I like accessorising as much as the next girl but my goodness some of the tat in the shops is way over priced. A statement necklace can turn a plain t-shirt and jeans into a more styled outfit. “Effortlessly stylish” is the phrase the glossy magazines use! And by statement necklace, I mean a fabric necklace (only very easy beginner sewing required).
My way of making these necklaces is little different to Actually Amy’s and Tilly’s Guest Post tutorials which suggest to knot the fabric between beads. Knotting works just fine and is quick but it uses more fabric and can look a bit unbalanced if your beads and knots are similar sizes. So, here’s my method:
First cut a strip of fabric that will make a tube wide enough to fit your polystyrene (or plastic or wood) beads into. To calculate width, measure the circumference of your beads and add 3/4″ – this gives you a 1/4″ seam allowance plus room to feed the beads into the tube. My bead circumference was 2 1/2″ so I cut 3 1/4″ wide strip. To calculate length, allow half a bead circumference and 1/4″ per bead plus extra for the ties if required (see below for alternative ties). The length really depends on your design but for this one I started with a 46″ strip (sew a few shorter strips together if needs be).
Fold the strip in half, right sides facing, and sew lengthways using a 1/4″ seam allowance. After sewing up the tube, check that your beads fit easily.
Turn the tube right side out. If you don’t have a fancy turning stick then you can attach a safety pin to the seam allowance, flip it back on itself to insert it into the tube, feed along till it re-appears the other end and pull. Next you’ll need embroidery thread and your polystyrene beads.
To hide the thread knot inside the tube, pass the needle inside the tube (like the safety pin technique above) then pierce the fabric to exit in the middle of the tube. On the outside wrap the thread around the fabric 5 times. Then insert the needle through the wrapped thread and into the tube.
The needle should exit the tube again about half a bead circumference away. Feed a bead into the tube, sliding it right up to the first thread tie. The thread should be in the right place to wrap around the tube at the other side of the bead. Continue wrapping and beading till you have used half your beads. To tie off, knot on the outside then thread the needle back into the fabric and out about 1/2″ away. Pull the thread tight then cut close to the fabric. The thread should disappear into the tube so that the ends are hidden. Then return to the middle of the tube and continue in the opposite direction beading and wrapping.
To finish the necklace ties, tuck the ends in and sew in place. Alternatively attach cord, ribbon or tape by sandwiching into the fabric tube and sewing in place. To prevent fraying, singe the ends of ribbon by passing briefly through a flame or, for tape, double fold then sew in place.