Saturday, 26 July 2014

Soutache style jewellery tutorial


As I mentioned in my last post I have been putting together a special tutorial for you all :0) And the tutorial is for some Soutache style jewellery:

Soutache is a really interesting craft that I learnt about when watching Create and Craft one morning :) It is essentially a craft which uses braid and beads/gems which are all sewn in pretty, often swirled patterns to create beautiful jewellery and decorations- used to decorate military uniforms in the past. There is tons more information and soutache inspiration on This! website. When watching create and craft I really wanted to try making soutache items but... I didn't have any special soutache cord, backing material etc... However, after a bit of experimentation I found you could create soutache style pieces (see picture above) using items that most crafters will have in their stashes (+ a bit of imagination of course :)

The piece I made above is just to give you an idea of the kind of thing you can make- I encourage you to go with the flow really, I just 'free styled it really'- coming up with the design as I sewed, and just swirling the cords and adding beads however looked good.

To begin you will need:

  • Some shiny/slightly silky fabric (remnants will do)
  • Felt
  • Flat back stones/gems or larger flat beads
  • seed beads (optional)
  • A pen/pencil
  • A hot glue gun/craft glue (not needed if you are not incorporating flat backs)
  • A roleau turner (optional- but it does make things easier)
  • Needles and Matching colour threads.
  • Scissors
  • And as I said before a bit of imagination! :)

Now onto how to do it:

I mentioned that instead of using braid I came up with and alternative and that alternative is lengths of roleau (a cord made using long thin strip of fabric cut on the bias which is stitched and then turned through). There is quite an informative tutorial for how to make roleau cords Here! That page also shows you how to turn through your roleau using the needle and thread method. Whereas in my quick roleau tutorial below I just use a roleau turner. 

Right so ad I mentioned to make your roleau cord take your chosen fabric and cut some bias (45 to the selvedge or straight of grain this gives the fabric more movement and stretch so helps when bending the roleau and turning it through) strips (make them about half the width of a standard ruler and just as long as you can get from your remnants :)

Fold each strip right side to right side and sew down the strip about 3 - 4 mm in from the fold. Then trim down your seam allowances to a few mm:

Turn through:

You now have your mock - soutache cord and can begin creating you design...

... Cut a square of felt big enough for your design and take the flat back or bead you want in the centre of your design/to start with and glue or sew it down in position on the felt:

Now, as I said before I didn't want to create a tutorial for the exact piece I made as it is often nice for people to explore their own ideas so I am not going to go through the exact positioning for my roleau but I will go though the special way of sewing them in so you can hide all your stitches- then you can just go with it and sew them in it whatever positions you like. Also just as a note you can sew two cords on together at the same time (just follow the stitch below but go through two cords at the same time).

Firstly put a no knot in your thread and come up from the back near your gem. Take the piece of roleau you want and pass the needle and thread through it from the folded edge to the front seam:

Then go back through, slightly further along, through the front seam to the folded edge and back down into the felt, again slightly further along than where you came up out from:

This is the stitch you use to sew on your roleau. Just keep going all the way around etc.. doing this until your cord is fixed down how you want it. You are effectively hiding your stitches in the roleau seam :)

If you want to secure two ends of a roleau together just go backwards and forwards through each end a few times (again hiding your stitches in the seams) before passing your needle to the back and knotting off:

You can play around and sew the ends how you want:

TO finish off the raw cut ends just glue them slightly to prevent fraying and over sew them down (or pass them through the back of the felt using a large needle).

Keep adding more roleau cords to your design- you can even get little Catherine wheel type swirls by rolling up the roleau and passing your needle and thread back and forth a few times through the wheel and down into the felt to secure:

Add more gems/beads by glueing or sewing :) sewing seed beads in between the roleau can look good (I deliberately spaced about my roleau when sewing it so I could do this more easily):

I sewed them on on bunches of three with a running type stitch:

Here is a close up of how I finished my ends (you could do this for each end individually if you didn't want to overlap them):

Thu back doesn't have to be too neat :p when you are happy cut around it- be careful not to cut any of your stitching though! :

Trace around your piece onto another piece of felt and cut the shape out:

Glue or sew this 2nd piece onto the back of your soutache style creation, add a brooch pin or whatever you want and you are good to go:

Look, all done! :-):

He he he, I hope you like the tutorial. If anyone makes any soutache style jewellery using my tutorial I would love to see pics so please do post a link or send me a picture (

Also if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask and I will try to explain things better :p

See you all soon, I hope you are having a lovely weekend,

bye xxxxx


  1. That looks so pretty :)

  2. OH that's brilliant Jordan! Added to my crafty list of things to make ^_^ xox

  3. Beautiful i love it xxxxxxxx
    Got your postcard today :)

    1. Yay! I'm glad it arrived :) thanks xxx


Please do share your thoughts or ask any questions. I always reply, Promise! :)