Beads are a big component of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Float riders toss thousands of bead necklaces to enthusiastic spectators, allowing everyone to join the celebration by bedecking themselves in purple, green and gold "finery".
I decided to make Mardi Gras "beads" for my Quilty 365 block. I used the smallest Perfect Circles template and chose some vivid purple, green and gold fabrics.
I discovered there is a thin line between a "just right" and too large seam allowance on these little circles. A quarter inch seam allowance is way too big, but if you cut the seam allowance too small, the fabric will fray when you gather the circle around the template. I found a generous 1/8" seam allowance worked best.
The scissors in the picture (also by KKB) were extremely helpful in cutting out the circles - they have finely serrated edges that help hold the fabric steady during cutting.
Since my seam allowance was so small, I wanted to use a fine gauge thread for the running stitch used to gather the circles around the template. I use Aurifil 50 wt. thread for all my sewing, and it worked great for the running stitches.
I used a water-soluble marker to mark the outer "bead" circle and then just eye-balled the inner circle. I held all the beads in place with a dot of fabric glue.
I started stitching the beads early Mardi Gras morning, so I needed some New Orleans coffee to get me going!
I used matching thread to applique all the beads. I didn't realize the inner circle was a little wonky until I was almost finished, but Mardi Gras isn't all straight and organized, so I didn't mind.
I found I did have the skill to make circles this small, but I'm not sure about the patience. Making lots of circles this size is probably a project one wants to take in small bites - not as part of a marathon!
PS - no affiliation with Karen Kay Buckley, I just find her products to be very useful!