Why I Love Brick Stitch
Brick stitch, aptly named for the way the beads sit like bricks in a wall, has to be one of my favorite all time stitches. After building my bead vocabulary with lots of techniques, I still rely on brick stitch in its many forms for most of my signature designs. Here’s why:
- Brick-stitched beadwork is sturdy. Unlike the fluidity of a strip of peyote, a strip of brick will hold its shape (up to a point; if your shape gets too large, the ends may curl from their own weight). Brick stitch allows for architectural shapes that remain stiff, yet will roll up in one direction to make tubes, bails, etc.
- You can easily increase and decrease for triangles and diamond shapes, whose slanted sides will appear smooth, though those beads are actually stepped. Only the horizontal edges are truly smooth; in rectangular shapes the side edge beads will go in and out as with peyote.
- The horizontal rows make striped patterns a no-brainer and geometric patterns are also easy to create. (Download our free brick stitch graph paper to help create your own designs.)
- Brick stitch can be circular and tubular, worked around a donut or ring, make great bails, and almost any bead size or shape can be integrated into your design in subsequent rows.
6 Brick Stitch Tips and Tricks
- Brick stitch starts with a ladder-stitched row.
- Always string 2 beads at the start of each new row.
- I prefer WildFire beading thread for almost everything, but any strong thread will work. Your thread shows a bit in brick stitch; choose a thread to match or blend in.
- Stitch from back to front as you pass under the thread bridges, so you can see where your needle is going and avoid splitting threads with your needle.
- Cylinder beads make the most uniform beadwork. If using seed beads or cubes, cull for consistent size (especially from hole to hole).
- Brick looks like peyote turned on its side; you can work fast in even-count peyote then add a row in brick stitch for odd-count peyote design symmetry!
More Fun with Brick Stitch
Have fun making one of our many brick-stitched projects, all available at the Beading Daily store! Some of my favorites are:
- Round About bangles by Dottie Hoeschen: fabulous for beginners and a whiz for other skill levels. A great way to use cool focal beads in your beadwork!
- Mandala Magic by Maggie Roeschyk: this circular brick stitch project uses a lovely variety of beads and crystals. Learn how to make a single component which can be replicated and joined together for spectacular jewelry!
- Hoopla! by Beth Kraft: create beaded bead "sliders" for your choice of cool cords. Have fun with color!
New Free Brick Stitch Project:
What's Your Sign?
Leslie Rogalski and Crystal Hudson
All the signs of the zodiac are here for a whole year of good fortune. Use this pendant project from Step by Step Beads to learn brick stitch and how to increase and decrease along the outside edges. Download What's Your Sign.
Leslie Rogalski has a degree in illustration and design, and she sold wearable art and handwoven beaded art at the American Craft Council Shows and Buyers Market before joining Interweave in 2005. In addition to being editor in chief of Step by Step Beads, Creative Jewelry, and Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, she often teaches at Bead Fest and is a presenter on the PBS television series, Beads, Baubles, and Jewels. If you have comments or questions for Leslie, please post them on the website.