Lollipop necklace

Layer soutache “lollipops” to create a beautiful pendant that will make you proud as a peacock!

SUPPLIES

Pendant 4 in. (10 cm) with 24-in. (61 cm) chain

  • 80–90 1 1⁄2–4-in. (3.8–10 cm) scraps of 1⁄8-in. (3 mm) soutache braid (assorted colors)
  • 1 12–18 mm bead
  • 20–30 3–6 mm beads (assorted shapes and colors)
  • 1 g 8/0 seed beads (assorted colors)
  • 3–4 g 11/0 seed beads
  • 1 g 15/0 seed beads (assorted colors)
  • 2 4–5 mm bead caps or cones
  • toggle clasp
  • 24 in. (61 cm) beaded chain or jewelry chain
  • 2 6 mm soldered jump rings
  • nylon beading thread, such as Nymo size B (colors to match soutache braid)
  • beading needles, #10 or #11
  • 2 pairs of chainnose, flatnose, and/or 
  • bentnose pliers
  • wire cutters
  • toothpicks (optional)
  • 5 x 5 in. (13 x 13 cm) Ultrasuede
  • washable fabric glue, such as api brand Crafter’s Pick

BUDGET NOTE: Don’t throw away those scraps of soutache braid! This layering technique is fast, easy, and a great way to use up short ends of braid as well as leftover beads from your stash. Make small shapes for support elements or large focal pieces. Make them in pairs if you want a symmetrical pendant. Just have fun with it!

Lollipops

1. Tie a double knot (Soutache Basics) at one end of 12 in. (30 cm) of thread. Trim the tail close to the knot.

lollipop necklace a
Photo a
lollipop necklace b
Photo b

2. Cut a 1 1⁄2–2-in. (3.8–5 cm) piece of soutache braid in each of three colors, and create a stack (Soutache Basics). Locate the center of the stack, and sew through the center Vs of all three braids from bottom to top (PHOTO A).

3. Working from right to left, make three shaping stitches (Soutache Basics).

4. Pick up a 6 mm bead, and sew through the stack near the knot (PHOTO B).

lollipop necklace c
Photo c
lollipop necklace d
Photo d
lollipop necklace e
Photo e

5. Working from left to right, make three shaping stitches (PHOTO C).

6. Sew through the bead and the stack as shown, exiting near the knot (PHOTO D). Sew back through the stack and the bead (PHOTO E).

lollipop necklace f
Photo f
lollipop necklace g
Photo g
7. Make a two-sided join (Soutache Basics), keeping the needle close to the bead (PHOTOS F, G, AND H). Do not use a tight tension.
 
lollipop necklace h
Photo h
lollipop necklace i
Photo i

8. Retrace the thread path through all six braids two or three times, using an increasingly firmer tension each time so the braids wrap smoothly around the bead to make the lollipop shape.

9. Make three or four stitches, moving away from the bead, for about 1⁄2 in. (1.3 cm) (PHOTO I).

10. Tie an overhand knot close to an outer braid, and trim the thread close to the lollipop.

11. Repeat steps 1–10 to create 17 or 18 lollipops. Be creative: Increase the number of braids in step 2 to create thicker stacks, use a variety of different bead shapes, include bead caps or cones, or embellish some of the lollipops with seed beads. If you use a large bead in a lollipop, you will have to increase the number of shaping stitches in steps 3 and 5.

lollipop necklace j
Photo J
lollipop necklace k
Photo K

Joining the lollipops

1. Tie a double knot at the end of 12 in. (30 cm) of thread. Place two lollipops side by side, and sew through both lollipops at their join (PHOTO J). Retrace the thread path twice, increasing the tension slightly with each pass.

2. Sew through a third lollipop at the join. Sew back through all three lollipops at their joins (PHOTO K). Retrace the thread path.

lollipop necklace l
Photo l
lollipop necklace m
Photo m
3. Moving away from the beads, make three stitches through the combined stacks to join them (PHOTO L). End the thread (Soutache Basics). Trim the stacks approximately 1 in. (2.5 cm) below the beads (PHOTO M).
lollipop necklace n
Photo n
lollipop necklace o
Photo o

4. Tie a double knot at the end of 1 yd. (.9 m) of thread. Position another lollipop behind the three-lollipop component, roughly centered between two lollipops (PHOTO N). Make three tacking stitches (Soutache Basics) to attach the new lollipop to the component. 

5. Center another lollipop behind the two remaining lollipops in the component, and work as in step 4 to tack the new lollipop in place (PHOTO O).

lollipop necklace p
Photo p
lollipop necklace q
Photo q

6. Continue adding the remaining lollipops, one behind the other, to form an asymmetrical but balanced “tree shape” (PHOTOS P AND Q). End the thread.

For complete project instructions, click here to download & print this PDF

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More about Amee Sweet-McNamara

To learn more about soutache, check out Amee Sweet-McNamara's book Soutache & Bead Embroidery. Learn this fresh technique –with no expensive materials or equipment required! Armed with the information from the thorough Basics section, eager beginners can start with a simple pair of earrings or a pendant, while exotic and complex necklaces will fire the imagination of more experienced stitchers. Each project showcases a different technique and design suggestion, encouraging jewelry artists to experiment with a multitude of options for combining cording and beads.

BUY THE BOOK

To learn more about soutache from Amee Sweet-McNamara in person, sign up for one of her classes at the Bead&Button Show. Here are two classes where you can learn a variety of soutache techniques, Rocaille Refinement: Soutache and Bead Embroidery and Gypsy Fire: Soutache and Bead Embroidery Collar-Style Necklace.

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