DIY a Feather Embroidered Necklace

feather embroidered necklace

When I saw Imagine Gnats' Embroidery Video Class I knew that I would be lining up to participate.  Besides the simplicity of embroidery, I love that you can take it anywhere and that it's literally just drawing with thread.  The class is a great primer in basic embroidery stitches.  With the stitches you learn in the class, you'll be well on your way towards creating all kinds of hand embroidered projects.  Rachael's project for the class is a feather design meant for a set of embroidered napkins.  While this design is perfect for kitchen linens of all types, you could easily sew it up into a pillow or put it on a piece of clothing.

Feather Embroidered Necklace

feather embroidered necklace

I had it in my mind to make an feather embroidered necklace out of my version of this project.  The surface of each feather is slightly quilted in appearance with additional seed beads in place of the French knots to give them more of a jewelry look.  The two dangling embroidered feathers are held together by multiple chains, making this long necklace the perfect accessory for fall sweaters and long cardigans.  This is a great project for using up tiny bits of fabric, so if you're a beginner sewist or embroiderer, you have no fear of wasting lots of precious materials.

To make your own feather embroidered necklace, you will need:

  • All the supplies needed for the Embroidery Video Class (embroidery hoop and threads, scissors, water soluble marker, pattern, hand sewing needle)
  • sewing machine
  • extra scraps fabric for the feather shafts and for the back of each feather
  • fusible fleece
  • iron
  • chopstick or other thin, blunt ended tool
  • seed beads (optional)
  • beading needle (optional)
  • hot glue gun
  • heavy floral wire or similar material
  • large sewing needle
  • 24" chain with lobster claw clasp
  • 2 pair of Needle nose pliers, or 1 pair of needle nose, 1 pair of regular pliers
  • 8 jump rings

Directions:

  1. Enlarge the feather pattern included in the class slightly in a graphics program if desired before printing it out and tracing onto your fabric.  Trace 2 feathers onto your chosen fabric and get it ready to stitch in your hoop.
  2. Proceed with the embroidery per the class' directions, but wait to embroider the feather shafts, french knots, and satin stitch areas.
  3. Cut 2 pieces of fabric 1" wide by 2.5" long.  Fold the fabric in half on the long side and press.  Fold each half into half and press each fold.  The 1" width should now be pressed into approximate 1/4" increments.  Fold in the raw edge of one short side by 1/4" and press.  Repeat for the second rectangle of fabric.
  4. On each rectangle, embroider a straight line of backstitching in the middle of the second of the 4 pressed areas.  This will become the feather shaft.* feather embroidered necklace
  5. On the wrong side of the embroidery, draw a line 1/4" outside of the border of the feather with the water soluble marker.  It is not necessary to add the extra 1/4" where the base of the feather is (i.e. where the shaft of the feather will be).
  6. Cut out two pieces of fusible fleece 1/8" larger than the size of each feather.  Fuse each piece to the wrong side of each feather.  The fleece will cover the backside of the embroidery completely. feather embroidered necklace
  7. Stack a piece of your scrap fabric on top of the embroidery, right sides together.  Flip so that the traced line and the fusible fleece is face up.
  8. Using a short stitch length on your sewing machine (2.0mm length), stitch on the traced line around the perimeter of each feather.  Leave a hole for turning at the top of each feather.  When you get to the feather base, lengthen the stitch length to a basting stitch (5.0mm is a good length).  Make two of these long basting stitches just outside of where the fusible fleece is.  Drop the needle, then shorten the stitch back to the 2.0 length as you turn the fabric and resume stitching on the traced line. feather embroidered necklace
  9. Cut around each feather a scant 1/4" outside of the stitched line.
  10. Turn each feather right side out, using the chopstick to push out the corners.  Lightly press each feather, folding in the raw edge of each hole.
  11. On each feather shaft, fold in the raw edges towards the center, then bring the folds together.  Sew along the folded edges and across the pressed, folded short side.  This is the feather casing.
  12. Cut a piece of wire just slightly shorter than each feather casing.  Apply a bead of hot glue on each end of the wire to prevent the wire from poking out of the casing.  Allow the glue to dry slightly, then wiggle each piece of wire into the casing.  Seal the raw edge of the casing with one drop of hot glue.  Set aside both pieces. feather embroidered necklace
  13. Coming back to the feather, open up the basting stitches at the base of each feather with your scissors.  With the embroidery showing on top, stuff each casing into the base of the feather.  Use a drop of hot glue on the inside of the front and back to hold the casing in place. feather embroidered necklace
  14. Slip stitch the open edges of each feather.
  15. At this point, add the additional details of the satin stitching and the French knots.  By waiting until now to add these details, you will create a slightly quilted appearance to each piece.  For a different look, using multiple rows of running stitches in the satin stitched areas.  You can also apply seed beads with a beading needle where each French knot is marked in the pattern.  On to putting together the necklace!
  16. Add a line of running stitches the color of your fabric close to the edge of each feather to create a border.
  17. Wash out the marker with water (and maybe soap) and allow each feather to dry.

* On my version, I had a swatch of voile with embroidered lines that happened to coordinate with my fabric.  I used this in place of a hand embroidered casing.

To make the necklace:

  1. Use the needle nose pliers to open the 8 jump rings.
  2. Make a small hole in the top and bottom of each feather with the point of the large sewing needle.  Insert an open jump ring into each hole.  You will make 4 additional holes later on. feather embroidered necklace
  3. Find the center of the chain, then use the pliers to open the center ring.  From each side, separate off a 2.25" length and a 1.25" length by opening the rings just as you did the center ring.  You should now have 4 short lengths of chain.
  4. Orient the feathers so that one has the shaft pointing up and the other down.  Connect 1 side of a longer length of chain to the left feather into the open jump ring.  Measure out 1" on the chain, then connect the ring at the 1" mark to the second feather.  Close the jump ring to the right feather with the pliers, then loop the chain back to the left feather.  Place the loose end of the chain inside of the jump ring, then close the jump ring.
  5. Repeat step 4 for the top of each feather, but the chains can be of equal length when you loop them back.
  6. Make additional holes, and add jump rings to connect the feathers in 2 more places using the short lengths of chain.  feather embroidered necklace

Celebrate the coming of fall with your new DIY embroidered feather necklace!

Find Elizabeth Made This on my blog, and also on InstagramTwitter, and my Facebook page.

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October 10, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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