Vintage Fabric Necklace

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Use vintage fabrics and thrift-store beads to create a stylish contrast of upcycled colors.
Adapted with permission from "State of Craft," edited by Victoria Woodcock & Ziggy Hanaor, published by Cicada Books. Images by Anna Alicia Johnson.
- Approx 75cm x 5cm piece of lightweight vintage fabric; cotton works well, but most fabrics will be fine, as long as they are not stretchy
- 5 chunky beads, around 1.5cm-2cm wide.
- 3m of wool yarn
- sewing threads in colours that complement your fabric and wool
- Ruler or tape measure
- Scissors
- Sewing machine
- Needle
- Pins

Source: , State of Craft (9780956205346): Victoria Woodc...

Step 1

Cut a strip of fabric 75cm x 5cm. Lay the fabric strip out, right side down, and starting at one end, fold in either side lengthways to meet in the middle.

Step 2

Then fold the strip in half along the middle lengthways so the (already folded) edges meet. Pin in place all along the length of the strip (fig A).

Step 3

Thread your sewing machine and set to a small zigzag stitch. Starting about 5mm from the end (this helps the machine feed the fabric through), sew along the open side of your folded-over strip; close to the edge, removing the pins as you go. Then sew along the other edge to finish. This creates a strong ribbon of fabric, and a pretty zigzag stitch pattern.

Step 4

To add the beads, you’ll need a length of wool approx 20cm long (or longer if you are using bigger beads), and a needle and thread. Place the end of the wool in the middle of one tip of the fabric ribbon and hand-stitch firmly in place (fig B). This will be covered, so doesn’t need to be neat.

Step 5

Pinch together the edges of the fabric ribbon over the wool you have sewn in place (fig C), and handstitch together for about 15mm.

Step 6

Thread the beads onto the wool (using a needle if they have small holes). Place the loose wool end in the middle of the other tip of your fabric ribbon so that the beads are held tight, but with enough slack to hang nicely. Hand-stitch the wool in place and cut off any excess. As before, pinch the edges together over the wool and stitch for 15mm.

Step 7

Roughly 14cm in from each end, pinch the edges of the fabric together as you did at the tips, and handstitch along for about 15mm.

Step 8

The “pinched” areas are now bound with wool. Cut four yarn lengths each about 75cm long. Start with one of the pinched areas 14cm from the ends; take a length of wool and hand-stitch it to the top of the fabric, then wrap the wool around (covering the wool end), working your way to the bottom of the pinched area, then up and back down again (fig D). Once you are happy with the binding, hand-stitch down the end of the wool. Cut off any excess and add a few extra stitches over the loose end.
Repeat on the other side.

Step 9

Do the same at the tips, but make sure you finish with the wool at the very end of the fabric ribbon. You need to neaten the ends so that no fabric is showing – this bit can be a little tricky at first. Continue wrapping the wool round, heading towards the string of beads in smaller circles, stitching the wool in place as you go (fig E). When the fabric is covered and the wool is secure, cut off any excess. Add a few extra stitches.

Step 10

The vintage fabric necklace pictured is made out of vintage kimono fabric, handmade ceramic beads and organic fairtrade wool, but you can use almost any scraps of fabric, old beads and odd bits of wool.

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