Getting started with Brick Stitch

by | Sep 15, 2020 | Beaded Jewelry, Creativity

Following my last post,  and after ending the Summer Stitch Along, I made the decision to give myself the gift of time and try a new skill I have been meaning to try for years! Beaded Jewelry.

I think I purchased my first supplies back in 2018 and they have sat at the bottom of a drawer, untouched, until a couple of weeks ago!

If this is someting that is also tempting you, which I highly recommend simply for the grounding and relaxing side effect, I am running through what inspired me to try, the supplies and where I got mine in the USA, the method and some general thoughts on the process as a complete newbie.

Let’s get started!

The Inspiration

Important note before we proceed: all the work I am showcasing here belongs to artists that I link to.

Please do not copy their work, take credit and/or use for commercial purposes. 

Should you share the results of your work using their patterns, make sure that you give them credit for the inspiration. 

I came across Beading as you do nowdays, via Instagram! Oh and followed by tons of Pinterest searches for patterns and tutorials.
Out of the artists I have come across, there are a few that I have found myself coming back to over and over for their colorful and enchanted universe.

They are mostly French and here are some, just to name a few…

Coeur Citron

I love how cute and colorful her creations are.

Emilie not only sells patterns in her Etsy store but she has also co-authored a couple of magazines and books on the topic and she also has tons of tutorials and resources on her blog. Most of her resources are in French but she there are a couple in English. I reference all of them below.

Lili Azalee

Co-author of the magazine Le Magazine des Perles Addicts (the Magazine of the Bead Addicts) with Coeur Citron, she sells patterns and has many tutorials and free patterns on her blog, all linked here below.

Rose Moustache

Again, there is something quite special and enchanted in Rose Moustache universe. Many of her patterns can be found in her Etsy store and I was quite taken by the Mandril which scared me to attempt but after a couple of false starts and figuring out how to adapt the colors with the ones I had, I could do it! Proudest achievment so far!

Starling Sparrow

Charli Stardust has been stalking birds and making jewellery since she was 12 years old. 

I fell in love with the patterns of her bracelets and I purchased two of them. I adore the results and wear them practically on a daily basis. She also makes amazing animal portraits with her beads!

What you need

You will need basic supplies to get started. These include the beads (obviously), a very thin needle, some thread and scissors

I list them here based on what I have learnt so far, just expand the text to read more!

Note: You will also need brooch pins, bracelets or necklace clasps and chains or earing attachements depending on what you want to make of your creation but I won’t get in details here.

The Beads

To be honest, I didn’t really have any ideas of what I was aiming for to begin with. Everything I read was pointing towards Miyuki Delica 11/0.

Miyuki is the brand,  Delica is the type and 11/0 is the size.

I wish I could tell you a lot more about it, but my knowledge is still very basic, so I encourage you greatly to do your own research if you feel the need to.

What I can tell you for sure, is that I first ignored the recommendations and purchased a starter set of cheap beads and well, they were cheap. Irregular and weirdly shaped so the results looked very “3rd grade Mother’s day gift”. Sure, there is nothing wrong with this, but I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist… the story of my life… 

Miyuki beads are tiny and have for main advantage to be of very regular shape and size so when you follow the brickstich method,  they seat very well in regular rows. They are definitely worth investing into.

I have spent a lot of time researching places where to order the beads and I ended up going to Barrel of Beads as I find them to be great value for money and shipping is pretty fast too!

I found that Beadaholique also had a good choice, slightly more expensive but they can be another good one to check if you are looking for a very specific color that’s unavailable at Barrel of beads.

I noticed that Joann started selling them BUT more than double the price than Barrel of Beads and very poor color choices.

The Needle and Thread

The needle

You will need to purchase long beading needles. You can look for the Miyuki brand but I personally went for another brand I found in Joann. The main thing is that it is long and thin enough to pull through the beads easily.

The Thread

As far as that thread is concerned, I have tried both the KO nylon thread and the Fireline .005″ (microfused braided bead thread) and they do a pretty similar job.

The difference I have found is that the Fireline threads is slightly stiffer which keeps it placed tightly but you have to pull it a little harder.

The nylon thread on the other hand is a lot softer.

If you can translate the page from French to English (otherwise drop me a line) Lili Azalee does a great job at explaining the difference with the thread and other supplies in a collection of posts here.

Brick Stitch, How to

The method that originally caught my eye is the Brick Stitch and I went on looking for easy patterns and tutorials to get me started.

Well , when I say easy, strike that, I went straight away looking for patterns I wanted to do… So I muddled through for a little while, watched videos and looked for illustrated tutorials until it all made sense. I think the original frustration is the reason I stopped and parked it all 2 years ago.

I am going to try to link a few that I feel are clear and well done.

I am also linking here a couple of patterns that are great to start.

I recommend that you don’t do what I did but instead chose easier patterns that require just a few colors so that you don’t have to buy 10 different straight away. Lesson learnt, my friends, lessons learnt…

Illustrated and Photo Tutorials (click to expand)

Here is a small selection of patterns that should be easier to begin with. 

Please always give credit to the artist and do not use for commercial purposes.

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