Bead Weaving Using Soutache, Crystals, Beads, and So Much More!
Have you soutached?
Funny how we make our favorite materials into verbs, no? But really, have you soutached?
It’s such a fun medium to work with. And talk about adding a punch of color! Check out these earrings from Csilla Papp’s book, Sensational Soutache Jewelry Making, which is part of the new Sensational Soutache collection.
“Soutache embroidery” is the overarching term used when working with soutache. The materials used are very similar to what you likely already have on hand for bead embroidery and bead weaving: thread, needles, beading foundation, Ultrasuede, beads, crystals, flatback stones, rhinestone chain, adhesives, pliers, wire cutters, and measuring tape.
Other supplies to have at the ready would be soutache (a braided cord). Soutache cording is sold in different widths; made using rayon, polyester, and other man-made fibers; and found in a variety of finishes and twists. For jewelry, Csilla recommends working with 1/32″ and 1/8″ wide (1mm or 3mm) cording.
Csilla also makes use of leather cording, metallic chains, fringe, and pom-pom trim.
Being primarily self-taught in the art of soutache (since there were no books or information readily available), once she had her own style and enough techniques in hand, Csilla put all she had into Sensational Soutache.
One technique Csilla shared that is beneficial for bead embroidery and soutache is “How to Prepare a Rivoli for Bead Embroidery.” To make use of these backed stones using soutache, here is Csilla’s “how to create a closed wrap with a stone backed with bead foundation,” excerpted from Sensational Soutache.
- After you’ve applied the beading foundation, thread your needle, cut the thread to a comfortable length and tie a knot at one end. Cut the soutache braids to the length specified in the instructions. Align one piece of braid with the bead, insert the needle into the foundation and sew through the middle of the first braid.
- Insert your needle back down approximately 1 ⁄8″ (3mm) from the previous spot and sew through the braid and the foundation.
- Sew the soutache to both sides of the bead in the same way. When you reach the top of the bead on both sides, sew the two ends together at their meeting point.
- Add one or more additional rows of soutache in the same way, if desired.
- Always sew the braids together at their meeting point, unless the instructions tell you differently. Make several stitches to secure them.
Once you have this technique in hand, along with just a few more basics, you could soon be making the Apollo Necklace! (Or is that just my wish list?)
No matter which design you’re inclined to make, Csilla makes it easy to jump right into this fun and colorful medium, and her designs truly inspire!