How to: Flat Herringbone Beading Stitch 101 Tutorial

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flat herringbone beaded bracelet

Hey beautiful! Today I will show you how to bead the flat herringbone stitch; another beadweaving basic, which will serve as a great foundation for future creations. Flat herringbone is very versatile, and can take on many different looks when the bead variables, such as: color, size, shape, etc. are changed. 

In this video, I will share all of my herringbone tips and tricks, and hope to inspire you to give this stitch a try, or a second look. Please see below for recommended materials, and for a list of my flat herringbone beading tips:

Materials List

NOTE: You may use all sorts of bead sizes/shapes in the flat herringbone stitch, and that’s part of the fun. When just learning, though, I highly recommend starting out with size 8/0 seed beads, if possible. The larger, uniform, seed beads will help you to learn the stitch with a clearer view.

Before Beginning Flat Herringbone:

  • Decide how wide you want the FH stitch; choose an even number of beads because this stitch is completed two beads at a time.
  • Decide on a design. Do you want the piece to be all one color? Stripes? Chevrons? Plan out color changes, and patterns before starting, and keep in mind the desired length of the final product.
  • TIP – Start practicing with a Toho or Miyuki brand, size 8/0 seed bead. Trust me… 🙂
  • TIP – Choose uniform size beads, like Japanese brands, which will keep the herringbone pattern consistent, and aesthetically pleasing.
  • TIP – If using multiple colors, try to stick with the same brand of bead. Bead sizes can vary slightly across brands, which will affect the uniformity of the finished piece.

Create the Base:

  • Begin with a base of ladder stitch. I recommend creating a base that is two beads high because it will be more substantial to hold onto when adding rows of herringbone.
  • Exit from the top of one of the beads on the edge to get ready to add additional rows of beads in flat herringbone (FH)

  • TIP – If this is your first time practicing, make a ladder stitch base that is 2 beads tall, and 8 beads wide.

Create the first Herringbone Row:

  1. Pick up (2) beads, sew down through the next bead on the base. 
  2. Sew up through the next bead on the base.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to the end of the row.

Notice how the two beads are sitting in a V shape. 

TIP – Think of this stitch in terms of “towers of two.” Length is added by continuing to build onto the same towers, and the beads become connected as you continue to build up.

Adding Length:

(Without exposing thread on the edges)

Some beaders add beads to the edges of FH to hide their thread when moving up to create a new row. Others simply move up and leave the thread exposed. But, did you know you can create a new row without having to add additional beads, or exposing thread? You can! 

  1. Before adding more beads, sew under/around the thread bridge that is underneath the bead you are exiting. Pull tight, making sure the working thread has caught onto the thread bridge.
  2. Then, sew up the same bead, and the bead above it. The thread is now exiting up and out of the bead on the end.
  3. Create a new row by following steps 1-3 in the section above.
  4. Repeat steps 1-2 in this section to turn-around, and get into position for the next row.

TIP – Turn the piece around when beginning the next row, if you like to bead in the same direction.

TIP – When you become proficient with this beading stitch, and you have good control of your thread tension, you may take a shortcut by sewing down and up through the beads on the previous row at the same time, as opposed to separately.

Finishing Your Flat Herringbone Design:

There are multiple ways to end a FH piece. Here are three examples:

  1. End by sewing the last two rows together in ladder stitch fashion, or by adding on two additional rows of ladder stitch. Use a clasp such as a multi-hole tube clasp, and secure it to the beadwork by creating several loops of seed beads on each end.
  2. OR…taper the ends of the beadwork by sewing the remaining rows of FH together, and continuing with brick stitch; reducing the width of each row by one bead, until the piece comes to a small point on each end. Use a lobster, toggle, or other type of single strand clasp.
  3. OR… create a button hole at one end of the FH, and to sew a button securely on the other. I recommend this method after you have some experience with beadweaving, and the herringbone stitch, under your belt.In order to create a button hole, you will leave a section of the FH piece vacant, which is appropriate size for the button to fit through. It is also important to place the button hole and button in the right spot, since the piece will no longer be adjustable (unless you add multiple buttons at different lengths.

flat herringbone beaded bracelet

Other Herringbone Beading Projects:

If you Like this Tutorial...

While you’re here, check out my other posts about basic beading stitches:

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Have any Question or Comment?

2 comments on “How to: Flat Herringbone Beading Stitch 101 Tutorial

Sue Meismer

What colors are in the raku version above with built-in button cuff?


Hi Sue! This one includes the opaque and transparent red picasso, and yellow picasso seed beads – size 8/0. Thanks for asking!


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