it is with some glasses to demo. I really like how it came out in the end, especially with that fabric.

I wouldn't mind doing this pattern again with a different color combination, this time finishing it into the Kobukusa. But that's for another time.


  1. How gorgeous! Your careful finishing is fantastic.

  2. This is a lovely finish to your piece! It’s probably much too nice for me to use. You have done a great job of finishing. And I know what you mean about being careful with the glue. Stitching through hardened glue is not fun!

  3. Oh, well done indeed - that looks lovely!

  4. Wow, this is beautiful. Anyone who received a Kobukusa would have a treasure for life (never mind what was placed in it). Your work is always wonderful and thank you for the step by step photographs.

  5. Lovely! The last I saw you just started it!

  6. This turned out beautifully Dima!

  7. Gosh this is gorgeous...I was wondering why the original shape was so off, but of course it's perfect as an eyeglass case. Are you actually going to use it? I think I'd be way to scared to damage it!

    1. I probably won't use it. It's too pretty!

  8. wow, it looks fantastic! Are you pleased with it? I'm also curious, the phrase "eye glasses" sounds strange to me - is this what glasses are always called in North America?

    1. It's strange, I never noticed. I guess I've always used it interchangeably. I never even noticed :D

  9. This is just stunning! I might use it to keep my glasses in when I'm asleep but I wouldn't put it in my handbag, it's far too lovely.

  10. Oh wow, this looks fantastic! I love the colours, so pretty.