Final Touches: Add Beaded Fringe and Edges with Sherry Serafini

Those final, carefully considered details of a project can make a world of difference, taking it from “something’s missing” to a rewarding sense of wholeness. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beading project that blossoms with a wreath of color-coordinated beaded fringe, a term paper that hits home thanks to a reworked introduction, or a song that goes from promising to unforgettable by adding a subtle backbeat. The extra effort at the end is a step that can’t be underestimated.

Picot edging, chain fringe, and counted fringe bring a sense of cohesion to Sherry’s finished pieces.

Picot edging, chain fringe, and counted fringe bring a sense of cohesion to Sherry’s finished pieces.

Sherry Serafini is a master at adding finishing touches to her bead embroidered masterpieces. In her online workshop, Bead Embroidery: Successful Edgings and Fringe, she divulges the method to her madness, teaching us not only useful stitch techniques but also tips on achieving an engaging, unified look.

Sherry guides you step by step to create an edge that will easily accommodate fringe later in the process.

Sherry guides you step by step to create an edge that will easily accommodate fringe later in the process.

Edgy Border Options

Sherry starts by teaching two variations on simple edges. If you know you’ll want to add beaded fringe to a piece later, you’ll need to position your beads so that their holes are facing outward, as in brick stitch.

After a discussion on beads that will complement your work and thread that will “disappear” into your backing, Sherry demonstrates how to secure the beads through your backing and foundation. These beads cover your raw edge and also prepare your piece for even more embellishment with fringe later on. (Read on.)

If you’re interested in a beautiful edge without fringe, picot offers plenty of opportunities!

If you’re interested in a beautiful edge without fringe, picot offers plenty of opportunities!

And if you don’t want fringe? No problem! There are lots of variations you can create that cover your raw edges and give the component a satisfying finish. Sherry teaches a fun picot edge that pops with size 11 beads interspersed with purple 3mm glass beads.

Rolled edges can be stitched with one bead at a time (left) for a simple, clean edge – or with several (right) for a dense, full border.

Rolled edges can be stitched with one bead at a time (left) for a simple, clean edge – or with several (right) for a dense, full border.

Another tasteful edge technique is the rolled edge. Sherry teaches two variations, first with multiple beads per stitch to create a substantial edge, and the second adding just one bead per stitch for a simple yet refined border treatment.

Fringe can be added using one needle or two needles simultaneously.

Fringe can be added using one needle or two needles simultaneously.

Fabulous Beaded Fringe

If you’re ready to add a lot of glam, you’ll love Sherry’s techniques for adding beaded fringe. Step one: Create the simple edging you learned earlier to position the beads with their holes facing out. Step two: With your thread exiting an edge bead, string on your desired fringe beads, add a stop bead, and head back through them.

As you can imagine, there are so many beaded fringe variations available. You can work your way around an entire piece, or you may only choose to fringe a portion of it. If symmetry is crucial to your design, consider the double-needle method, in which you use one needle to work right and one to work left so that your two sides mirror each other.

Netted fringe can be added in a single row, in multiple rows, or embellished with point beads.

Netted fringe can be added in a single row, in multiple rows, or embellished with point beads.

Then came my favorite techniques of the whole workshop. Sherry demonstrates how to make delicate netted fringe, and even how to add multiple rows to achieve nets on nets. You can also add a “point bead” for a bit of extra embellishment, which Sherry describes as a bead hanging down in the center of each net.

In this example, Sherry added the center strand first. She then used the double-needle method to work out to the sides, subtracting beads equally to achieve a tapered effect.

In this example, Sherry added the center strand first. She then used the double-needle method to work out to the sides, subtracting beads equally to achieve a tapered effect.

Beyond that, you’ll learn how to make looped fringe, which can be wonderfully random if you so choose. You can even create loops with chain if you want to change it up. And finally, Sherry shares her method for creating precise, tapered beaded fringe by counting beads and using the double-needle technique.

Instead of creating loops with beads, consider using chain.

Instead of creating loops with beads, consider using chain.

Sherry’s Top Tips for Edgings and Beaded Fringe

Sherry’s expertise in bead embroidery extends to many things, including found objects, shibori ribbon, and elaborate finishes like those covered in this workshop. Here are five great tips to keep in mind when making edgings and fringe.

1. Camouflage your thread.

Match the color of your thread to the UltraSuede backing. Smoke-colored FireLine (affiliate link) often blends nicely into the background, practically disappearing.

2. Plan ahead.

If you know you’ll want to add beaded fringe later, edge your piece with seed beads so that the holes are facing outward. With the beads positioned this way, adding fringe will be a snap!

3. Tame the tangles.

Fringe needs to be very secure. If using doubled thread causes too many tangles, use a single thread to stitch your fringe and pass back through it all a second time later.

4. Make your fringe flow.

Start your fringe with the same size beads as those used to edge your piece, then increase or decrease as you like. This will ensure that the transition from the edge to the fringe is lush and full.

5. Be random or systematic.

For looped fringe, use as many beads as you like, keeping in mind the color scheme of your piece. When you need symmetry, try using the double-needle technique to make precise fringe as you work outward from the center on each side.

Left: Sherry created counted fringe that tapers symmetrically on both sides. Right: Sherry used extreme netting and point beads in this piece, which she calls “Animal.”

Left: Sherry created counted fringe that tapers symmetrically on both sides. Right: Sherry used extreme netting and point beads in this piece, which she calls “Animal.”

Calling All UFOs

If you have unfinished projects lying around, you’re in the ideal position to try out these creative finishing techniques. Grab your designs and get started!

You’ll love Sherry’s workshop Successful Edgings and Fringe, which is based on her popular video. For a bargain, subscribe to Interweave’s Online Workshops and gain instant access to all of Sherry’s workshops plus dozes of other beading and jewelry courses.

Go be creative!
Tamara Kula
Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group


Learn to finish your designs with beaded fringe and edges:

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