Did anyone else notice that winter hit overnight? The below-freezing temps are here and it’s time to snuggle up in our warm winter-wear! While I hate being cold, I love wearing coats and all of the fun accessories that go along with them – so I obviously need to be cute while doing it! I’ve also found a passion for the ‘DIY’ trend that seems to be everywhere these days, and I have created a basic tutorial for applique work using Swarovski crystals and an old headband I found in my closet!
1 – The Beadsmith Braided Bead Thread, .006in, 28yd spool (I used White)
9 – Swarovski Double Spike Beads (I use 12mm Metallic Light Gold 2x)
10 – Swarovski Wild Heart Crystal Beads (I used 12mm Golden Shadow)
2 – felt squares, about the size of your hand
Pair of scissors
Now the Fun Part!
The beauty of this project is that you can use an assortment of crystals! I try and keep a good balance of large and small crystals, with the larger ones being the focal point. My image above shows my color and size assortment. I went for more of a neutral color palette, really playing off of the golds and light pinks. The Rings & Things Exclusive Swarovski Crystal Jams bead mixes are great for something like this, as they can help you develop a strong color story from the beginning.
First, I started by arranging my larger beads in various patterns (2 options I came up with are above). I knew I wanted to do some kind of floral-inspired design. For some people, it may be easier to roughly draw something as well.
Needle & Thread Basics
I began by cutting a strand of Power Pro bead thread that was about the span of my arms; you can start with a smaller strand than this as this may be easier to manage at first. This thread is pretty amazing – I would not recommend using other threads that you may find at the fabric store because the crystals can actually cut through that type of thread! Power Pro by The BeadSmith is much more sturdy, and you would hate to lose your Swarovski crystals because of the wrong thread!
Once the needle is threaded, tie a basic knot; I did three loops to create a thicker knot.
Step by Step
1. Now it’s time to sew the final design onto the felt. I like to start at the center of my design when I’m sewing on the crystals. Since you have the basic design laid out and your needle threaded, start by holding one crystal in place with your thumb and index finger; insert the needle from the BACK SIDE of the felt so that the needle appears near the edge of the crystal where the hole is located (see FRONT SIDE image below). The knot that you made should be on the back side of the fabric.
2. Thread the needle through the hole in the crystal, and insert the needle back into the felt. Make sure to stay near the crystal’s edge where the needle just exited the hole.
3. Continue doing this for the center crystals (ie. my ‘petals’) and expand to any other large crystals you have (ie. my ‘leaves’). Once you have each of these sewn on, leave your thread where it is. No need to knot anything.
4. Go ahead and grab your smaller beads – Here, I’m using the 4mm Swarovski Bicone Crystal Jams. We will begin where your left your thread after completing the larger crystal beads. Place 2 bicone crystals on your needle and push them down the thread. I wanted to arrange my bicones around my larger crystals as an outline. As soon as they fit snug against the felt, insert your needle back into the felt, staying close to the edge of the bicone. Continue your way around, using two bicones at a time
This is a fun time to play with color! My outlines consist of 3 or 4 different colored bicones, and they really play off of each other in different lights!
**If you ever run out of thread, just tie a knot on the backside of the fabric, and start a new needle & thread!**
5. Once I made my way around, I decided to add a second outline with the bicones. It is completely up to you – be creative and try some different things! Once you have finished sewing all of your Swarovski Crystals, insert the needle down through the front side and tie a knot in the back; you can use the same knot technique that was demonstrated earlier!
Creating a Finished Edge
1. Cut the felt around the crystals, leaving 1/4 inch allowance on the outside.
2. Take your second piece of felt and cut an identical piece
3. Time to start with some fresh thread! Tie the same knot as shown above and insert the needle from the backside, to the front side like below. Pull the needle through until the knot is snug underneath.
4. Grab your second piece of felt and place it underneath your original piece. Insert your needle through both pieces of felt, starting with the new piece. See photo below for reference. Pull all the way through; the felt should curl up as you pull the thread as tight as you can.
This second piece of felt hides all of the thread work you have underneath, while also stabilizing and protecting these stitches from wear and tear.
5. Start working your way around the felt, using the same technique in step 4. You can see the difference in the two photos below – I have completed the technique on the upper right hand side.
6. Once you have completed this step, your applique is complete! You can use this for scarves, headbands, gloves, apparel, etc. I have attached this to a headband, and I used the same technique from steps 4 & 5. It’s that simple!
All of us at Rings & Things would love to see any applique work you have created! Please send us pictures or post them below! 🙂