perfectly puffy necklace: a tutorial

I'm seeing funky, colorful, full necklaces  everywhere these days! They're so bright and happy, and add just the right pop to a plain top. I made one for my daughter to match a pair of skorts I had sewn for her, and today I'll share the tutorial with you!

Gather up these simple materials, and let's begin!

You will need:

  • scrap fabric (mine was 3" x 18")*
  • 7/8" ribbon (2 pieces at 18")
  • 3 cotton balls
  • 4 larger beads
  • pencil with flat eraser
  • scotch tape
  • tweezers
  • sewing machine
*The length and width of my fabric scrap was based on personal preference. If you want to make yours longer or wider, definitely go for it! Just remember, your fabric end will have to be able to twist small enough to slip through the holes in your beads, and you may want to add more cotton/bead decorations.*

Begin by ironing your scrap. Then, fold your scrap fabric in half lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the long raw edge. I used a seam allowance of 3/8. Once finished, turn the tube of fabric inside out. You should now have a long, empty tube. Iron once more for a crisp look.

Grab your first piece of cotton, and gently roll it between your hands to create a gentle oblong shape. Using the eraser end of your pencil, push the cotton into the tube, stopping about 5.5" from the edge.

After you've placed your first cotton ball, you'll find that your tweezers and your scotch tape may come in handy! 

Tightly roll the end your fabric (the end that you just put the cotton ball into), and then secure it with a small piece of scotch tape. By doing this, you have created a sort of aglet (thanks, Phineas & Ferb) that you can use to help push your fabric through the hole in the bead. If you still have trouble pushing it through, try using your tweezers to pull it through.

Pull your bead flush to your cotton ball, and peel the tape off your fabric. This will be the end of one side of your necklace.
Repeat the bead placement on the opposite side of your necklace. (Roll and tape end, use aglet and tweezers to pull end through the bead) Pull that bead through so that it's flush to the other side of your cotton ball. 

Your necklace should now have on one side a bead, a cotton ball, and a bead. Repeat the cotton ball step. Once it's in, place your bead. Continue these steps until you have placed all of your cotton and beads. When you're finished, you will have about 5" of empty material on either side of your necklace (depending on the size of beads used.)

Make sure your necklace is free of all scotch tape, and that the cotton is equal in form. (You can do small adjustments by rolling it in the palm of your hands after it's in the fabric, too.) 

Run an iron over the ends one more time. Now it's time to add the tie. Again, you can change the length of your ribbon as desired; my two pieces were 18". 

Take one side of your fabric tube, and fold the short edges in about a quarter of an inch. Slide one ribbon piece into the folded edge, about a half of an inch. 

Secure the ribbon to the fabric by sewing it in place with your machine. I used two rows of stitches in order to make it extra secure. 

Repeat with the other side...and that's it! Finish your ribbon edges as you desire to prevent fraying, and wah-lah! You've got your own puffy necklace to display! 

So go ahead! Put it on your favorite girl, tie a big bow in the back, and let her rock it! 


(sharing here)

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