From the owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies, a Canadian retailer of fashion fabrics and indie patterns.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Fabric Necklaces - My Next Addiction
A sewing friend who saw my earlier "Making Lanyards" post, sent me some photos of fabric necklaces that she thought I'd be interested in. And she was right. Immediately I pulled out some printed cotton fabric and started to cut strips. I was just back from a lesson on my new Janome serger at the Oakville Sewing Centre and figured that a rolled hem would make a perfect finish to the edges. And so here are the results of my most recent creative exploit.
Choosing Fabric: Just about any lightweight woven fabric will be suitable for this project. Choose fabrics from your stash or scraps left over from a previous project. You can make necklaces to coordinate or complement a garment you have sewn for yourself.
Tools and Supplies: A rotary cutter, clear quilter's ruler and cutting mat. A serger that sews rolled hem edges. Three cones of thread. Hand sewing needle, thread and 11mm shank button. Fabric glue.
Step One: Use fabric pieces that are 45" wide selvedge to selvedge. Press the fabric using some starch to give it extra body. Fold the fabric carefully in half on the lengthwise grain selvedge to selvedge. In order to avoid a "bend" at the fold line, line up one of your ruler's horizontal lines with the fold. Cut one inch strips on the crossgrain. Eight or nine strips is usually enough for a necklace but that's up to you. You will need one extra strip for testing and finishing the ends.
Note: If you don't have a rotary cutter, clear ruler and cutting mat, don't despair. Just take a regular ruler and mark off one inch strips. Cut them with sharp fabric scissors.
Step Two: Take the one inch strips to the ironing board and press them lengthwise, wrong sides together.
Step Three: Thread your serger with thread to coordinate or contrast with your fabric. I used regular poly black serger thread. Set up the machine for rolled hem edges using your manual and test on a scrap. Adjust until you like what you see. Serge the raw edges together. Do not cut off your serger thread tails.
Note: If your serger cannot do rolled hem edges or if you are afraid of them, use a three-thread narrow serged edge. If you don't have a serger, use your sewing machine. Set it to a narrow zigzag and shorten the stitch length. It will be just as pretty.
Step Four: Line up your strips on a table or ironing board placing one of the selvedge edges of each strip together. Arrange the strips one on top of the other in the colour order you prefer. You might also want to ensure that the right side of the serging is all facing the same way, but this is personal choice.
Step Five: Pin this end of the necklace to the ironing board and braid the serger tails together. Form the braid into a loop that will accommodate a button of your choice, and tuck the loop carefully in between the layers of fabric.
Step Six: Take to your sewing machine and secure the ends and loops together by stitching back and forth three or four times.
Step Six: To cover the stitching at the end and finish the end nicely cut a two inch length from an extra serged strip. Hand stitch the short end of this strip to one side of the end of the necklace. Using permanent fabric glue to secure, wrap the strip around the end of the necklace and then turn and stitch the remaining short end to the necklace. One end of your fabric necklace is now finished.
Step Seven: Take the loose strips at the other end of the necklace and arrange as in Step Four. Make sure the strips are in the same order as at the other end. Or not... as you wish.
Step Eight: Stitch the ends together with the sewing machine being sure to secure all strips. Even up the ends by cutting off the excess fabric and serger tails 1/4 inch away from the stitching line.
Step Nine: Cut another two inch length of serged strip and hand sew and glue to end of necklace as in Step Six. Do not knot off thread.
Step Ten: Find a lonely single shank button in your button stash about 11mm in diameter that goes with your necklace. Sew it to the cut end of the necklace securing with several stitches through all layers. Knot off. Trim any dangling threads and you are all done!
The same fabric necklace is shown on the mannequin doubled, making it look more like a very funky collar. I chose three coordinated fabrics from M&S Textiles. The printed design is based on aboriginal Australian artwork and is called Bush Tucker. It comes in white, black and red.
But you can get creative and make the necklace in all sorts of fabrics. Holiday theme, metallic and silk douppioni fabrics come to mind.