Soutache for beginners step by step – how to make a pendant
Products used in this project
Information about this project
Designed by: Ewa Genge
We present you a jewellery making tutorial by Ewa Genge who will show you soutache for beginners. The element we’re going to stitch along is very simple and can be used to decorate a bookmark or as a pendant or earrings. A soutache bookmark is a perfect idea for a handmade gift for your mum or for another special person. The project is not difficult, but you need to put your heart and patience into it and the person who will get this item from you will definitely notice and appreciate that. Handmade gifts have an exceptional value.
To begin, I’ll start with a simple bookmark tutorial which makes a perfect handmade gift for your mum, friend or for another special person. The presented soutache element can be used as a pendant as well or, if you make two of them, as earrings. The presented colours are only a suggestion. Soutache cords are provided in a wide colour palette, so you can choose something for you with ease. The cabochon I’ve chosen is also provided with countless pictures… so let’s do this! Good luck!
Supplies used in this project:
- Cabochon – 18 x 25 mm, you can choose any from cabochons with pictures or the ones made of natural stones
- Soutache cord – 3 mm Pega (rayon), here: about 35 cm of black, about 35 cm of light green and about 70 cm of dark green
- TOHO beads – size 11/0 and 8/0
- Beads – 1 bigger, 8 mm bead. I’m sure you can find one in you stuff that is left from the previous projects
- Fire Polish beads – 4 mm, we need 4 pieces
- Bookmark base – they are provided in various shapes and patterns, so you can find something just for you
- jewellery thread – e.g. 0.12 mm monofilament thread
- jewellery needle – 10/13 John James
- felt – about 5 x 4 cm piece of a stiff felt and a decorative felt to finish off your work
- jump rings – 7 mm open jump rings, 2 pieces
- jewellery glue – to stick the cabochon and felt, e.g. Hasulith
- And a cup of delicious black coffee, good music and joy of creating.
Let’s do this!
Remember, our tutorials are mainly for inspiration and learning the technique. The choice of cabochons, cords and beads is rich enough to make a completely different bookmark. If you would like to present your mum or a friend with a DIY gift, it’s great to personalize it by choosing a symbolic pattern of a cabochon or the colours of the project matching the taste of its future owner.
First of all, stick your cabochon to the stiff felt. Put some glue on the cabochon, put the cabochon on the felt and wait a while till the glue dries a bit.
Take 4 pieces of soutache cords (about 20 cm each) and put them in any colour order you like. Remember, soutache cords have their right and left sides, which are defined by a characteristic herringbone pattern, which goes <<< on the left and >>> on the right. Make sure all the patterns on your cords go the same way.
Prepare about 50 cm long thread and tie a double knot on it. Put the cords together and pass the needle through the central part of the cords, 5 cm from the end of the cords. Sew every 1.5 – 2 mm and remember the thread needs to be tense, but don’t pull it too tightly because your work will frizz.
Smooth the cords while sewing so that they will lie nicely and won’t twist. Sew the cords shaping them in an oval that will wrap your cabochon around.
Put the cords to your cabochon from time to time to control their shape while sewing.
The results of your work are getting better and you can already see them.
Check whether the cords wrap the cabochon around nicely.
Surely the glue has dried by now (that’s why we put it on at the very beginning). Cut the felt out around leaving 2 mm margin around the cabochon. You don’t need to cut it neat because the felt will be covered with another material.
Make sure the cords wrap the cabochon around nicely, and, if both endings touch each other, it means we can stitch them together. Before you do that, put a thin layer of the glue on the piece of the felt around your cabochon (it’s good to do that with glue with a precise applicator) and then put the cords on it tensing them gently around the cabochon. They need to be tense. Check the position of your cabochon. My cat is upside down now.
Now, when the cords are placed on the felt, it’s time to stitch them together. Go with the needle 4 – 5 times through all the cords together and then pass the needle through 1 part of the cords towards the cabochon. String 1 8/0 bead. Pass the needle through the opposite cords. Pass the needle through the cords and the bead once again.
When the bead is placed nicely, it’s time to stitch the sides. Do it the same way as it was done while making the main part. Stitch the cords bending them while sewing, so that they get a nice, round shape.
After sewing a bit of the cords, match the Fire Polish bead. Pass the needle through the cords – the bead – the cords twice.
Pass the needle towards the part with the bead. Turn your work and continue sewing the cords.
As you have reached the place shown in the picture, sew the cords to the cords the bead is stitched to. Do it 2 – 3 times.
Pass the needle through the loose cords and repeat the steps starting from the 10th step working on the left side of the cabochon.
This shows what both stitched beads look like.
Prepare 4 about 12 cm cords. Place them turned with the right side to each other. Tie a double knot on the thread and start sewing the cords about 3 cm form the end.
Sew shaping the cords in a round shape – you’re going to place a bead of your choice inside.
After sewing some part, place the bead. Sew everything together 4 times. Sew the rest of loose cords on the opposite side until you are able to stitch the cords of both sides together.
As the cords touch each other, pass the needle through them several times. Stitch a 8/0 TOHO bead the same way you stitched the bead by the cabochon.
Stitch the loose cords forming them in a round shape, as it was done in the 11th step.
This is what your soutache elements should look like.
Cut all the cords in the cabochon element.
Put some glue on the white felt and the cords. Stick the element to the piece of white, soft felt pressing it a bit so that the glue connects both materials well.
Cut out the unneeded part of the felt. Make sure you don’t cut the cords.
Thread in the needle, tie a double knot on the thread and pass the needle between the white and black felt about 2 mm from the edge. The needle should come out of the black felt.
Stitch overhand. Pass the needle from the black felt through the middle of the cords and through the black felt again.
Stitch around the whole element the same way until you reach the Fire Polish bead.
Pass the needle so it passes through the cords outside. String 2 TOHO beads: 1 x 8/0 and 1 x 11/0. Pass the needle back through the bigger bead so that the needle comes out next to the cabochon.
Continue until you have a row of beads around the cabochon.
This is what it should look like.
Now, it’s time for the smaller element of your bookmark. Cut a small circle out of the black felt. Cut the cords as shown in the picture.
Put some glue on the ends of the cords, stick the circle. Wait a while to let the glue dry a bit. Stitch the felt as it was done in the 27th step.
As you have stitched the felt, pass the needle towards the bottom of the Fire Polish bead.
String 1 8/0 TOHO and pass the needle through the loop with a Fire Polish bead in the element with a cabochon. Pass the needle through both elements several times. Pass the needle towards the opposite side of your work and repeat the steps.
Your bookmark is almost finished.
All you need to do now is attach 2 jump rings and a fancy bookmark base. It’s good to soak the soutache elements with a dedicated soutache impregnant which provides protection against dust and dirt so that your bookmark looks as good as new for a long time.
You can see some examples of the bookmarks below. The choice of a cabochon and cords is all up to you.
Thank you for your attention. I hope you will make beautiful bookmarks which will serve you well for a long, long time or will make other people happy.
Let us know what you think about the tutorial!
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