Learn about the soutache technique and how to make accessories with it

If you know something about costume jewelery, you may know what the soutache. Thus by its name it is not a very well known technique, especially by those who are not used to doing manual work or who stay away from accessories or fashion accessories. However, it is used a lot to make earrings, especially, and it is very present in the accessories with which many Andalusian women groom themselves at their spring fairs and other typical acts of the region.

Decorative braids

Soutache is a French word that means «braid», and the technique in concrete uses herringbone rayon cord to make your creations. In fact, she hails from France. Formerly, in the 18th century, the French used these braids in the costumes of the time and in military uniforms. The purpose of this cord in the form of a braid was to adorn the costumes with an elegant embroidery and at the same time hide the seams and hold various beads.

These were its origins but over time this style gave way to others and today the soutache It is mainly used in costume jewelery. It is a technique that we can find in a variety of jewelry, earrings, rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, combs and others. flamenco fashion ornaments. It is also used in bags, shoes and headdresses.

The best of all is that if we feel like it and we like crafts, we can even make a simple accessory ourselves and include it in our jewelry box. It is enough to have some basic notions of how to work the soutache and go testing to see what we get. Requires some skill and dedication, so it may cost us something at first. If so, it would be good to sign up for a workshop or ask a friend to teach us.

Soutache bracelet

The tools

To begin with, we will start with something as basic as earrings. First we will have to get hold of the essential tools that are scissors, glue or needle. Then with the materials: laces soutache of the chosen colors, black felt or a rigid fabric, the jewelery pieces that we want make up the earrings and the spikes that are placed on these items.

There are different ways of working with this system, on the one hand it is possible go sewing the cords around to the chosen jewelery piece, or by another they would stick on the felt. The latter is simpler, but we must ensure that the laces are well glued.

‘Soutache’ earrings

Focusing therefore on the less laborious procedure, the first thing we will do is cut a not very large piece of felt. Then, we take the largest piece of costume jewelery that we have chosen, which can be a gem or cabochon and we stick it on the felt. If we want the earrings to be more attractive, we will place some smaller stones around them. They must also be glued. It is a meticulous job, because you have to glue the stones one by one and they must also be very close together.

The entire assembly is then allowed to dry. Once dry is when we will have to place the first piece of cord around the gem and the smaller stones. This will be glued and bordering them respecting their shape. The cord has to be wide so that its ends stick out. Then we will carry out the same process with a second cord. It must be well glued to the first one, and it can be the same color or another, according to our tastes. It is advisable to use pliers because the laces slip easily. If we are going to put another piece of cord, the procedure is exactly the same. All of them must have their ends long and free.

How to make jewelry with paper, glue, toothpicks and thread

The creation of our earrings could end here, we would simply cut the ends and glue them well on the felt, and then cut the excess, but it will fit us better if we add any more ornaments. If we want this to be the case, some other jewelry item would be placed around the excess cord and, as in the first step, we would simply have to roll it up following the shape of the piece and glue it to the felt.

The shapes that we want to give to our earrings are unique. You can base yourself on a ready-made model if at first it is more comfortable for you, but then you will even like to go further and try with your original designs.

Once we finish with the two earrings, we have to reinforce them. To do this, we will stick them back on the black felt, fabric or if we are looking for more consistency it is possible resort to a suede iron, although this will make them somewhat heavier. We glue them well in the chosen option and cut the excess following the shape. Finally, it will be necessary to add the skewers so that we hang them from our ears and we release them at the next event or party we plan to attend.

Little by little, as we practice the soutache, we will dominate it and get a nice jewelry box with beads created by ourselves.