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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Neglected Necklace

I keep forgetting to blog about this:
I finished it last October, but blogging about other projects kept pushing this aside. The inspiration dates all the way back to late 2009, when Gordana on Project Runway made a gray dress with a detachable bib necklace that I loved. I wanted my own, so I began planning it out. I chose different black fabrics, because I am not a fan of gray, and added ginormous black rhinestones and shell pink pearls for an accent (I adore that combination of colors, shell or cameo pink and black -- it reminds me of lovely vintage lingerie).

The base was a crescent cut from black wool (and, uh, seamed in the center because I screwed up the first time):
In this picture, I've already added a rosette of sorts to hide the seam -- I cut a wide strip each of shantung silk and netting, layered them, ran a running stitch along one length, and gathered it into a circle.

I then made other fabric doodads from silk, netting, velvet, and satin:
gathered strips, yo-yos, ruching, and so on.
I then started sewing them on the foundation, in whatever placement seemed best. As you can see here, I also added fabric roses made from the silk -- the summer of 2010, I picked up the premiere issue of Jewelry Affaire, which had all sorts of bib necklaces, many with fabric roses (and showing that for once in my life I was actually "on trend").

Next came embellishment:
(this photo has the most accurate colors, by the way. I need a new camera.) In addition to the pink pearls and black rhinestones, I added black pearls and faceted, shiny seed beads (I forget the precise term for them) for a touch of glitter.

The last step was backing it with ultrasuede, which would be nice and soft on my skin. Getting the ultrasuede turned out to be quite a production. You'd think that stores in the world-renown fashion district of NYC would have heard of ultrasuede, but nope -- they kept trying to sell me real suede or sueded fabric that raveled (no seam allowances for me!). And of course mass market stores like Jo-Ann's and Michael's would not carry anything like it. I finally had to order it online, spending a fortune in shipping. But I got it, and hand-sewed it to the back of the wool base, inserting ribbon at the ends to serve as a tie.

I've worn it a couple of times since (it's not the sort of thing to wear to the local pizza joint, no matter how good that pizza is), and I have discovered two flaws -- the bow tied at the back of my neck is annoying (easily remedied with a ribbon-end clasp), and the weight of the necklace is lopsided, necessitating adjustments all night. I'm thinking of adding a bit of weighty chain to the back, to even it up.

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