If you’ve been following Spoonflower for a while, you’ve probably seen the name Becka Rahn pop up once or twice! Becka is esteemed co-author of The Spoonflower Handbook, and most recently the instructor of our Spoonflower Masterclass series. Becka is a talented fiber artist/designer in her own right and we are thrilled to have her show us how to use strips of scrap jersey to make a wrapped cord necklace in this simple tutorial. Or if you’re a visual learner, jump to the end to see how Spoonflower team member Meredith creates one in our new video tutorial.
8 x 48 inch rectangle of Cotton Spandex Jersey or Modern Jersey
Rotary cutter, mat & ruler
Sewing machine (or hand sewing needle and thread)
Masking tape (optional)
* Important note: This rectangle needs to be cut with the grain of the fabric. That means that you are cutting the 48” length parallel to the selvedge edge of the fabric. I was able to cut two necklaces from the scraps from making a Sprout Patterns Moneta dress. You can make several necklaces from 2 yards of cotton spandex jersey fabric.
This project works great with either cotton spandex jersey or modern jersey fabrics. If you want to try another knit fabric, do a test first and make sure that it will roll up when you stretch a narrow strip.
Cut a rectangle of knit fabric that is 8×48 inches. Make sure that the 48 inch side of the rectangle is parallel to the fabric grain or selvedge edge. Fold the fabric in half, matching the short ends and lay it on the cutting mat. Starting at the folded edge, cut a lengthwise strip that is 1/2 inch wide. Stop cutting when you are about 1 inch from the end of the strip. The strips will stay connected at this edge. You can use a piece of masking tape across the top edge to remind yourself to stop cutting.
Continue to cut strips at 1/2 inch increments all the way across the width of the rectangle. When you get to the last 1/2 inch strip, cut that one all the way off and set it aside. We will use this strip later to make a knot.
To connect the short ends of the rectangle, match them up cut edge to cut edge and stitch on the sewing machine using a wide zig zag stitch. Handle it gently so you don’t tangle up your strips or accidentally twist the rectangle before you stitch. You can also stitch it by hand with a running stitch and a narrow seam. Once you have connected these short ends, your necklace should be a loop. This stitching will be hidden later, so you don’t have to worry about matching the thread color.
Pick up the 1/2 inch strip that you set aside. Holding it with both hands, give it a firm tug and the knit fabric should roll up into a tube. Usually the edges roll to the center into a tight “c” shape. The more you tug on the fabric, the better your roll will “set” and want to stay curled up. Work your way down the strip of fabric, tugging and letting it roll. This piece will be used to make the knot that holds the necklace together.
Open your necklace into a loop and then gather the width up into a bundle by pleating or accordion folding it across the width right at the stitching line. (Note: In the next photos, I am showing the the cord for the knot in white, so you can follow along. Your cord will match the fabric of your necklace.) Make a loop at one end of the knot cord and hold it on top of the bundle of strips. In this photo, the tail end is on the left; the loop is on the right.
Leave a tail of about 4 inches sticking out. Start wrapping the long end of the cord around the bundle, with your wraps starting about 1 inch from your stitching line. Wrap fairly tightly. Be sure to start wrapping at the end opposite the loop of yarn you made. In this photo, I started wrapping on the left near the tail end and moved towards the right. Wind around until you have reached the end of your cord and you can thread that loose end through the loop. Your wraps should cover up about 1 inch on either side of your stitching line. To set the knot, grab the short tail end (left) and gently pull it until the loop (right) and the other end of the yarn are buried inside the center of the knot. Trim away the excess.
Finally, finish the necklace by holding the knot and tugging each strip of knit fabric to roll it up like a tube. They will roll up better if you do them one at a time instead of trying to pull on the whole bundle at once. Wear your necklace as one long loop or double it up.
Becka Rahn is co-author of The Spoonflower Handbook and a gifted teacher/ artist. She spent 11 years as the director of education, working as an arts administrator and surrounded every day with art at Textile Center, a national center for fiber arts. In 2014, Becka decided to retire from that life in order to spend more time making art, teaching and working as an advocate for fiber art and artists. In 2016, she was appointed to be on the Etsy Sellers Advisory Board for 2016, where she helps advise Etsy about issues that are important to all kinds of Etsy sellers. Becka now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two black lab mutts, where she is on the board of directors at the Hennepin History Museum. See Becka’s designs in her Spoonflower shop here.