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How to Make A Fabric Bead Necklace

The moment I saw the pink colorway of the Panda-rama collection by Maude Asbury for Blend Fabrics, I knew the Garnet Dress, Skirt and Top pattern for Girls would be perfect to showcase these playful prints.  The pattern is available in sizes 12 months – 10 years and includes the dress pattern with knit bodice and woven or knit skirt, long or short sleeves, and a sweet woven collar, as well as views for making a knit top and a circle skirt that can be sewn using woven or knit fabric.  The skirt on the dress or separate skirt can be made with either a single fabric print or with fabric panels and features a knit waistband.  Of course I was going to use those panels to feature Panda-Rama’s adorable pandas, lanterns, and geometric prints!

Blend Fabrics has provided us this fabric free of charge but all opinions are our own.

The top is made with cotton/lycra knit fabric, and I used the Pink Pin Tip tutorial in the Garnet pattern for the ruched long sleeves.  I love ruching as it adds a bit of fanciness to an otherwise simple top.  I also appliqued that sweet little panda face because, well, pandas!

The pattern also includes a darling woven collar, but I decided to just add a simple neckband to let the fabric necklaces we’re making stand out.  You can revisit our tutorial on Omitting the Collar on the Garnet Dress/How to Sew a Neckband on Any Knit Tee if you would like to do this too.

Making a fabric bead necklace (and bracelet) is such a fun way to showcase the tonal geometric prints.  The wooden beads also add a fun bit of color and break up the pattern.

You can also make a fabric bead necklace without visible beads, like we did here with the hanging lanterns print.  Instead of using more beads for contrast, we simply used knots.  The ring is sewn on using a zipper foot.

To make these fabric bead necklaces and bracelets, you will need fabric and larger sized beads.  We used three different sizes.  If you would like to make the fabric bead necklace with the gold ring, you would also need one of those.  I was able to find the beads and the ring in the macrame section of my local craft shop.  The wooden beads are also non-toxic, and although we left them natural, you can always paint them to match the fabric too if that’s your thing.

My girl took the reins on this project and made most of them herself, so if you can you should definitely make these with your kiddos too!  We used a few simple techniques to make these fabric bead necklaces and bracelets.  We kept it simple because they’re kids’ jewelry, but you can definitely add clasps and closures to make them more “grown up”.

Now let’s make some fabric bead necklaces and bracelets!

First, you will need to cut strips of fabric to fit the largest bead you will be putting inside of your fabric bead necklace.  Here is your cutting guide:

  • 16mm beads – cut your fabric 2 3/8″ wide by about 16″ long (length for bracelet)
  • 20mm beads – cut your fabric 2 7/8″ wide by 45″ long (length for necklace)
  • 25mm beads – cut your fabric 3 1/2″ wide by 45″ long

Lay your fabric strip right side up, then fold it in half lengthwise with right sides together, and sew along the long edge using a 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping about 1″ from the end.

Turn your tube right side out using a safety pin or bodkin.

Taking the end opposite of the one with the 1″ opening, tie a knot leaving a tail.  For the bracelet leave only a few inches for the tail, but for the necklace, leave several inches depending on the design you’re working on.

Begin with your first bead, pushing it all the way inside to the knot you just tied.  If the bead won’t fit in your tube easily, you’ll need to cut a wider strip.

If you want contrasting beads on the outside, pinch your fabric at the end to push inside the bead, twisting and using needle nose pliers if necessary to pull it through.

Alternate this way until you get your desired length.

When you finish with your final bead, tie another knot at the end closely to your last bead.

Here we tied both ends and simply cut the tails off.  You could also fold the ends in and hand or machine sew them closed.

These are so fun and easy to make, and they complete this Garnet skirt and top ensemble.  Look at how that paneled circle-skirt twirl just shows off these prints!  The pattern recommends 5 different prints for the skirt panels, but I was able to use just 4 (1 extra panel each of the panda and lantern prints), and it still looks great.

It looks great little too!  Aren’t these the sweetest little panda faces on this Ruffled Baby Sunsuit/Romper?  Check out those charming little birdies in the background with their rosy cheeks.

Panda-rama is arriving in fabric shops now (I see it in Fat Quarter Shop now) and is available in two colorways, including this blue you see above.


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