Monday, February 28, 2011

Sweet Faux Necklace {Tutorial} - Fancy up that wardrobe!

Add some fun to any top or dress!  At last, a tutorial for the super sweet faux necklace that I first showed you on my ruffly Valentine dress.  This is such a cute and easy way to add a little fanciness to your daughter's (or yours!) wardrobe.  This "necklace" is removable for washing, or if you just don't feel like wearing it that day, and is totally customizable depending on what you feel like attaching to it or what colors you make it in.  Follow the directions below to make one of your own!  
Note:  I would recommend this for older children who won't be driven crazy by the fact that it isn't an actual necklace to take on and off, as well as keep it out of their mouth.  As always, just use common sense as you can't ever be sure how well the stitching will hold up, so this could potentially be a choking hazard for really little ones.  

Now you can turn any plain old shirt from this...

into this...

in no time {well, very little, under an hour for sure}!

Shirt to attach your "necklace" to (shown above)
Buttons - either buttons to cover or matching buttons (not shown below)
Old, stained sweater or scraps of stretchy fabric 
Elastic hair thingy {that's the technical term we use in our house}
Small beads (I used 10mm wooden beads)
Rotary cutter/scissors
Sewing machine

If using an old piece of clothing, find a nice piece to cut your strips from (I cut off and opened up one of the sleeves of the above sweater).  If  using scraps, read below for how to cut your strips.  Here's my sleeve opened up for me to cut the necklace strips from:

Now, determine how wide to cut your strips.  Really, I just put my bead down next to my fabric and guessed at the appropriate width.  I would say cutting a strip slightly less than double the width of your bead plus 1/8"-1/4" for seam allowance should be perfect (you want the bead to fit snugly inside the fabric).

My width ended up being about 1 1/4" inches wide and that worked great.

Sorry I don't have a picture of my finished necklace strip, but I ended up sewing two strips together to create a long strip about 34" long.  You want to make it a lot longer than you would think because when you starting adding the beads and knotting the fabric you will lose length quickly.  The 34" length ended up just perfect on my size 4 shirt.

Once you have your strip the length you need, fold in half right sides together and sew down the long side using the seam allowance you accounted for.  Be sure to leave both short ends open!

After sewing, turn the tube right side out (I attach a safety pin to one end and push it through to the other end, pulling the fabric gently until it's all right side out...sorry no pics before turning...).  Note:  Pull the fabric very gently so as not to break the seam!  It is a little bit of a pain because the tube is so small, but if you break the seam you'll have to start all over because you'll have a hole in the necklace where the beads will pop out...not cool.

Finished tube turned right side out:

To begin creating your necklace, insert one of the beads into one end of your tube.  Fold the tub in half so that the ends are lined up, and find the middle.  Push that first bead down to the middle of your necklace.  Starting here will ensure that both sides are even. 

Middle bead:

Once you have your bead positioned in the middle, tie a simple knot on either side of it.  The rest is easy peasy!

Find the cutest little helper you have {I suppose you could do this yourself...haha}, who can start putting beads on either side of the middle bead and tying a knot after each one.  My precious helper put the beads in, and I tied the knots.  This is one of the few sewing projects that she can really help with, so she was thrilled!

Continue the bead, knot, bead, knot, bead, knot....pattern until you have a couple of inches left on each end of the necklace.

Almost there...

While your helper is still working, go ahead and gather up your buttons (or cover them, as I did) to match your shirt.  Attach them to the shoulders, where you want the ends of the necklace to lay, by hand.  I would suggest placing them more "on top" of the shoulder than I did.  I think I would prefer that look a little better, though I love how it turned out anyway!

Once you have finished your necklace piece, trim the edges so that they have a clean edge and are the same length, as shown below.

 Tuck the end in a little on both ends of the necklace (I use the end of my scissors to kind of poke it in there evenly...gasp!)

Cut your hair thingy {again, technical term} in half so that you have two equal pieces.

Fold one piece of the hair thingy in half to make a loop, then insert the loose ends into one end of the necklace piece (far enough in to be caught and secured when sewn).

Sew over the end of the necklace piece to secure the ends and elastic.  I like to go forward and backstitch a few times to make sure everything is secured really well.  Repeat the hair thingy steps with the other end of your necklace to finish up that piece.

Loop the elastic pieces on each end of the necklace to the buttons on both side of the shirt.  And... 

Voila!  A boring shirt made cuter!  Fancy Nancy would certainly approve! 

Put it on the little one, and watch the smiles begin!! 

Want it even fancier?  Attach your favorite fabric flower to match your shirt :) 

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial! I'd love to see any if you decide to make them!


  1. that's totally cute!! thanks so much for linking over on my blog!! :)

  2. This is an awesome project which looks like it would be tons of fu to do with my granddaughter when she comes to visit. So clever...and easy.