Monday, February 21, 2011

Flowers and Pearls, Tulle and Chain

Flowers and pearls, tulle and chain... time to make a necklace!

  • At least an 18" strand of glass pearls, plus a few pearls in reserve (I used five, but depending on the size of your pearls, you might only need 1-3).
  • 22" metal chain
  • 2 crimp beads
  • A 2 1/2"X14" strip of fabric, plus a small (1"X1" or so) circle of the same material
  • A 6"X14" strip of coordinating or contrasting tulle (you could even use just one color - it would look great with all the contrasting textures!
  • A zipper at least 9" in length, in a coordinating or contrasting color
  • Thread to match, and a needle
  • A hot glue gun with clear or matching glue
Okay, here we go!

Take your strand of pearls and divide it into two strands, one 10" and one 8" (don't forget to reserve a few pearls for later!). Take one end of both strands and thread it through a crimp bead, through the last link of your chain, and back again through the crimp bead. Use pliers to squish the crimp bead flat, and thread the ends through the first pearl on the strand. Repeat on the other side, but don't worry about hiding the end of the thread - it'll be covered up by the pendant, anyway!

You should have something that looks like this:

Set it aside for awhile while we switch gears and make the flower pendant.

Cut a 2 1/2"X14" strip of fabric.

Fold it in half lengthwise, and gather it, using either needle and thread or a sewing machine. The easiest way I (a sewing dumbo) have found to do this is to set the stitch length to the maximum, stitch, then pull the threads to create a ruffle. My sister, who is a sewing expert, has a foot for her machine that automatically ruffles the material. It's pretty easy to do with a needle and thread, too.

Once you have it tightly ruffled, pin the edges together and sew...

...then flatten it out. You should have a "flower".

Do yourself a big favor and take a moment to iron it. It'll save you a lot of grief later!

Now take your 6"X14" strip of tulle, fold it in half lengthwise, then in half again, and ruffle it just like you did your fabric - but don't sew the edges together!

You should have something like this - make sure the "flower" is ruffled tightly.

Fold the edges over each other slightly, then get out your needle and thread and hand-sew it to the fabric flower. You don't need to go overboard - just a few stitches to tack it all together.

Your flower should look like this:

Set it aside, and let's work on the center.

Take your zipper and dismantle/unzip it, so that you have one side of the zipper.

Ruffle it exactly like you did your fabric and your tulle (stitch as closely to the edge as possible for best results). As it ruffles, it should automatically fold up into a flower.

With your needle and thread, start at the center and sew it in place. This is probably the trickiest part of the whole thing. Take lots of tiny stitches!

You end up with a flower that looks like this one the back -

- but, luckily, like this on the front!

Nice! Grab those pearls you reserved at the beginning of this project, and sew them into the center of your flower. I used six, but you can use more or less depending on what size pearls you are using.


Take your hot glue gun, heat it up, and glue your zipper into the center of your tulle and fabric flower. Let it cool.

Lay your flower face-down on your workspace, and position the chain/pearls over it (the connection between the chain and the strands of pearls should be right over your flower). Using lots of hot glue, glue the chain to the flower, then cover with the circle of matching fabric.

It should look like this:

You're done!

This is such a fun piece to wear or give to someone special!

This particular necklace I made for a friend's birthday, but now that I see it, I can't wait to make one in black for myself. :)

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