the flowers in this striking necklace are constructed using the same simple wrapping process as the Rag

Flower Corsage on pages

74—77, but on smaller plastic washers.

The corc is made of twisted fabric that is zig-zag-stitched together using machine embroidery threads. An assortment of beads and flowers is then sewn onto the cord. The garland can be made to any length, from a choker to a long-line necklace, by varying the length of the cord and adjusting the number of flowers and beads accordingly.

To make the garland, make five rag flowers and five round tassels. As these will be on a smaller scale, use slightly narrower and shorter strips: 1A in. (5 mm) wide and 4-43/4in. (10-12 cm) long. You will also need to sew a length of stitched strips 78 in. (2 m) long for the cord.


■ Selection of fine silky fabrics, such as dupioni, chiffon and organza, in a variety of colors and textures

■ Machine embroidery threads in toning colors, including thick threads if you wish

■ Toning polyester sewing thread

■ Strong glue suitable for fabrics and jewels

■ Five plastic jewels

■ Approximately 14 large glass or plastic beads in toning colors

■ Approximately 100 small glass or plastic beads


■ Embroidery scissors

■ Rotary cutter and mat (optional)

■ Sewing machine

■ One 2% in. (6 cm) and one 1 X in. (4 cm) plastic washer

■ Hand-sewing needle or a beading needle if you use very small beads

1 Assemble five rag flowers as shown on pages 74-77, gluing the two parts of the flower together and adding a jewel or button to the center. Leave your sewing machine threaded up for use again in Step 3.

2 Take the strip of joined fabrics and fold it in half to make a double strand. Twist one end of the strands tightly.

3 Set the sewing machine to a medium zig-zag stitch. Put the twisted end of the fabric under the presser foot and sew over it to form a cord. Continuing to twist the strands, sew right along their length. (You may need to pull the cord through from the back if your machine is not able to push it through with the feed dog.) Repeat the zig-zag

4 Using the hand-sewing or beading needle and polyester sewing thread, sew a range of toning beads of different sizes along the entire length of the cord, leaving the largest beads until Step 6. Make a firm backstitch after sewing on each bead to ensure that they don't work loose when the necklace is worn, then push the needle through and along the length of the cord to where you want the next bead to be. As you get to the end of a length of thread, secure it with several knotted stitches to prevent the beads working loose.

stitch, using different thread colors on the top spool and bobbin. Join the fabric cord into a loop by sewing the ends together, either with the machine or by hand.


6 Finish the necklace by sewing two or three large beads to the cord between each flower, using the same needle and thread. To attach each bead, make a firm backstitch onto the cord, then thread on a large bead. Thread on a smaller bead, then go back down through the large bead, so the small bead will sit at the top of the hole in the large bead. Make another firm backstitch before pushing the needle through the cord to the next bead position. Make several firm knotted stitches before cutting the thread.

5 Sew the flowers onto the cord at about 5 in. (13 cm) intervals using the hand-sewing needle and polyester sewing thread. Make sure the cord is not over-twisted at this point and that the flowers naturally fall facing in the same direction. Leave a longer space at the top of the necklace where the cord will go around the back of your neck.

corded necklace


this is a stunning piece that would be wonderful for a special occasion, though is quite an investment in time and materials. Strips of fabrics are fed under the sewing machine to produce cords that are then embellished with beads of various sizes. I have chosen a striking color combination of turquoise and red and a variety of beads, some of which are genuine turquoise and bamboo coral.

You could easily reduce the number of strands to just a few, or even one, to make a simpler necklace, or make the cords without the beading. A bracelet using the same process, but shorter strands, or earrings made from just a few fine strands sewn to ear wires, will complement the necklace beautifully.



■ Fine fabrics, such as silk dupioni and cotton, in shades of two colorways

■ Machine embroidery threads, including thick threads for the bobbin, in the same colorways

■ Polyester sewing threads in matching colors

■ Selection of beads in various sizes and shapes in colors to tone and match the fabrics


■ Fabric scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat

■ Sewing machine

■ Hand-sewing needle

■ Small, sharp embroidery scissors

■ Beading needle, if using very small beads

■ Dressmaking mannequin if you have one


1 Using the fabric scissors or rotary cutter, cut all the fabrics into strips approximately % in. (1 cm) wide and varying in length from 33% to 39 in. (85 to 1 m.) You will need ten strips of each colorway, plus an extra one in each color to bind the strands together.

end of a strip and place it under the presser foot of the sewing machine. Sew along the length of the strip, twisting it as you go to form a tight cord. You may have to pull the cord through if it is too narrow for the feed dog to grip. When you reach the end, bring the start of the cord around to meet it, overlap the ends and sew them together to form a loop.

Repeat this process with all the fabric strips, apart from the binding strip. Twist

3 Embellish each cord with beads, using the beading needle if necessary and polyester sewing thread. Make a firm backstitch after sewing on each bead to make sure that it stays in place. Leave a gap of 4 in. (10 cm) across the join in each cord loop. Ensure that when all the cords are placed together the beads create a good arrangement across the necklace.

A paint palette makes an ideal container in which to keep your beads handy and

2 Thread the sewing machine with embroidery threads, putting a thicker thread onto the bobbin if desired (see Using Thick

Threads on the Bobbin, and sew this into a cord, in order while you bead the page 14). Set the machine but do not join the ends. cords, to zig-zag stitch. Twist one

4 Larger beads look better held on by a small bead. To do this, thread the large bead onto the needle, followed by the smaller one.

5 Pass the needle back through the large bead only and make a firm backstitch into the cord.

6 Group together the embellished cords, with all the 4 in. (10 cm) spaces aligned. Loop the last 12 in. (30 cm) of the binding cord and place it on the bunch of cords, lying in the same direction and with the loop to the left. Working from right to left, wrap the remaining cord tightly around the bunch seven or eight times, leaving at least 2 in. (5 cm) of the free end and the loop protruding from the ends of the binding.

7 Thread the end of the wrapping cord through the loop on the left-hand side. Pull the free end on the right hand side so that both the loop and end are pulled through and under the binding. Pull until firm and then trim off the ends of cord close to the binding. Using matching sewing thread, work a few firm stitches at either end of the binding, going through binding and cords for extra security.

filigree necklace

this necklace features a variety of flower motifs cut from vintage and new fabrics and incorporated into a shaped piece of embroidery worked on dissolvable film (see Free Machine Embroidery on Dissolvable Film, page 15).

Once the film is dissolved, the embroidery is then further embellished with mother-of-pearl buttons, pearl beads, and diamanté. These help to add some weight to the necklace, as well as making it twinkle and shine irresistibly.

filigree necklace


■ 12 x 16 in. (30 x 40 cm) of thick, dissolvable film

■ A selection of floral vintage-style fabrics with a variety of different-sized motifs

■ Approximately 20 in. (50 cm) square of medium-weight iron-on interfacing

■ Machine embroidery threads in two toning colors, including thick threads if wanted

■ Polyester sewing threads in matching colors

■ Approximately 12 small mother-of-pearl buttons in various styles

■ Approximately nine pearl beads

■ Approximately 11 large and 16 medium-sized diamanté

■ Strong fabric or gem glue

■ Diamanté and pearl clasp finding


■ Template on page 124

■ Cardstock and pencil

■ Paper scissors

■ Felt tip pen—not a water-based one, as that will dissolve the film

■ Small, sharp embroidery scissors

■ Sewing machine

■ Hand-sewing needle

■ Beading needle

■ Small paint brush

■ Approximately 12 x 16 in. (30 x 40 cm) sheet of polythene or plastic

1 Enlarge the template to a size that will fit around your neck and transfer it onto the cardstock. Cut it out with the paper scissors, try it around your neck for size and adjust as necessary. Place the template on the dissolvable film and draw around it using the felt tip pen.

2 Check that the color of the fabrics and threads you have chosen will not run significantly when wet by dipping small pieces in a bowl of cold water and then pressing them onto a clean white cloth. Choose the motifs you want to use, selecting one large central motif, six medium-sized and five small motifs, but do not cut them out of the fabrics. Place the iron-on interfacing glue-side down on the back of the fabrics, covering the areas of the chosen motifs. Iron the interfacing in place: this will help to stiffen and support the necklace. Cut out the motifs using the embroidery scissors.

Pin the motifs onto the dissolvable film in a pleasing arrangement. Make sure the pins are in the middle of each motif to avoid them coming into contact with the sewing machine needle.

3 Thread the machine with embroidery thread, including a thicker thread on the bobbin if you want (see Using Thick Threads on the Bobbin, page 14). Free machine embroider around and over the edges of the motifs, making swirls of stitches to sew the motifs to the dissolvable film. Remove the pins from each motif as soon as possible. Keep the stitching within the drawn lines to avoid the ink marking the threads. Continue the embroidery between the motifs, making the same swirling motions to produce a filigree design.

4 Continue stitching around the whole necklace shape, making small whorls of stitches between motifs to help support the buttons and diamanté. Ensure that all the lines of stitches are connected. They will form a network and keep the piece stable once the film is dissolved.

5 Using the embroidery scissors, cut away any excess dissolvable film around the embroidery, making sure that all the drawn lines are cut away.

6 Soak the embroidery in cold water for a few minutes to soften the film and then rinse it under a cold tap. Keep rinsing until the embroidery no longer feels sticky to the touch. Stretch and reshape the embroidery to fit the original template and lay it flat on the polythene sheet to dry.

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7 Using matching polyester thread, sew the buttons and pearl beads onto the embroidery, placing some on the motifs themselves and some on the surrounding filigree. If necessary, use the beading needle to attach the pearl beads, depending on the size of the hole.

8 Dab small spots of strong fabric or gem glue onto the motifs and filigree using the paintbrush. Make sure that they are pleasingly spaced, then apply the diamanté to the glue using the tweezers. Allow to dry on the sheet of polythene or plastic.

9 Cut the embroidery at the center top point of the necklace. Using matching polyester sewing thread and firm stitches, hand-sew the ends of the clasp to either end of the embroidery.


dahlia dahlia

the colors, fabrics, and threads used here produce a radiant, dahlia-like pom-pom that makes a real style statement. Vary the size according to your taste and the clothes you want to wear the dahlia with. You can even make a gloriously big corsage from a group of two or three smaller pom-poms with leaves attached. This project uses the traditional method of making pom-poms with cardstock circles, but dedicated pom-pom makers speed up the pom-pom making process enormously.


■ 4 x 60 in. (10.5 x 150 cm) of viscose, silk, or polyester chiffon fabric in two colors

■ Machine or hand embroidery threads in toning colors

■ Scraps of green organza and silk fabrics

■ Green polyester sewing thread

■ Brooch back finding


■ Cardstock and pencil

■ Paper scissors

■ Templates on page 126

■ Fabric scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat

■ Small, sharp-pointed embroidery scissors

■ Long darning needle and shorter hand-sewing needle

1 Make a pom-pom template by drawing two circles with a VA in. (4.5 cm) radius. Draw a circle with a % in. (2 cm) radius centrally inside each larger circle. Cut out the two rings with the

2 Using the fabric scissors or rotary cutter, cut the fabrics into % in. (12 mm) strips. You will need about five strips, each 60 in. (1.5 m) long, of each color.

3 Place a strip of each color of fabric together with the same length of embroidery threads. Here I used two fabric colors and four thread colors.

paper scissors. Transfer the leaf template onto cardstock and cut it out.

4 Place the cardstock rings together and wind the fabric strips and threads tightly around and through them.

dahlia corsage dahlia corsage

5 Continue winding on strips until the central hole is too small to push any more fabric through.

6 Using the embroidery scissors, cut around the edge of the wound circle, cutting through all the layers of fabric. Make sure the tips of the scissors slip between the cardstock circles to cut the last layers of fabric.

7 Slip four strands of embroidery thread between the cardstock circles and wind them very tightly around the core of fabric. Tie the ends in several firm knots to secure the bundle.

sew the leaves together about a quarter of the way up from the base of the fan.

11 Using the long darning needle and polyester sewing thread, sew the leaves to the bottom of the pom-pom. Take the needle right through the pom-pom to attach the leaves securely.

12 Hand-sew the brooch finding to the base of the fan of leaves.

8 Fluff up the pom-pom and trim it a little with the embroidery scissors so that it forms a round ball.

9 Pin the larger leaf template onto the green organza and cut out four leaves. Using the smaller template, cut three leaves from the silk.

10 Arrange the leaves in a fan shape, alternating the fabrics. Using the shorter sewing needle and polyester sewing thread,

the fine, pale-pink silk used to make

the fine, pale-pink silk used to make these earrings was recycled from a blouse that was destined for the thrift store. Small tufts of thread indicate the flower stamens and the blossoms are finished with leaves made from vintage brocade. The pom-poms are made using a pom-pom maker, but the instructions for using for cardstock circles are given if you want to use those instead.


1 li in. (4 cm) diameter or small pieces of cardstock. compasses, and paper scissors

■ Small leaf template on page 126

■ Fabric scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat

■ Blunt, large-eyed needle

■ Small, sharp-pointed embroidery scissors

■ Round-nosed jewelry pliers

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