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St. Petersburg Chain Basics

Learn how to stitch a basic St. Petersburg Chain with this step-by-step bead weaving tutorial!

St Petersburg Chain Basics
St Petersburg Chain Basics
This image courtesy of AllFreeJewelryMaking.com

One of the loveliest chain stitches for beadweaving is the angled St. Petersburg stitch. This simple technique uses a repetition of three steps to create a procession of slanted seed bead columns that are easy to embellish and combine for different looks. To stitch a basic St. Petersburg chain, you will need size 11/o seed beads in at least one color and size D beading thread. Two bead colors are used here to show the different steps used to create this pretty chain.

Project TypeLearn a Technique

Bead TypeSeed

Bead Technique UsedStitched

Intermediate

Materials List

  • size 11/o seed beads
  • size D beading thread
  • beading needle

Instructions

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Attach a stop bead to the thread, leaving an 8 inch tail. Pick up 6 seed beads, and slide them down to the stop bead.

  2. Stitch back up through the center 2 beads again, and carefully pull snug to form a P-shaped cluster.

  3. Pick up 1 seed bead. Stitch back down through the top three beads of the column that your thread is exiting – the long side of the P. Pull snug to lock the new bead into place at the top.

  4. Pick up 1 bead and stitch up through the two beads of the short side of the P. Pull snug to lock the new bead into place.

  5. Pick up 4 seed beads and slide them down to the beadwork.

  6. Stitch up through the 1st 2 beads picked up again, and carefully pull snug to form a new P shape branching off from the first. To help keep tension, use your off hand to push the new beads towards the beadwork as you pull the thread tight.

  7. Repeat steps 2-4 until your chain reaches the desired length.

  8. Finish chain as desired.

Tips and Suggestions

  1. You can create variations of the basic chain by incorporating patterns into the beadwork, or using different beads in steps 3 or 4.

  2. Drops, small magatamas, size 8/o or 15/o seed beads, picot clusters, leaf fringe, and more can give you wonderfully unique chains.

  3. To combine two chains together, add 8/o seed beads or 3-4mm beads in step 4. When your chain has reached the desired length, begin again from step 1 to create a second chain. In step 4, instead of adding a new bead, stitch up through the first bead of the original chain. Continue zipping the two chains together until you reach the end, then finish as desired.

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I recently learned how to do the St. Petersburg chain through a beading kit, but I wish I had used these instructions instead! The step by step photos are really helpful. Personally I find this stitch to be a little bit frustrating because I struggle with finding the right tension for my thread, but it looks very nice. I may have to give this stitch another try.

Love this bead weaving tutorial! Can't wait to try out the St. Petersburg Chain; I can make so many different projects with this technique!

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