Sunday, January 20, 2013

Alchemy: From Nostalgia to Necklace

Fabric beads from a favorite old dress

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has stored away articles of clothing that, while I'll never wear them again for reasons of weight (mine), size (theirs), and/or style (both of ours), I cannot bear to throw or give them away. Like an old song that brings back memories of dancing on the beach in Mombasa, an old dress can evoke heady remembrances of shots of ouzo in Ios, back before there were any cars or roads on the island; back when the only place with electricity was Electric Yannis, where a generator powered a jukebox that had Carol King singing "I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet." This gauzy yellow dress was one of those garments, purchased back in the mid-seventies and worn in tropical climes around the world.

The dress: a gauzy, barely there, perfect for nude beaches kind of garb

During recent fiddling with fabric beads (see Red Flannel Beads) I realized I could perform a bit of alchemy and transform this ephemeral scrap of nostalgia into a necklace. So I did.

Fiber bead necklaces

In fact, I fashioned the cloth from the dress into two necklaces, but they can be combined and worn as one double-layered necklace. Every bit of the original dress has been used, including the tie from the waist, which now serves as the main cord on the necklaces, and bits of red edging trim, which have been added to the cord to lengthen the necklaces.

Worn as a double strand
The technique used to make the necklaces is the same as that described in the Red Flannel Beads write-up: cut strips of cloth, roll them into balls, use needle and thread to secure the balls by alternately winding and running the needle through the ball. An innovation here was to wrap three lengths of thread around a pencil, driving the needle through the ball after each wrap, to form the red thread loops you see in the photo, which are used to hang the balls from the cord.

Now I'm ready for another go at the tropics.


  1. A great necklace idea.........and it works so well!

  2. Thanks to both of you - this was a lot of fun to make.

  3. woo hoo - I am so happy to have found your blog - I'm your newest stalker!

  4. Welcome Denise, glad you're enjoying it.

  5. Is the dress a bacon design?

  6. A bacon design??? It's just an abstract print. Or is there some famous designer named Bacon I don't know about?

  7. Found them on Pinterest and just love them! So cool!


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