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Kimono Fabric Necklace - Totally Fashionable

My daughter begs to differ but I think fabric necklaces are cool. I mean, what do teenagers know about fashion? I certainly had some very questionable fashion ideas when I was a teenager in the 80's. As did everyone in that decade.

Anyway, I was browsing Pinterest during a particularly productive Friday afternoon and spotted some really awesome fabric necklaces and bracelets. Some were Japanese fabric with handmade glass beads. Some were African style with multiple fabric cords, wooden beads, or metal clasps. Some had no added extras, just a fabric cord tied into a lovely knot. I pinned heaps of them on my "Let's make it one day" board, where I pin all the inspirational things I may or may not get around to trying to make. Here's a few that caught my eye.

Kimono Fabric Necklace with knot feature

Japanese cotton fabric necklace

Chirimen fabric bracelet with beads
Naturally I hit up Google for some instructions and found a few YouTube videos, most of which were a little long and boringly detailed, but I fast forwarded to get the essentials and decided to fudge my way through.

So it's off to Spotlight again (once I write a few more blog posts I'm sure they will sponsor me eventually). I got hold of some cotton cord and a loop turner.
Loop Turner
Loop Turner - so handy!
I've never had a Loop Turner before. I've always re-threaded my track pant's string with a safety pin, but this thing is great! I recommend it to anyone whose children like to pull the cords out of their hoodies.

So here is my fudged version of how to make a fabric cord necklace.

Ingredients & equipment:
1. Pretty fabric. I chose some nice bright red Kimono Daisy Japanese cotton with goldfish pattern.
2. Cotton cord. I bought 2 metres of 5mm cord.
3. Loop Turner.
4. Sewing Machine.
5. Thread to match your fabric.

NOTE: I am not normally a sewing machine person. I got my 12 year old daughter to thread the machine and supervise my sewing.

1. Cut the fabric into strips.
For this I "carefully measured" by lying the cord on the fabric and folding it over to see how much I needed. Turns out, allowing for a nice wide seam, I would need strips about 3cm wide. The fabric I used had a nice geometric pattern that repeated every 4cm. So I decided to cut 4cm strips along the lines of the pattern.
Cutting out fabric for a Japanese cotton necklace
The Kimono Daisy fabric is about 50cm square. I cut off the hemmed edges and cut four strips, each about 4cm wide.

2. Sewing
First I sewed the strips together into one long strip. I did that by just putting the ends right side together and sewing very close to the edge, going back and forth a few times.

Next I sewed my long strip into a long tube inside out.
Because I was lazy with my measuring and my strips were much wider than they needed to be, I trimmed off the excess so it wouldn't be too bulky when I turned it inside out.

3. Loop Turning!
Using my fancy new loop turner, I threaded the whole long tube onto the loop turner's stick. It took quite a bit of scrunching to get it all on there. I was beginning to think I'd made my tube too long, but I managed it in the end. Then I hooked the end of the fabric with the loop turner's hook and pulled it back through to make my tube the right way out. At each point where my strips joined it took a little jiggling, but it turned the right way out in no time.

4. Cord threading
In my usual way I "carefully measured" my cord so it was about 1cm shorter than my tube, and taped around the cut ends with a little bit of sticky tape. I again scrunched my tube all the way down the loop turner stick. I hooked the hook of the loop turner into the bit of tape on the end of my cord, and pulled it right through the tube. This bit was much easier than turning the tube right side out.

5. Once the cord was all the way through I massaged it a bit to make it nice and smooth and so the ends were just inside the length of the tube. Then I stuffed one end of the tube inside the other and sewed them together.

6. Da nah! A beautiful loop of fabric covered cord. I feel like this could be used for many things other than necklaces or bracelets and it was really easy to make even for a sewing novice like me.

This is probably the most basic fabric necklace ever made, so I can only improve from here. For my next attempt I think I will use a thinner cord and try to sew my tube a bit narrower too for a tighter fit. I was nervous for my first time and allowed a bit much for my inept sewing. For a bracelet I obviously don't need it to be nearly 2m long, so it should be easier to turn inside out and to thread the cord if it is shorter. I do tend to get carried away...

Has anyone else ever made a fabric cord? Any tips? What else can I make from fabric cords? I feel like I'm on a roll with my new Loop Turner. If only I'd known about this in the 80's. I would have totally made this! And wore it to the school disco and danced to Culture Club.

Japanese fabric wrist bands


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