From the owner of Distinctive Sewing Supplies, a Canadian retailer of fashion fabrics and indie patterns.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Silk 'n Pearls - Fabulous Fabric Necklace
Necklace Tied at Back
Recently I visited a high end gift shop in Kingston, ON and noticed a lovely fabric necklace with faux pearls attached. It inspired me to make my own creation using the serged edge technique. (BTW this is not an exact copy as the fabric, materials and techniques are all different.)
I used a solid black cotton/silk voile that is 56" wide. The right side has a subtle sheen and the wrong side is matte. Like the previous fabric scarves described in this blog, I cut 1-1/2" strips on the crossgrain. This allows you to make a lot of strips with about a 1/4 yard of fabric.
Serge one edge, right side up, using a rolled hem. I used regular black serger thread in the needle and lower looper and solid black rayon embroidery thread (40wt) in the upper looper. The rayon thread has a nice sheen. As you come to the end of one strip, overlap another strip about 1" and continue on. This is how you join the strips together end-to-end. Continue doing this until you have joined six strips.
Necklace Tied at Side
Then turn the strip around and ensuring you have the right side up, serge the other side, one presser foot width away. Pay special attention to where the strips join, so that they lie nice and flat as you serge them together.
Now take your very long strip and cut it into three 85" lengths. You can adjust the length as suits you if you wish.
Starting at the middle point of each fabric strip, sew faux pearls evenly on both sides of the middle. I used three different sizes of glass faux pearls and spaced them out according to their size.
My pearls had holes through the middle and would not look very good if I sewed them directly to the fabric. So I put them on gold plated head pins and made a loop. This is where a knowledge of beading comes in handy. If you don't know how to do this you can also make them into a dangle by sewing a thread through the pearl, add a seed bead and sew back up through the pearl and then back to the fabric strip.
The glass faux pearls are heavy and weigh the strips down. I think that plastic faux pearls would work nicely and not put as much strain on the strips.
Lastly, I arranged the strips on a mannequin and tied a bow at the back. The bow looks great because the serged edges give the strips some body and the ends curl nicely.
Cutting and serging the edges went very quickly. Preparing the pearls and sewing them on took several television episodes including The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, It's Sew Easy, Project Runway All Stars and Sewing with Nancy.
The possibilities are many: Rip strips of fabric and knot them together for a bohemian look; Sew on all different kinds of beads, buttons, coins, etc.; Try different types of fabrics or use ribbon; Even incorporate the necklace into your garment by tacking it down or weaving it through buttonholes.
I hope this has given you some food for thought and inspired you to give it a try.