Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handmade Holidays 2009 #3: a smocked silk necklace

A very sweet friend of ours recently visited Japan for a couple of weeks. She brought us back some thoughtful little gifts, including sake, a sashiko kit (which I am looking forward to doing with her, as she picked one up for herself, too), and some silk samples from the markets. The beautiful silk samples are just big enough to make a little necklace like this (it is about 5 or 6 inches wide at the widest part of the "fan" there), and it seemed like a nice way to thank her. The metal findings and chain are brass, and I put two pretty freshwater pearls on it, too.

Now, all the credit for this idea has to go to tinctory, who makes beautiful smocked necklaces from silk (aren't the feather ones amazing?). She dyes her silk in beautiful individual dye baths that she makes from plants, and her smocking is far superior to mine. But - alas - I couldn't afford to just buy one of her pieces. As she's kind enough to show you "how it's done" in some pictures in her flickr account, I used those images as a guide and gave it a go. Not too bad for a first try - I hope my friend likes it!


Anonymous said...

I am very impressed by the unique designs..I was searching for this type of work..Nice!! I have checked all contents of your blog,
Gorgeous work as usualthey all are so attractive and gorgeous, but that one you posted is pretty well.

Murano Glass

רוני מרקוס said...
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רוני מרקוס said...

i was really impressed to see your work (lovely neckless)
i am teaching enbroidery in school for girls from broken homes.
and i will be more than delighted to teach them this technique.
and because of that i will be very happy if you will have the time to anser 2 questions:

1. What size of cloth do you used- for the neckless?
2. how did you manage to mark dots on a very thin silk cloth?

thank you in advance, Ronny

רוני מרקוס said...
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רוני מרקוס said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fleur_delicious said...

Hi, Ronny!

Okay. It has been a few years since I made this, so I will share everything that I can remember.

THe piece of fabric was, I think, 6 inches wide, and approximately 12 or 13 inches long.

First, you have to protect the edges of the silk. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise with the wrong side or back side of the fabric facing outward (good side is folded inside). Now you have a piece that is 3 inches wide by 12 or 13 inches long. Press with a hot iron. This will help to keep the fabric creased.

Stitch the two sides of the fabric opposite the fold together, with a narrow hem (to make a long tube of fabric). I used a narrow .25 inch hem.

Turn the tube out and press flat. You will also want to turn the ends of the tube inward so that there is no fraying.

The side of the flattened "tube" with the seam will be the top of the necklace. The side with the fold will be the bottom, where you will smock.

So, by the time you smock the necklace, you have a piece of fabric that is 2.5 or 2.75 inches wide and 12 or 13 inches long.

I don't think I made dots on the fabric to do the smocking at all. I just took my time and made sure that I was making stitches that seemed to use the same amount of fabric each time. So, mine is not perfect. I think it is a lot easier to estimate the smocking when you make very tiny stitches.

To gather the long flat strip of fabric into a half-round, I made tiny stitches on the side of the tube with the seam that aligned with the stitches of my smocking. I used a thread that matched my fabric so that it would not show.

Also, if you look carefully, you will notice that I also made stitches through the middle of the strip. I did this because the silk did not hold the pleats very well. So, after I had smocked the bottom and stitched the top, I carefully reformed the pleats and stitched them in place with a running stitch. I tried to make this as invisible as possible - but if you look, you can see it, halfway between the outside and inside edges.

You had also asked how I kept the edges pointed? The answer is wire. When I was done smocking, I finished the raw ends of the strip. I tucked them into the tube and stitched the around something called an eye pin. An eye pin is used to make jewelry - it is a little pin with a loop at one end. I simply made a smaller loop at the other end and cut off excess wire. So, I placed my pin so that the big loop was at the bottom, near the edge of the strip where the smocking is. The small loop is at the top of the strip, which became the inside of the curve. The loops allow you to secure the pin so it does not slide out, and give you a place to anchor a chain for the necklace.

I hope all of this is useful and helpful for you! If you and your girls try this out, will you let me know how it goes?

ronny said...

urathi fleur
Thank you so much
Now I'm on summer vacation I'll try to do it. and when I'll teach it in schoo l 'll be happy to be in touch and send you pictures of my girls work
Thank you again