Beaded Fabric Jewelry Ideas
30 June 2012
Author: Vickie Pozzolini
When it comes to working with beads, pendants, and other jewelry components, one usually thinks of stringing them together. Another way to think of jewelry components is to stitch them to fabric. This is not really the newest concept; people have been embellishing fabric for decades with pearls, crystals, metallic threads and other elements, even precious stones. With the current popularity of bib necklaces I decided to branch out and try my hand at making beaded fabric jewelry. Fabric is a great material for making bib necklaces or a wide cuff bracelet. The CRYSTALLIZED™ - Swarovski Elements collection offers many interesting shapes and styles of crystals that can be used for creating stitched fabric jewelry.
Intriguing fabric jewelry combines the elements of rich textures and diverse materials. Think color, texture, “bling,” and shapes. Before you invest lots of money buying all types of different materials for this project, I think it’s prudent to start off with basic, tried-and-true materials that you are familiar with and probably have at home. Once you understand the construction, you can move on to more diverse and costlier materials.
Start with felt as your fabric base. Use embroidery floss for your stitching thread. Yes, that’s right, I said felt and embroidery floss. I know they’re in your home somewhere. The advantage of using felt is that you can cut it into a shape without fraying the edges. Using embroidery floss as your stitching thread lets you take advantage of the huge variety of colors available. Lay out your felt, threads and crystal beads, allowing the richness and the mix of the different colors and materials blend into a combination that is pleasing to you. Go ahead, experiment! Get a little wild with color and crystals. Most of all, have fun with it.
The first step in creating a bib necklace is to determine the shape and size of the fabric bib. Look to your closet and use a V-neck sweater as a guide to the size and depth you want to make the fabric bib. Create a paper template of the shape you want, fold the piece of paper in half, sketch the shape on one side of the paper and cut it out. Measure it against yourself and adjust the shape accordingly. Once you have your bib shape figured out, pin the paper template to the felt and cut it out. If the felt you are using is thin, layer another piece on top and use a filler piece for a sandwich to give a good thickness to work with.
With the bib shape laid out, begin to stitch and decorate it using 2 or 3 thicknesses of floss in the needle. Use contrast and complementary stitching details to attach the decorative crystals and pendants to the bib in your desired pattern.
To finish off the necklace for wearing, make ties using 2 lengths of ribbon, braided floss or cord. Stitch each end securely to the back ends of the bib. Use additional crystals and floss to finish off this area. Add additional beads to the tie ends for extra interest and fun. Now stand back and take a look − you’ve just made a beautiful, unique piece of beaded fabric jewelry.