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Soutache basics

Coastal flair soutache earrings hero
Coastal flair soutache earrings are the perfect project to learn how to soutache.

Creating a stack

Lay the cut lengths of braid on your work surface with their center Vs of thread running in the same direction. Create a stack by laying one braid on top of the other, and hold the stack gently on the sides between your thumb and finger.

Stitch in the ditch

All stitching in soutache will be done through the center V of the braids except when ending the stack. 

Double knot

Tie one overhand knot. Tie another overhand knot, but slide it down to the first knot before pulling the thread tight.

Beginning a new thread and burying the knot

To begin a new thread, tie a double knot at one end of the new thread, and trim the tail close to the knot. To bury the knot, sew through a bead and the inside curve of the adjacent stack, or just sew through the stack.

Ending the thread

To end the thread, sew to the back of your work, and make a few small stitches in the closest braid. Tie a knot, and trim the thread. You can leave a tail, which will be secured when you glue the soutache piece to the backing.

Joining

A join is where either two parts of the same stack or two separate stacks meet. To join, carefully separate the stack of braids, and pinch together both sides of the inner braid. Sew back and forth between both sides of the inner braid several times. Pinch the outer layers against the inner braids. Sew through the outer layers on one side of the join, and then sew through the entire join to exit the other outer layer. Retrace the thread path several times.

Ending a stack

Push the loose ends of the stack to the back of your work, and sew up from the back through all the layers. Exit the side of one braid on the front of your work. Sew down through all the layers as close as possible to the point where the thread exited, sewing through the side of the same braid. Repeat this stitch several times to secure the end of the stack, and trim the ends 1⁄4 in. (6 mm) from the last stitch. Don’t trim too closely, as the braids will fray. You can whip stitch the frayed ends together on the back of the piece to keep them contained.

Making a whip stitch

Sew through the work at the desired location. Loop the thread around the braid, and sew through the work at the same location. Repeat as necessary, always sewing in the same direction. 

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