Fabric jewelry has been around since ancient times and is still popular even now. In this post, we’re exploring some different types of fabric jewelry and what techniques you can use to make amazing jewelry from fabrics today.
The concept of decorating the body with accessories came about back in prehistoric times. Early humans used sea shells, bone fragments, stones and animal skins to adorn their bodies. Later on, other materials were used including bird feathers, leather, fibers and even hair. Back in those days, these kinds of materials were easily accessible.
The very first proper textile in history is thought to have been felt, this may have been used in early clothing and in later years to make jewelry.
Felting to make jewelry
Felting is a traditional fiber technique that you can use today. Loose felt (or wool tops), can be manipulated into all sorts of shapes through either wet felting or needle felting techniques.
Below you can see an example of a beautiful felt beaded necklace, made by Unexpected Boutique on Etsy. Felt beads like these are typically created using a wet felting technique, where dyed wool tops are dipped into hot and cold water, rubbed with soap and shaped into firm beads ready for threading.
Bead embroidered jewelry
Another example of fine fabric jewelry is bead embroidered jewelry. This is where hundreds, sometimes thousands of beads are sewn onto fabric to make necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings and more.
Check out this bead embroidered jewelry showcase that we featured on the blog a while back. It really is amazing what can be created with fabric and beads!
The use of leather in jewelry-making
Leather or faux leather is a popular material to use in jewelry-making today. Leather cord for example can be braided to make friendship or macramé bracelets and more. Check out this wrap bracelet tutorial we did last year which uses leather cord.
Silk and ribbon jewelry
Ribbon can be used to make necklaces and bracelets easily as you can simply tie the ends together, rather than using a clasp or other fixing.
We love this sari silk bohemian bracelet below which has been made by Foundry and Co on Etsy. Charms and gems have been added to it which makes it so interesting and unique.
Crochet is a popular hobby among crafters and there are lots of examples of crocheted jewelry around on the web. Take a look at these crocheted rings or this modern take on a crochet statement necklace.
Fabrics are interesting and versatile, so why not use them in jewelry-making? If you like the sound of making jewelry from fabric, you might want to check out our review of Felt, Fabric and Fiber Jewelry by Sherri Haab. This book contains 20 beautiful projects to create with fabrics.
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Image sources – top and bottom bracelet image courtesy of Craftaholique. Felt bead necklace and sari silk bracelet images sourced from the above designers with their permission.