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Lazy Stitch Beading Instructions

Lazy Stitch

Lazy Stitch Beading Instructions

About Lazy Stitch:

Native Americans of the Plains commonly use Lazy Stitch to create beaded designs on clothing and accessories. Instead of creating a Loomwork Strip that you later attach to the item, with Lazy Stitch you sew the beads directly to the fabric or leather.   The design should be drawn to actual finished scale on a piece of paper then traced onto the work surface. Designs that are going to appear on opposite sides of an item should be reversed for a mirrored effect. For example, on a vest, the design should appear as a mirror image on each side.

You can also bead directly onto a leather strip which you can later attach to your item. This technique allows for the creation of beaded designs that you can add to Blankets or Buffalo Robes, Leggings, Leather Shirts, Pipe Bags and other bags, and Wrist Cuffs.


Getting Started:

Lazy Stitch designs are created in rows. You will fill each row with a short strand of beads.  Crafters use between 5 and 9 beads per section. To begin, sketch your design on bead graph paper. Using an odd number of beads and rows will provide a clear center point for your design.  Transfer your design to the fabric or leather, marking each row that you will fill in.

Thread the needle with about 2 feet of thread. Tie a knot in the end. From the back of the material, insert your needle so it comes up through the line you have drawn to mark your design. Pull the thread through until the knot stops.

Add the beads for the section you are starting.   Insert your needle on the line and pull it until the row of beads is tight. (Fig. A). Bring your needle back up immediately next to the row you just stitched, and repeat the stitch in the other direction (Fig. B).

Continue to fill in your pattern this way, remembering to change bead colors as necessary. If you are creating a strip that is interspersed with rosettes (as is commonly seen with Blanket Strips), you will bead or attach the rosettes first, then add the beaded design as close to the rosette as possible.

Fill in the gaps between the strip and the rosette with appropriately colored beads.

Note: A blanket strip usually has four rosettes. Here are some typical designs.

Here are some examples of items you can decorate with Lazy Stitch:

Find the Supplies you need for your own Lazy Stitch project at The Wandering Bull, LLC!

Watch Chris’s video on how to bead using Lazy Stitch.