There will come a time, probably in the not too distant future, when scientists will be able to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Seeing they can already turn pig connective tissue cells into stem cells, and create any manner of products using 3-D printers primed with stem cells, they may already have done it.
But until I get a 3-D printer at home, (don’t laugh, Aldi had them on sale recently for $299) I’ve settled for the next best thing:
#64 Make a Silk Necklace out of a … Silk Tie
A friend introduced a group of us to this technique at a fun afternoon workshop recently, and I’m sold on the technique.
So here’s the brief.
You’ll need the following materials:
One unwanted silk tie, the brighter the better
Tape measure, scissors and matching coloured thread
One chopstick or knitting needle
5–7 wooden beads 25mm diameter, 1 fastening hook, one 7mm jump ring & two 15mm plain rings (from Spotlight or Lincraft)
The technique isn’t too complicated.
First, cut off the bottom 20cm of the tie –
Then unpick the remaining long piece and discard the lining –
Next, press the tie open with a hot iron, protecting it from burning by using a tea towel on top.
You should end up with a very long piece of silk fabric, narrow along most of its length but getting much wider at one end.
The aim is to trim this very long piece of uneven silk fabric into a perfect, long, thin rectangle, so it can ultimately become a perfect tube.
To achieve this, fold the right sides of the fabric together lengthwise, measure the narrowest width and pin the tie all the way along its length to this width, just so:
Sorry, it’s a bit too long to photograph the full pinned length…
Then cut just below the pin line and discard the wider pieces of fabric you’ve cut off.
If you then trim the ends at an angle, you should end up with something like this:
in other words, a long, thin silk tube waiting to be sewn closed
Stitch along the length of the tie, leaving one end open but sewing the other end closed at an angle. It’s quickest with a sewing machine, but can be hand sewn. Perfection is not a prerequisite. (Just make sure the tube is wide enough for 25mm balls to fit through).
Now comes the fun part.
Once the sides and one end have been sewn closed, it’s time to turn the fabric tube inside out. Because it’s silk, it’s nice and slippery, but this manoeuvre is helped with a little patience and by using a chopstick or knitting needle to cajole it through.
The result is a silk tube, closed at one end, with the right side of the material facing out.
Sew the closed end around one of the 15mm rings.
Then tie a knot about 15cm from this end, slide a bead through the tube until it hits the knot and hold it firmly in place as you tie another knot in the fabric.
Repeat the process until all the beads have been put in place firmly with knots between each one.
You’ll have a balanced necklace if you use an uneven number of beads:
Finally, stitch the open end closed, attach the second round ring and add the split ring and clasp.
I should warn you though, once you start, it’s impossible to stop at one.
There’s barely a silk tie left in any Op Shop in a fifty kilometre radius of home…