Added Feb 25, 2010
I love Natalie Chanin’s work and wanted to create a project that was inspired by her techniques but that was distinctly my own. For the “Alabama Studio Style” contest, I chose to make a bib necklace out of recycled wool sweaters.
I was inspired to create a bib necklace since I’ve seen quite a few of them recently in the fashion world. Also, it’s a bold accessory that I can wear to dress up any off-the-rack top or dress.
Rather than use cotton jersey, I used one of my favorite materials — felted wool sweaters. I picked two merino sweaters so that the necklace would be buttery soft and not scratchy against my neck. I washed them with hot water in the washing machine to full them (or felt them, as most people say). Once fulled, the sweaters can be cut without the raw edges unraveling.
Natalie stencils the top fabric layer, but I skipped this step since the wool that I used already had a damask print on it. I simply stitched around the elements in the pattern and then clipped out the inside areas of wool. I even overcame my fear of French knots during this project! Then I sewed on some metallic bugle beads to add sparkle and dimension. Finally, I added two pieces of vintage grosgrain ribbon to the ends so that I can tie it around my neck.
And I love that the final necklace looks like a winged heart, since it reminds me of a very special time. I made it during my recent trip to meet my newborn twin nephews for the first time. I squeezed in a few minutes of sewing here and there between feedings and diaper changes. Now, anytime I think of the necklace I’ll think of my adorable nephews!
Look for 100% wool sweaters that can be fulled, or “felted” as most people commonly call the process. Once the sweaters are fulled, they can be cut into any shape and will not unravel.
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