Sewing on beads

If you're sewing on lots of beads it's a good idea to use a beading mat, a fluffy piece of fabric which makes it easier to pick the beads up with your needle. Choose a needle with a small eye so that your beads slide over it easily, and thread it with sewing thread. It's easier to knot the end of your thread when you're sewing beads, then bring the needle up from the wrong side of your fabric where you want to put your first bead on. Thread the bead onto the needle, then bring your needle back through at the same width of the bead. If your stitch is longer than the width of the bead you'll end up with thread showing, and if it's shorter your bead may not sit flat on the fabric. Repeat this for each bead you're stitching on.

Back stitch

Back stitch is a linear stitch which forms a continuous line, making it great for outlining. To work it, bring your needle up from the reverse of your fabric at the start of your line, and create your first stitch. Next, bring your needle up a little further along the line, the same distance as the length of your first stitch. Then work a stitch back along the line, putting your needle into the fabric where your first stitch ended. Continue to work along the line in this way - coming up a little way along the line and then working the stitch on the surface back in the direction you started. At the end of the line, take your needle to the reverse of the fabric and fasten the thread off. 

Blanket stitch

Blanket stitch can be used on its own, to appliqué a shape onto the fabric or to join two pieces of fabric together. All of these are worked in the same way, the key thing is to have a line you're following as you work this stitch, why is typically used to edge a shape. 

Start by bringing your needle up from the reverse of the fabric at the end of your guide line. Then create a small perpendicular stitch to your original line, where the end of your stitch lines up with where you first brought you needle out. Loop your thread underneath the needle before you pull the stitch tight. Keep working along your line in this way with a series of perpendicular stitches to your original line. On your final stitch, make a small stitch along your original line to hold the final blanket stitch in shape. Fasten your thread off.

If you're using this for appliqué, the line you use to guide your stitching is the shape you're stitching on, and the perpendicular stitches should sit within the shape. If you're joining two pieces of fabric, then put the pieces wrong sides together, and use the edge of the fabric as your guide line. 

Brick stitch

Brick stitch is a textured hand embroidery filler stitch. Work the first line of stitching by creating one short stitch, then one long stitch, twice the length of your short stitch directly next to it. Continue your first line of stitching as one short stitch followed by one long stitch. 

Work your second row of stitches as equal length stitches, all as the longer length stitch. Keep each stitch adjacent to the corresponding stitch on the previous line. Work as many lines of stitching as you need to fill your shape. 

Once you've reached the edge of your shape, work a final line of alternating short and long stitches, as you did to start off, to complete the fill of the shape.