Thursday, 7 April 2011

Ever heard of couching? I hadn't.

I've been enamoured of beaded collars since visiting Africa for the first time a few years ago.  They are beautifully worked and frame the face in such a lovely way.  Here are photos of some that I took at the anthropology section of the art gallery in Stellenbosch (with my pocket camera when no one was looking, hence the poor quality):




I couldn't find any that I liked for sale in Cape Town (except for some dusty overpriced necklace-style ones at Pan African Market) so I came home disappointed.  I've been thinking that I could make a modern version myself, using a detachable collar like this one and adding some glass seed beads.

Well, I whipped up the peter pan collar in about an hour, including cutting time (give it a try, it's instant sewing gratification!).  I used black linen from one of my thrift shop outings, cutting three layers and using one as interfacing.  I added some cotton ties instead of a delicate ribbon as suggested in the pattern, because I thought that it might be very heavy by the time all the beads are added.

After I did my first line of beading, I looked at it and thought, "Now that can't be right.":


Maybe I should have done some research about beading before plowing ahead :)  Because, you know, there's this newfangled thing called the Internets that lets you find information from the sky!!

After about 10 seconds of googling, I found many, many tutorials and learned all about 3-bead backstitching and couching.  Now it looks like this:

Much better, but boy of boy, does it take a long time.  Just doing one line of blue beads took more than an hour (granted, I was watching Carey Grant and Katherine Hepburn in A Philadelphia Story and then talking to my MIL on the phone, so it may go more quickly next time.)

This is going to be a long project folks.  I may end up posting the finished collar by the time winter rolls around.


  1. it maybe a long project but it will be worth it, amazing!

  2. Hi Vicki, good news I have nominated you for a blog ward. We are supposed to link back to the sender and then nominate others. Please look on my site, I have found this hard work not sure if I am doing it right. good luck

  3. Oh, thanks so much Charlotte. I didn't check my comments yesterday; when I get a chance, I'll figure out how to run this too and get some traffic going around to our relatively new blogs!


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