This week, I'm showing how I made three bracelets inspired by three designer handbags. I am so excited to share what I’ve made!
The first bracelet today was inspired by the whip-stitched and chain detail of the Stella McCartney Falabella bag. I love this bag, but I thought I’d just pay a subtle homage to it instead of making the bag itself, with this bracelet with similar detail along the edges.
Remember the Horseshoe Bracelet that I made for St. Patricks Day last month? I used a similar technique to make it, but with a thrifted horseshoe necklace.
- Two 1-inch wide leather bracelets. These were on clearance at Michaels (just $2…I bought a bunch!) but they also sell a pack of them. These are a similar style from Joann.
- Martha Stewart Craft Punch, or something to make holes in the leather bracelet. You could use a kit made especially for it like this one, or you could use rivet pliers.
- Cutting board for using Craft Punch
- Suede cording. It comes in small packs like this, in colors or neutrals. You’ll need about 96 inches for this bracelet (I ended up buying a roll of fuchsia cording).
- Curb chain – this one I bought from Michaels as well but it’s also available at Joann. Just make sure the hole is big enough, both for the look you want as well as to thread the suede cording through up to two times.
- Scissors, pliers and washable ink pen.
- Not shown: ruler, jewelry or craft glue (I used Aleene’s Jewel-It).
Lay out one bracelet next to the curb chain, stretched out and laid flat as well as you can. In my bracelets, there is a large hole at either end for the clasp, so I wanted my chain to go in between the two large holes. So I determined I would use 23 chain links. My particular chain links can be opened and closed like jump rings, but you can also use heavy wire cutters to cut them. Then use the chain links as well as a ruler to help you decide where to make the holes in the leather bracelet. Tape down the ruler and the chain.
The length of my chain was 6 inches, so I divided that by 23 chain links and I got .26 inches. So I couldn’t really make a hole exactly every 1/4 inch or whatever…I had to eyeball it and mark it on the ruler with my disappearing ink pen.
Then use the craft punch to make the holes. Actually make one hole and see if your suede cording can go through it relatively easily. The craft punch comes in 3 sizes. If it’s a struggle to thread the cording through, even with the help of pliers, then use a bigger size. I ended up using the middle size.
To punch each hole, I positioned it right up against the ruler (without punching a hole in the ruler, of course). Then I pushed straight down, wiggle it a little bit (since leather is a bit thicker than what the punch is meant to be used for i.e. paper and thin metals), and then release it.
Continue down that side of the bracelet. Then repeat on the other side, but instead, line up your punch with holes you punched on the first side. And repeat again on the second bracelet, again lining up the holes with the first bracelet’s holes.
Now to start whip-stitching the chain. For my bracelet, I guess-timated that I would need 1 inch per chain link, so about 2 feet per side (total 96 inches). Start by pulling the suede cording through the first hole, from back to front. Leave about 2 inches in the front. Then thread that 2 inch length through through the first chain link…
…and push the chain link to the bracelet, so that the side of the chain is sort of sitting on top of the edge of the bracelet.
Then bring the 2-inch length of cording to the back and tie a knot. Leave the length for now…you will pull it a little bit tighter when you’re all done with the stitching.
Now take the long end of the cording, and thread it through the 2nd hole, from back to front. Thread that through the next chain link, again pushing it snugly to the bracelet and overlapping on the sides.
Go around to the back and thread the cording through the 3rd hole from back to front, again repeating the process until you get to the end. Continue til the end.
Lift up the last stitch in the back a little bit so you can insert the end through it to tie a double knot. Leave the extra length there for now so you can re-pull it tight before you finish.
Now to attach the 2nd bracelet to the first by stitching the cording through the same chain. Cut another 23 inches or so of cording and repeat the process. Thread 2 inches of cording through the first hole…
Tie a knot in the back as before, leaving a length for re-pulling later.
Repeat the process as described above for this middle chain…
…and on either side of both bracelets.
When you’re all done with the stitching, gently re-pull the knots tighter, tying a double-knot if needed. Try not to make the knots too bulky and try to get them to stay towards the back of the bracelets. You may need to untie and tie again from a different direction (the stitching shouldn’t unravel). When you’re happy with your knots, dap a bit of jewelry glue to secure. The glue should dry clear. Trim the ends.
All done with the side stitching and the chain! Now to deal with these two holes in the middle that my bracelets happen to have. These leather bracelets were in a line of jewelry components at Michaels where there’s a ready made jewel that you can insert into the two holes. Instead of purchasing one of those jewels, I just added some more chain detail. Instead I used some black suede cording and 4 chain links.
I threaded on the chain links to about 6 inches of black suede cording, and pushed the links to the middle of the cording, making sure the links were laying flat.
Then I simply inserted the ends of the cording through both holes.
And finally, tied a knot in the back and secured with a dab of glue and trimmed the ends.
Now all we have left is the clasp. These bracelets came with jump rings and a lobster clasp, but they’re the wrong color. I thought I had some gold clasps but I don’t, so for now, just pretend they’re gold! But I did have some big gold jump rings so I replaced those.
If you don’t know how to open and close jump rings,I have a quick how-to within my Knit Fabric Necklace post (scroll down in that post to find the tutorial).
So to put on this bracelet, I just have to open and close two clasps.
Like the Stella McCartney Falabella bags, my bracelet is edgy but the whip-stitching also gives it a bohemian twist. And also like the Falabella line, there are so many different takes on it…you can do the same with this bracelet! And if you want to be true Stella McCartney, use non-animal materials (unlike me…oops).
Note: The pink bag up at the top of this post is no longer on the website.
I’ll be using one more of those clearance leather bracelets in my next tutorial, coming later this week! Here’s a little snippet of my next inspiration bag!
All inspiration bag images are from http://www.neimanmarcus.com/. I am not affiliated with Neiman Marcus or Stella McCartney (unfortunately).